To learn about the Maasai culture is one thing… being a part of it another.
The Maasai are one of the biggest tribes in Africa. Most of the population in the Monduli district are from the Maasai tribe, with the result Monduli is commonly referred to as a Maasai township.
A proud people, the Maasai do their best to preserve a unique culture. They have a very traditional way of living, with most relatives all living in the same family compound.
The Maasai were a very nomadic people, traditionally moving with their cattle. Through the sale of their cattle and cattle products, they get just enough money to survive. Incidentally, the charity Oxfam insists that the lifestyle of the Maasai should be embraced as a response to climate change because of their ability to farm in deserts and scrublands.
Maasai culture can seem very different to the modern West. For example men can be married to several women depending on how rich the man is (and which is usually dependant on how many cattle he owns). There is reason in a man having many wives though, say the Maasai as more wives mean more people to take care of the cattle and other animals.
The visit volunteers will be participating in is owned by, Meshuko Mapi – an elderly man with eight wives, 43 children and more than 160 grandchildren.
Tasks tend to be divided, with men usually taking care of/selling the cattle. You’ll find women milking, cooking, finding firewood and taking care of babies.
You will be staying with Maasai in their village to help them in their daily tasks, where you can explore Maasai culture more via daily interaction and communication.
The villager’s founder is a great proponent of formal education, and you will be expected to arrange activities for children in the village or manage an English class in the primary school.. The school was started by the Maasai villager leader to accommodate his many grandchildren, but is today also open for any neighbouring children.
A typical day begins with breakfast, after which you’ll join the Maasai and participate in their tasks, such as milking, collecting firewood etc. You might also be teaching English to children at the local primary school.