Maasia

I am going to start on a bit of a sad, but realistic, note. Before I begin I am going to give you some brief background information on a group of people called the Maasai. This group of people live in huts on the outskirts of the Serengeti. They typically dress in red and blue patterned cloths that are wrapped around their bodies. Most do not wear shoes, especially the children. There is a time period where boys age 14-17 years go through a rite of passage, which transforms them into warriors. The boys that are going through this transformation dress in all black and paint their faces white everyday for three months. During this three -month period the boys leave their tribes and fend for themselves. When they return to their tribes they are then considered to be warriors or protectors. Our safari driver, Maluta, compared their style of living to lions. That being , the women care for the children and do a lot of the hunting and food gathering while the men patrol and protect the land and livestock but hardly have any involvement with the raising of their children. I will learn more about this group of people next weekend when I camp out with them in their village huts. So, throughout our drive we passed this group of people constantly. On the way in I was in awe and fascinated by their style of living, bothering my driver with constant questions. On the way to our second hotel however, I had a major reality check. We began to stop to give our leftover lunch to hungry Masai children. Initially, we were cheerfully giving away our leftovers to these children while smiling and talking to them. After a couple of stops though, the reality that these children were sprinting to our cars for food because they were hungry really began to sink in. I saw something that not many people confront face-to-face, hunger. Of course I’ve heard of hunger, and seen pictures but never have I stared it in strait in the face. When we started running out of our leftover food we began to frantically search through our backpacks and bags for snacks that we had brought for ourselves for the trip. We shoveled everything we had out the window, but it still wasn’t enough. We had to leave children empty handed and hungry on the side of the road. The sickening feeling of complete helplessness overwhelmed us all for the rest of the ride home. Silence and sniffles was all that was heard for the rest of the journey to the hotel. The next day we ran into the same situation, but this time we were prepared. Most of the people in our car decided to skip eating our lunch that day so we could give it to the children on our way out of town. I don’t think any of us felt right about eating a lunch that we knew kids needed when we were assured a hot meal for dinner a couple of hours later. Although it was still sad to see these children, there were not tears today. We had all had time to process what we had seen the day before and handled it in a much more composed manor. As I said before I will be camping with this group of people for one night. I hope to gain more insights into their style of living during this time.

Morgan Steele

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~ by wheresmorgalorg on May 8, 2012.

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