Maasai Tribe

While traveling through Tanzania and Kenya, I had the privilege of meeting several local Masai tribes along the way.  The Masai people are an indigenous group located in the southern part of Kenya and parts of Northern Tanzania.  There are many similarities between tribes but also distinct differences which set them apart from each other.  Some Masai have stretched holes in their ears decorated with colorful beaded jewelry.  Some men have round burnt marks on both cheeks, others wear different colored clothing depending on the color of the dirt.  At Tsavo National Park in Kenya, the dirt is so red that the Masai people wear blues and purples so not to blend in.

Before entering a village, the son of the chief greets you and welcomes you to their village followed by a long welcome dance performed by the whole tribe.  Talk about a warm welcome.  The men and women line up and perform their traditional dance of singing and jumping in place.  After the dance, you are allowed inside to learn about their culture and how they live.  I actually learned how to make fire using two sticks and how to build resistance against malaria by chewing on a certain plant.  I also learned that their huts are made up of sticks, cow urine and fresh cow dung…maybe that was more than I needed to know.

Becoming a man in the tribe is very important for a young boy.  At around the age of 14, boys are circumcised (without anesthetics) and after completion, wear ostrich feathers on their head and paint their faces to signify their passage to manhood.  On my way to the city of Arusha, I spotted a young boy (photo above) along the road who had apparently just gone through the ritual.  I stopped to meet him and congratulate him on passing his initiation.