A good, strong 4×4 car, land cruiser or land rover, in Africa is like your best friend. „Someone” you can (or have to) relay on and cooperate in difficult conditions. If your „companion” keeps a secret from you for example about spare tyres, which have been repaired too many times to be used again- you’re simply sc…ed. In fact that’s happened to our happy group THREE times! An absolute record considering TWO spare tyres we had. Moreover, we found our tipsy driver completely helpless in the face of changing them. At least this sudden accident sobered him immediately up J Fortunately male German- Belgium team with some help of kind locals was capable of handling the crisis… so that we can get a puncture two more times ;)
The bright side of the whole situation was a possibility of meeting the locals.
I’m sure that for young Massai shepherds watching the change of a tyre was nothing special… more like a new episode of their favourite serial. What might have been a novelty were the lollypops one Polish girl gave them. Nice hugh? Unfortunately, later came the pangs of conscience, knowing that they don’t brush their teeth and maybe giving them sweets was not the cleverest thing to do??? This ignorant white people in Africa… Oh well, we ended up having fun and a bunch of good memories and pictures.
Each man of the house is treated with respect and worship by all his kids and wives. The women are the ones who work most, though. While the men are sitting the whole day somewhere on the rock, looking at their cows, talking to the fellow shepherds, the women are looking after kids, selling convincing Massai jewelry and…. building the shelters! Yes, it’s a female job to build a manyatta – a house made of sticks fixed into the ground and interwoven with branches. The construction is plastered with a mix of mud, ash, sticks, grass, cow dung and human urine! Some Mzungu, which means “white people” in suahili, feel too ashamed to enter those houses. Everyone, however, looks curiously inside. The reason for those hesitations is the striking poverty of Massai people. They don’t even earn anything for tourist visits. They still smile and show their kindness and hospitality to Mzungu counting silently for their generosity. Sometimes this few dollars are enough to buy necessary medicine or school equipment for kids.
This particular village was lucky enough to live close to the Snake Park in Arusha, created by a couple of the Europeans. BJ and Ma are great people who apart from owning a campsite, a bar and reptile park were iniciators of a free medical clinic and a home for orphans, as well as the rebuilding of a local school.
What do you see when you hear“Massai”? A bunch of tall man jumping in their ritual dance? Scenes from a famous movie “The white Massai”? (I should watch it by the way). I was always recalling portraits of Massai people seen in one of the National Geographic magazines. Those beautiful, proud people, wearing multicolored jewelry were looking deep into our eyes almost asking: “What do you really know about us (you ignorant Mzungu)?” The truth is – we don’t know too much.
The Massai are one of the semi- nomadic tribes in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. Their welfare is measured by the amount of cows a shepherd and head of the family has. The animals give them food- meat and their favorite drink- milk with cows’ blood. After they are killed, skin, hair and horns are used for parts of the wardrobe, accessoires and interior design elements.
Safari has its pros and cons. It takes time to get used to waking up at 5:30 every day, slepping in a tent and cooking your own meal. Moreover, there is no garantee to see all wild animals. Apparently we’ve been very lucky, as two first hours in Masai Mara National Park was enough to spot the Big Five. Check it out :)