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We have visited the Maasai people four times now and each time we bring them relief supplies.
On our first trip once we had distributed the food and blankets the village chiefs wanted to host us for a dinner. We thought that would be nice. The sun had now set and we were led to a mud hut for the meal. With no electricity and a smoke filled room it was hard to see anything. All the village elders sat on one side of the room and we sat on the other. As we could not speak Maasai and they could not speak English our exchange was mostly hand motions and gestures. From a dark corner of the room a woman emerged with a platter of something. It was too dark to see clearly but it was glistening with grease. Apparently it didn’t smell too good. Although we were quite hungry we were more fearful of what was before us. I explained to the team that we must eat as this is given as a gift to us. Reluctantly we all partook as little as we possibly could. Another platter was brought for the elders and they devoured it in short order. Seeing a way out of the situation I offered to share our platter with them which was enthusiastically accepted.
After eating we went out into the dark evening and I explained that we would like to spend the night in their village. The chief explained that they had never had a white person stay in the village but we were certainly welcome. As we walked toward the village the chief turned to me and asked, “Aren’t you afraid of the animals?” I responded that if he wasn’t afraid then neither was I. We carried on. When we arrived at the village I saw that the huts were surrounded with bramble that was meant to keep out the lions and hyenas. The bramble was very thorny and appeared like it would do the job. I was led to my hut which was made of sticks and mud and was 4 feet high. My bed was a pile of sticks with a cow-hide laid over them. As I entered the hut I was followed by a few of the warriors. The men then kept coming in until we had about 20 men in a space about 10 feet by 10 feet. As we sat together unable to communicate they started chanting. As the volume and intensity increased it seemed that the hut was actually pulsating. It was fantastic. After a while I said that we would now sing to them and we gave a rousing rendition of Kumbaya. They loved it. It was now time to jump.
The Maasai are great jumpers and can jump almost 2 feet just using their ankles. They would chant as they jumped, it was amazing. After the festivities we all returned to our huts for the night. In the middle of the night, as I slept on my cow skin a small animal climbed onto me and started to burrow into my chest. I awoke and unable to see what it was I grabbed it and threw it as hard as I could against the mud wall. It didn’t come back so I went back to sleep.
In the morning it was time for breakfast and it was my role to select the meal. I was led to the goat corral and requested to select the goat we would eat. I made the selection, it was taken from the corral and we headed up the hill-side for breakfast. The goat was slaughtered, the flesh was cut off, a fire was started and the meat was roasted. Being the guest of honour I was given the raw kidney to eat while they drank the blood. After that we all settled down to a feast of fresh roasted goat meat.