In 2014 there are still people in this world that live as they did 100 or even 1000 years ago. Outside the Maasai Mara, one of the largest game parks in Kenya, live one of many villages of the Maasai people. This is their home for now at least, because they are semi-nomadic by tradition, moving their livestock and themselves to new pastures every 3-5 years.
The simple houses are built of sticks tied together and then filled with cow dung. The women of the village are the architects and constructors of the homes. One home for each family, which consists of the women and her children, and some nights a man. The Maasai practice polygamy and the men can have as many wives as they can afford. In order to marry the man must give the woman’s family 15-20 cows as a dowry, or payment.
The cattle are scared and very rarely eaten, and they are also used as currency. Even though the cows are not used for their meat they do provide nourishment for the people of the village. Milk is one way the cows provide for the people, but the other you might not guess and probably wouldn’t try. Blood is extracted in the traditional fashion where the animal is not killed. The cow is patched up and recovers, and the process is repeated daily between the heard. The blood is mixed with milk and drank as a source of protein and food.
If all of this sounds like a hard life, it is, but it’s also a simple but beautiful life. According to the Maasai tradition, they are very lucky because whenever you step in cow dung it is good luck. There is no shortage of opportunities to get lucky walking through the village because it doubles as an animal pen. The homes are constructed in a circular arrangement to keep the cows safe at night. The cow droppings bring more luck than just the ample opportunity to put your feet in it, it brings fly…lots of flies. The Maasai believe flies are a means of bringing good fortune as well.
Looking at the people you can help but think they might be right about the good luck stuff, they seem pretty happy. The young children beamed as we walked through the village, despite being swarmed with flies. The men tend to the livestock, and keep the traditions of the village.
As guests, we were greeted with a traditional Maasai ceremony that has become what they are known for: the jumping of the Maasai warriors.
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