The Maasai Part Two
The term ‘warrior’ is the basic concept, but it is necessary to understand that there are different degrees in being warriors. Everything depends on age.
In the first stage they are called Morans. To enter this stage they must pass through circumcision. It’s their first stenght test: if they cry or show any sufference they cannot fulfill the goal.
After this, the boys wear black clothes, draw their faces with white geometric figures and put some bird feathers in their hair (many tribes consider this a sign for good luck) before starting, in groups of three or four, a journey of some months in the bush during which they must demonstrate they can survive on their own.
A tradition that has been stopped was the one that obliged the new warriors to kill a lion using only their sticks to show their power (the name of the stick is rungu).
After the Moran stage, the Maasai man become young warrior and finally old warrior: everything passing through different transition rites.
The old men of the tribe decide all the rules for the good of the community and are taken into a great consideration.
Old means wise and everybody has a high respect for wisdom.
A Maasai warrior tends to marry when he is 30/40 years old and polygamy is not rare. The large family lives in a group of manyattas: every manyatta has its own purpose. Inside the hut the Maasai sleep and eat. The beds are made of dry branches.
During my visits I had the opportunity of entering and taking some pics. Very interesting.
The traditional clothing consists of overlapping blankets. They exist in two versions: light for hotter months and heavy for winter weather. Red and blue are the colours for men. Women change the colours in relation to their state. The blue blankets are worn by married women.
I discovered them during my first trip to Tanzania: I bought some and asked myself what possible use I could make of them.
Now, after years, I can assert I cannot live without them.
They are always useful, always the right weight, always present in my house.
Both men and women like a real lot to wear jewellery and they produce some very fine pieces, especially bracelets and necklaces. Selling them is one of their ways of surviving.
Visits to a Maasai village are organized by everyone. This kind of visit, tough, is made up for tourists and doesn’t show anything of the actual culture of this proud people. It is much better to participate to a program managed by the Maasai themselves. The best are near Lake Natron and the Maasai sacred mountain, Ol Doinyo Lengai (the Mountain of God in Maa language), a singular volcano, the only one in the world erupting white lava.
The tribe invites you to live with them and sleep in one of their villages for one night. This is the best way to have a short, but intense contact with them and, maybe, venture in the trekking on the volcano that will leave everyone astonished and with unforgettable memories.