Tanzania – Part V

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More Maasai

If you’ve been reading the blog you know that I have been interested in the Maasai people. There are many different tribes of people in Tanzania (over 120) but for some reason I find the Maasai the most colorful and interesting for my camera.

I had the opportunity to spend some time with a few groups in the past couple of weeks, but I needed (or rather wanted) more.
I befriended a local guide (Dogo) in Moshi and asked him if he knew of any Maasai places where he could take me. He said he knew of a couple and that the are not a “t0uristic” group that lived out in the “bush”.

He suggested going to visit them and spend the night with them. The idea sounded great to me so I jumped right on it. While talking about the details I suggested we bring them a tangible gift (as opposed to give them money) and Dogo agreed. We agreed that bringing them some food would be a good idea, so the next morning I spent a few hours walking around town with Dogo’s friend John gathering all the supplies.
We got 50kg of rice, 50 kg of beans, 25 bags of salt and 25 bars of soap. We split the rice and beans in bags of 2kg, so we had 25 small “kits” that we will give to the Maasai families who would host us. We also got a bunch of fruit, water, and other supplies for him and I. The “bush” is a very hot and dry place, so water was basic.

We left a little past noon. Dogo has a 1991 Land Cruiser, but I can say that my dad’s 1964 Land Cruiser is in much better shape than Dogo’s.

Just having left town the car was acting up. One of the front wheels was locking up. Dogo had just taken the car out of the garage… I guess it is universal that when you take the car to the mechanics… they fix something but something else must break!!
To cut the story short, Dogo ran out to get some help…. and we were up and running again after an hour or so.

Back to the maasai….

About 2 hour drive out in the bush we bumped into two man on the side of the road. (they were both maasai). They signaled us to stop. Dogo and him spoke for a bit and soon after they were both inside the car. We had found our host!!! He guided us a little further out onto his “boma“.

There were a bunch of children and women out going about their business and of course as soon as they saw the car they all stood up and wanted to see who was coming.

I had brought some candy for the kids, so as soon as I said hello to the women I started giving the children some candy… they went crazy! and had smiles all over.

Our Maasai guide started introducing us to everyone in his “boma“. Everyone was very welcoming and wanted to touch the “musungo“. Kids specially will come next to me and touch arm and feel my hair!.

After a some time we stood up and started walking to another “boma” where we met the father. He had 4 wives and 500 heads of cattle! (In maasai world a very wealthy man). He was also very welcoming and showed us around his place.
In all this time, people were excited about me taking pictures of them (which was a bit unusual, but I was happy about)

The night started falling and we needed to set up the tent and get settled. Remember, this is out in the bush with NO light so we had to do it quite fast.

Once we set up all the women and children gathered around for some singing and dancing. It was dark so we decided to turn on the Land Cruiser’s headlights… guess what? The battery had drained!!! I don’t know what day did at the shop where they fixed the breaks, but they must have touched some wiring that will drain the battery.

So what did we do?…. got a few maasai warriors and pushed the car! It was dark, so we were trusting that there was no ditch where the car could get stuck… finally we did it and it started…. The light was made!!

We spend about 30 min singing and dancing…. I joined them jumping and jumping… all the women were happy to see me join. It was such a fun time.

The night was windy and I had a hard time sleeping, so I was up before sunrise… the animals around us also helped the process (they couldn’t stay quiet). I got up and walked around the boma greeting people. The men were taking their animals out for their daily walk and the women where milking the goats for breakfast.

Soon after I was told that someone had died the day before and that the women were not told until that morning… the rest of the day was pretty quiet as most people had gone to the funeral.

After having lunch with a small group we collected our things and started our journey back to town.

It was such a great experience…. Dogo was a great guide!

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