NORTHERN KENYA – We made a long drive to a Maasai market. This is a one day only affair that appears periodically at various sites. The main trade is people bringing goats to sell and buying clothing, vegetables, household items and so on. According to Lemarti full-grown goat fetches $120 or so, which is a lot of money in these parts.
I’m going to trouble you with eight images today. Editing has been really difficult. I could probably do better if I had more time. At least the images aren’t of airport lounges.
First, four images taken in a small settlement that we drove through to get to the market – images that fit into my “small towns” body of work. All taken with my Alpa TC, Phase One IQ 180 back and Schneider 35mm Digitar.
Now four more taken with my Panasonic GH2 at the Maasai market:
MAASAI MARA, KENYA – Ride back from the crossing and late afternoon bush walk. Here’s a heard of Maasai cattle. As noted in an earlier post the Maasai are semi-nomadic cattle herders. They prefer large horn cattle in white with small black markings. The Maasai believe that all the cattle in the world belong to Maasai, leading to behavior that is considered cattle theft by others. Historically their diet consisted primarily of milk mixed with cow’s blood drawn from an artery – they patch up the wound after drawing the blood. They supplement it with sheep and goats. Cows are to valuable as a measure of wealth to slaughter for food.
This gives some idea of just how ugly the spotted hyena is:
We took a late afternoon bush walk. This is Maria with our Maasai guide, Ping, inspecting a termite hill. Ping is an amazing story teller; he’s the fellow who spent six month’s in Orlando advising on the safari ride.
MAASAI MARA – In the late afternoon, under dull skies, we visited a Maasai village. The Maasai are nomads – they tend cattle which are their primary index of wealth. We find the Maasai friendly and welcoming. Their culture is sufficiently binding that they tend to return to their roots after being educated, and even after travel to the US. Our Maasai guide in the Maasai Mara, Ping, had spent six months in Orlando as a consultant to the Safari feature at Disney World. They are under severe pressure to change some of their ways, For example it was a coming of age rite for a young Maasai man to kill a lion. The Maasai population is East Africa is around 400,000, the lion population is around 25,000 so the numbers no longer support this practice. The Maasai also historically practiced female circumcision, a practice that has appropriately been banned by the governments of Kenya and Tanzania. Here’s a link the the Wikipedia entry on the Maasai: The Maasai
One interesting theory on the origin of the Maasai that we heard from several guides: A Roman legion was sent to explore the sources of the Nile and vanished. The theory is that legion trained a local tribe as legionnaires and that the Maasai descended from them. The Maasai wear red cloaks (colour reserved for soldiers in the Roman army) draped like togas and use spears which resemble the Roman Pilum and short swords which resemble the Roman Gladius.
Nancy and Maasai:
Maasai child at play:
We were taken into a Maasai house – they are constructed of acacia branches driven into the ground and covered with cow dung. There is one very small window – 6 cm or so in diameter.