Maasai Women Singing
Like most poor women in African nations, the majority of Maasai women in Kenya are destined to live a life of poverty and cultural oppression. Just one generation ago, less than 20 percent of Maasai women in Kenya enrolled in school. Today, less than half of Maasai girls enroll in school, and only 10 percent of girls make it to secondary school.
A Traditional Maasai Hut
The traditional Maasai house was in the first instance designed for people on the move and was thus very impermanent in nature. The Boma (houses) are either somewhat rectangular shaped with extensions or circular, and are constructed by able-bodied women.
Maasai Women Making Jewelry
The practice is done specifically by women, and it’s considered their duty to learn beadwork. These products are for both men and women, and they’re used in cultural practices such as weddings, rituals, and community events. The tradition of Maasai beadwork dates back hundreds of years.
Maasai Naming Ceremony
We have a tradition of receiving Maasai names on an expedition, including a blessing from a Maasai elder in a traditional village. Bringing kids to Kenya to experience another culture, especially one that is so steeped in tradition, is something that we have tried to do on every expedition. Amazing connections and friendships are created.
Maasai women traditionally cook inside over an open flame, which can contribute to substantial lung problems. A traditional Maasai diet not only includes, but primarily relies upon, both cow’s milk and cow’s blood. More recently, Maasai have supplemented their diet with rice and and maize-meal, in a dish called ugali.
Maasai Goat Roast
Along with the Maasai Naming Ceremonies, we also roast a goat. The goat is chosen, slaughtered, and roasted over an open fire on sticks. Roast meat (nyama choma) is a traditional staple of the Maasai diet, and is eaten with hands. In other areas of Kenya, ugali (maize), Sukuma wiki (greens), and kachumbari (salad) are side dishes.
I thought I would go to Kenya and change peoples’ lives. Really, the life that was most radically changed was my own. I experienced love, kindness, tenderness, and openness. I witnessed miracles, tears, smiles, and warmth. I was challenged on an incredibly personal, deeply moving level, and when I left, I left a piece of my heart in the Mara.Chris
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