Africa – The Maasi People


My favourite part of my trip was visiting a Maasi Village in Tanzania. We drove through Arusha on our way to our first camp at the Ngorongoro Crater. You could see many small villages on the hillside surrounded by thorny fences called a boma. The boma protect their cattle at night from predators. The Maasi live off the land and can be seen all over Tanzania herding their cattle, sheep and goats. When we reached the village we were introduced to the chief. The woman and men stood in a line on the hill and sang for us. All the woman in our group were given a beaded necklace and asked to dance with the woman of the village. We then visited the children’s school in the village. All of the children in the village young and old attend the school. It is one small room.  All of the buildings are made of a mixture of mud, cow dung and sticks. The children are singing with the teacher and we are allowed to photograph them. I was invited into the chiefs home and photographed him in this tiny room with only a hole in the wall for light. The woman of the village spend much of their time making beaded jewelery which they all wear and sell to visitors.

They are a beautiful people and amazing to photograph. You can recognize them immediately by the bright red and blue fabric that are draped over their body. It was amazing to see their home and we were made to feel very welcome. I was torn in wanting to photograph them. They must feel like they are living in a “fish bowl”. Imagine someone touring through your home and taking pictures of you all the time. Most of the Maasi in the village didn’t speak any english. Many were shy in front of a camera and would burst into laughter talking to their friends as we photographed them. I did my best to smile, be friendly and interact with the people I photographed, but it felt strange taking their pictures and just leaving. I purchased a beaded necklace as a thank you. I know it’s not much but I couldn’t leave without purchasing something they had made. We were only there for a short period of time but it was a great reminder to live more simply. They have very little possessions but they have each other and isn’t that all we really need.

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