Thursday, June 16, 2011

the masai

Woke up early to get breakfast before starting the journey to a Masai village a bit out of town.  As beautiful as the drive was, I slept nearly the whole way. I'm so exhausted.  We turned off the tarmac road onto a strip of deep dirt they consider to be a road.  Dust came bouncing into the car from the trunk and within a matter of minutes, everything was covered in a nice dusting of red dirt.  You could hardly breathe it was so thick.  Oh, and we also came across a poor 'bakkie' stuck on this "road."  So, we came to the rescue and pulled them out, then continued on our way into the bush.

We eventually got there and it was totally worth the drive.  When we pulled up, a group of Masai came toward the car to get us, dancing and singing.  They adorned us with big bead necklace-type rings and led us into the kraal.  [Yes, it is all fabricated and pretty touristy, but still fascinating.]

"Freddy" led us through a little museum to explain the history and culture of this tribe.  Learned some Maa language.  Then we had tea with the 94 year old grandmother and talked about children, husbands, and her different world of a life.  She had tons and tons of beads and jewelry in her ears, around her neck and wrists.  She was one of 8 wives for her husband and had 6 children of her own.  She just could not fathom only having 2 children like Mom, nor could she understand how Mom is not a grandmother yet.
After lunch, we went for a walk through the bush to look at different plants and learn how they are used as various remedies.  There were some young boys herding cattle.  They stay out there from 6 to 6 with no food or water. Can you imagine? So adorable though. For some reason, it is much easier for me to enjoy these kids than the ones from the townships.  They aren't so needy or annoying; just curious. 

The older men then showed us different plant medicines for everything from malaria to gas, stomach ulcers to joint pain. So smart!  We got to make our own toothbrushes by chewing on the stalk of a plant to break up the fibers into a brush. My teeth felt cleaner than after the dentist! Supposedly the plant enzymes kill the bacteria in your mouth and also whiten your teeth.  Well their teeth were certainly white.

Then threw tried to throw spears.  I don't think Mom and I are cut out to be Masai warriers...

 It was just so lovely to walk with these guys in the way that they live.  So very different from our lives, yet understandable and certainly respectable.  I learned so much about them- religion and missionaries, their dependency on cows for everything, circumcision ceremonies, clothing, brands, and the expectations and duties of the age groups.  Oh, and another smart move- they use the giant termite mounds as look-out points as the landscape is perfectly flat.

We left these people to go back down the dusty road.  Both of us, filthy dirty. My white shirt was no longer white, and my feet, also discolored. 

We took much needed showers and tried to wash our clothes then hung them to dry on a makeshift clothesline between huts that was more of a booby-trap.  In the process of packing we turned every bag inside out and turned the room into a resemblance of a natural disaster cleanup zone.  But, we got it all together, or so we think.  Once we finished, we celebrated with some Kilimanjaro's and next thing we knew, we made some friends.  They had just come down from a successful climb, so were happy to share stories and words of advice. For the rest of the night... I might claim amnesia if you ask me about it... but I'll leave you with this- we can now say that we've skinny-dipped in Tanzania. 

tomorrow we're off for kilimanjaro

No comments:

Post a Comment