“Sorry I am late for dinner darling, My friend the Massai invited me over for a quick after work drink“. How cool would it be if you ever get to say that to your husband? By drink I am obviously referring to a glass of milk with cattle blood specially made to celebrate my first visit to the family house…
A was very excited about our trip to the Massai Mara in Kenya. He had heard so much about the beautiful nature of the place, its rich culture, and kind people. I personally didn’t know what to expect, but once we set foot there my sense of curiosity was instantly sparked. All I wanted was to connect and learn more.
We met a young Massai at our lodge that goes by the name “Joshua” for both our convenience and his. He worked as a local naturalist and spoke excellent English. I was impressed by his easy going manner and tour guiding skills, so we hired him to show us around.
Joshua took us to his village and invited us inside his family home. We had a splendid conversation to say the least about the daily routine and lifestyle of the average Massai. He said a Massai is allowed to take up to 10 wives, each would normally have her own house where she would live with her own children and maybe a goat or two.
The first wife will obviously be the head wife, a job that comes with its various responsibilities as well as perks. Her house for instant might be slightly bigger than those of the other wives, and she probably will have the first say on how wealth and household resources are distributed and managed.
Fair enough I think…
The house we sat in was incredibly tiny by standard measures, about 4m x 4m wide and 1.5m high, not very easy for a tall woman to stand up right in the middle of it. It included all the functional areas a regular house would consist of like a sleeping area for the parents and kids, a kitchen and dining area, a storage corner for food and fuel, and I was told that the cattle spend the night indoors sometimes.
Sitting inside that house was a very enlightening experience. It made me wonder what really makes a house a home..
Women are mainly responsible for all the construction work around this community. Well built Massai women build the family houses using available material, mainly a mixture of mud, cow dung, dry tree sticks, and in occasions human urine is considered a good binding substance. That is extremely important of course for making water proof house roofs to survive the rainy season.
This visit was much more entertaining than I thought it would be. A group of young Massai boys ranging in age between 16 – 25 performed a traditional dance for us then they got us to take part in a jumping competition. The boys challenged A to compete for the title of the highest jumper in town. The grand price would be the attention of the village hotties and consequently more potential girlfriends than the rest of the boys. I wasn’t exactly sure how I felt about A putting so much effort into performing those high jumps, and then winning!
I always wanted to learn how to make a bush fire by rubbing sticks together. The boys were nice enough to demonstrate their fire starting skills to me. It was my favorite part of the whole experience.