As we were eating our breakfast, our server, Rammamd, told us that Maziwa is milk in Swahili. It's hard to pronounce all the Swahili words correctly but everyone is always willing to teach you and spell the words out for you. The Chef at our camp was kind enough to make Paul some plain potatoes since his stomach has been upset for the past 6 days. He is surviving on water, a little bread and the occasional cracker or chip.
As we headed out on our drive, Godwill told us we have to drive around Mt Meru through Arusha town towards Kilimanjaro. The Original Maasai Lodge is located between Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt Meru on Maasai land. We notice a huge herd of buffalo right beside us. Godwill started making a strange animal sound. All the buffalo begin to look directly at us and some even began walking toward us. Godwill told us that the noise he made is what a buffalo sounds like when a lion is attacking. The herd will head towards the lion to help protect their fellow family member.
We also noticed a bunch of elephant poop along the road. Godwill also told us the dung beetle places his eggs in the middle of the poop and buries it so that when the eggs hatch, they can feed on the undigested grass in the poop. He said you will also see birds digging in the poop trying to eat the eggs and larvae of the dung beetle.
We also learned that most of the Baobab trees in this area are at least 300-400 years old. The Baobab trees can live to around 1,000 years old!
We drove past busy Arusha town and through several small villages. We constantly saw young Maasai children herding their cattle down the side of the road. This time of year they must walk the cattle 7-8 miles in search of fresh water. We also passed a motorcycle carrying three people, 2 goats and a chicken. It was common to see this because today is the day of the local markets. We decided to stop at one. At the market, everyone was selling cows, goats, chickens, bananas, other fruits and vegetables.
Once we left the market, we saw a dead donkey, a dead hyena, 2 dead dogs and then 2 alive dogs eating on all the carcasses. The boys were quiet confused watching this!
Once we finally got to our lodge (in the middle of the desert) we were greeted by the lovely Maasai! They gave us something red to drink out of a cow horn. They told us it was cow blood. Nash says "ewh, gross, I'm not drinking that". The Maasai man laughed and said its just hibachis tea. All of the mud huts we are staying in are made of mud and cow poop. The floor is concrete and all the furniture is made of wood. To say Paul is extremely uncomfortable is an understatement. Later that evening, we watched the Maasai men have a spear throwing competition. Nash and Finn got a chance to throw the spears too! Next we went to the fire pit area and watched all the Maasai men and women do traditional dancing.
Info from Africa Amini Life: Living with the Maasai, A deep insight in their culture:
Maasai Tribes are found only in Kenya and Tanzania. Life for the Maasai is a series of conquests and tests involving the endurance of pain. For men, there is a progression from child hood to warrior hood to elder hood. At the age of 4, a child''s lower incisors (teeth) are taken out with a knife. Young boys test their will by putting hot coals are their arms and legs. When they grow older, they submit to tatooing on the stomach and arms and enduring 100's of small cuts on their skin.
Ear piercing for both boys and girls come next. The cartilage of the upper ear is pierced with hot iron. The next stage is circumcision (for boys) and excision (for girls) and this is the most important event in a young Maasai's life. The circumcision itself involves great physical pain and tests a youth's courage. If they flinch during the act, boys bring shame and dishonor to themselves and their family. The members of their age group would not accept them anymore. For girls it is an even longer and painful ritual, which is considered as preparation for childbearing. If a girl gets pregnant before excision, she will get banished from the village.
After that boys must fulfill civic responsibilities such as military service.
They live up to several years in the bush, to learn to overcome pride, egoism and selfishness. They share their possessions and their cattle for ceremonies. The stage of "young warriorhood" ends with the "eunoto" rite, when a man ends his periodic trips into the bush and returns to his village, putting his acquired wisdom to use for the good of the community. A man must give 10 cows as a dowry to marry a Maasai woman that has been arranged by the families.
The traditional Maasai diet consist of six basic foods: meat, blood, milk, fat, honey and tree bark. Wild games meat, chicken, fish and salt are forbidden. Allowable meats include roasted and boiled beef, goat and mutton. Both fresh and curdled milk are drunken and animal blood is taken at special times - after giving birth, circumcision and excision or while recovering from an accident. Honey is obtained from the Torobo tribe and is a prime ingredient in mead, a fermented beverage that only elders may drink. The Maasai generally eat two meals a day, in the morning and at night. Then they have a dietary prohibition against mixing milk and meat.
The Maasai community is trying to preserve their own ways of living, unlike other tribes that have adapted to the modern world. Maasai move their homes from time to time to follow their cattle, which is their most important living substance. In Maasai culture a cow is a sign of wealth, if it gets killed for festivities, all parts of the cow will be used.
Sunrise over Kilimanjaro
Sunset over Meru