Visit to the Masai village

25th Aug 2012

Welcomed by the Masai chief to the village where one of the ancient tribes of the world reside

Photo of Visit to the Masai village by Sweta Chakraborty

Masai Mara is a land of natural wonders including the typical tribal life .Till day these tribals imbibe the culture of hunting, making weapons, lighting fire and living like the primitive men. The present generation of this tribe has undergone certain improvisations with the help of the Kenya Govt. but most of the people still practice their old occupation and the life style their forefathers used to follow. They live in small rounded huts in villages near the forest land. They strictly abide community rules and marriage is done within the community and the village. On the last day of our trip to Masai Mara we had planned to visit a Masai village.

Photo of Visit to the Masai village 1/1 by Sweta Chakraborty
Typical huts made from bamboo sticks and cow dung

We were charged 20$ per person as an entry fee to the village. We were welcome by the village chief and other members who greeted us with their traditional dance. We were told that this dance is performed when they hunt a lion. We were amazed by the spectacle and observe them jump so high in the air. the chief told us that it's an unsaid competition amongst the boys of the tribe.

Day 1

We were shown how they light fire which is used for cooking and other works. Moreover fire is very important as it keeps the wild animals away from their locality. There were around 50 members. The boys of the tribe showed us the typical Masai dance.

You may see the glipmses captured in my camera how high they try to jump.This is to celebrtae the killing of a lion. It's said that an eligible bachelor in a Masai community must know how to hunt and jump high.

Male Masai dancers shows high jump

Photo of Visit to the Masai village by Sweta Chakraborty

They showed us a typical wood which was rubbed against another long rod for fire. This action was repeated against the direction of fire and we could see the smokes coming up.When that was used aginst dry leaves and wood , a fire came out and they used for boiling water, cooking and other works.

Creating fire from a wood

Photo of Visit to the Masai village by Sweta Chakraborty

The process of making fire naturally, not an easy task

Photo of Visit to the Masai village by Sweta Chakraborty

I captured the moment when they were trying to create fire with the help of wood by the process of friction. It was a wonderful sight to see and imagine how the neolithic men created fire for their daily activities.

Process of cooking meat

Photo of Visit to the Masai village by Sweta Chakraborty

We saw them preparing a day's meal which was nothing but a goat whose skin was peeled off and roasted in the traditional way. Seems like the entire village was going to have a great feast.

The Masais rear cattle for farm. They take special care of the milk producing animals like cow, sheep, goat. They sell the milk to the market outside the village. A Masai's status is known form the number of cattle he rears. The day we went for a visit was a market day. The Masai women engage themselves in making artifacts and handicrafts which they sell in the market. Even they tried to sell some stuff to me. The minimum price of the souvenirs were 1000 KES.

Typical artifacts prepared by the Masai tribe

Photo of Visit to the Masai village by Sweta Chakraborty

It was tuesday and a typical market day in the village. They make necklace out of typical beads. Moreover they cover themselves with a typical cloth called sheets. They tie the sheets around their neck. They love to ware sheets of various bright colors.

Ready to sell products

Photo of Visit to the Masai village by Sweta Chakraborty

The women and the children were selling typical ornaments like bangles, braclets, necklaces , sheets and puppets. The Govt. and various NGO's come forward to help them by selling these stuffs to the visitors. You may find them on either sides of the highway, typical roadside counters or Govt. Emporiums.

The female members of the tribe performed a typical dance which was meant to welcome any guest at their premises.

We wanted to see their huts and a typical lifestyle lead by the Masais. They live in huts made of mud, cowdung, straw and thatches. It takes almost 3 months to construct a typical hut where they live for about 7 years and then isolate the house. The greatest problem is that it gets infected with termites. A typical hut has a very low door so as to prevent any animals from entering the house. The inside of a hut has three typical rooms where 6-7 persons may stay. The cooking area is separate form the bedroom area. They use typical mud ovens to prepare their daily meals.

A typical Masai household

Photo of Visit to the Masai village by Sweta Chakraborty

A typical Masai man may have 2-3 women as his wife. They live harmoniously and share the household jobs among themselves. They cook food, raise kids and engage in handicraft activities while the men go for rearing cows and sometimes in the market to sell the milk products. They obtain daily necessities form the market in a barter system of trade. They recieve cash from the visitors and they use to get daily necessities form the nearby market.

Making handicrafts , the only source of income

Photo of Visit to the Masai village by Sweta Chakraborty

Nowadays the Govt. has taken special initiatives to set up primary schools in the areas near Masai village so that the children may get education in English, Kswahili and mathematics. They have improvised their communication so that they can deal with the traders and visitors much easily than before.

Masai children attending schools

Photo of Visit to the Masai village by Sweta Chakraborty

It was ncie to see the children get enlightened with modern day education besides cattle rearing and handicrafts taught at home. They realize their importance and understand how to deal with the visitors who come to see them around the world.

It was a wonderful day. I realized the pain, struggle, joys of the life of a typical Masai. It was nice to see the modern Masai speak English with the visitors. I could imagine what Kenya was 400 years back form now when they used to hunt animals for food. It's a combination of present along with the glorious past, a fusion of modern knowledge with the primitive lessons of hunting. Great , I felt I have seen the present as well as imagined the past. Long live Masai Mara and her typical wonderful resources!