“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

TravelHaven Journal – African Safari 8

The Maasai Village at Loliando

While at Loliando, we visit a Maasai village. Maasai are semi-nomadic, following their herds throughout the region. Although the government encourages them to abandon their traditional semi-nomadic lifestyle for the settled life of farmers, the people mostly cling to their age-old customs,

Maasai men and women tend to be tall and slender. They wear bright-colored clothing, mostly consisting of sheets of cloth wrapped around their bodies in various fashions. Both men and women wear wooden bracelets. Maasai women make woven bead jewelry to decorate themselves, wearing ornaments along the top of their ears, as well as in the lobes. Piercing and stretching earlobes is common, although fewer young men follow the fashion now.

The Maasai rely on readily available, local materials to construct their villages, of course. The village is typically surrounded by a tall circular fence constructed by the men, using thorny acacia branches. The homes, called enkaji , are constructed by the women and are only about four feet high. They make a frame of poles driven into the ground and interwoven with a lattice of smaller branches. This is plastered with a mixture of mud, sticks, grass, ash, and cow dung and urine and roofed over with grasses.

The family cooks, eats, sleeps, socializes and stores food, fuel and other household possessions in the enkaji , which is about nine by fifteen feet. The low door is at one end and there is only one window — a hole in one wall about ten inches square. There’s a fire in the middle of the room, so the house is very dark and smoky. Small livestock, especially the calves and kids, live inside the house, in a separated space.

The Maasai have lived in this manner for hundreds of years and are a happy and vigorous nation.