Friday, June 27, 2014

More about Maasi

The Maasi are the colorful tribe you see in the pictures and movies - holding a long stick, sometimes standing on one foot observing the herd. They are the only secluded tribe - to the point where everyone goes to the town to market on Saturday except the Maasi who all (and I mean ALL) come on Sunday. It is a great sight to see all the little towns overrun by those n native dress who live alone all week and long to trade and talk.

Maasi have retained their traditional religion, morals and practices without interference. That include a high rate of female mutilation, usually insisted on by the mother in law before marrying her son.

 Each community is made of a man and his wives - as many as can be sustained with very simple mud huts. The primary occupations is cattle raising, free range since there is no understanding of property boundaries. They eat only meat - no grain or vegetables.

Second to cattle is herding tourists. I always feel a little odd about going to "look at" people, but this is big money maker for the tribes, both in gifts to the chiefs and purchase of beaded goods. They seemed pleased to see the tour van pull in, and it apparently was not a surprise visit since the wares were out and displayed, the musicians and dancers ready. Adults wore shawls wrapped in various ways. kids tended to have school uniforms and Nikes peeking out from under the tribal robes. Apparently, though not by law, Maasi children are schooled in town. The gentleman who toured us and added up how much we owed in souvenirs certainly knew his way around a calculator.


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