Photo Hunt: Hands

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The Massais make fire by hand without matches.  Although still living in primitive abode made of cow dung, it is uncertain whether the tribe still actually use this mode of fire making.  Noted as a vanishing tribe, the Massais struggle to keep their culture as modern influences lurk around their surroundings.  More on the Massais here.

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Massai – A vanishing race

Africa—my biggest trip so far and a dream vacation not exactly at the top of my priority list.  I found my way to Africa quite by chance.  A few years ago, a friend of mine did a year of volunteer work in Mombasa, Kenya.  One day, I received an email from her inviting us (her traveling buddies) to join her on a safari.  The thrill-seeker in me cannot NOT take this opportunity, so in June of 2005, I found myself on board a flight enroute to Nairobi.  Turned out to be by far the greatest experience ever.  Extraordinary adventures that made it to my list of firsts.

massai1Credits:  Brushes – DDMWISE a la Mode, NRJ Funky Vintage8;  Papers- Defining flowers – jen wilson, Kpertiet King Me paper, Lumiene – jen wilson, strip – jen wilson, Tjd Kuwtj hardwood 3; Elements – KPertiet – Hemp Tie, Linda GB Tiny tags_all worn, Lynng_barcelona button 2

To kick off this African Adventure series, I’d like to introduce to you to the Massai of East Africa.  They are after all one of the better-known African tribe.  They live on the Serengeti Plain near Kenya and Tanzania.  A unique society with a rich history steeped in culture and tradition, however with the interference of the west, the Massai are at risk of losing that culture within our lifetime.

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It was quite evident at the time of our visit to a village that they have become more and more entrenched in a market economy.  Souvenirs were peddled in one area of their village.  The Massai are pastoral people who live mainly off their cattle.  Traditionally, livestock is their primary source of income.  Beyond being used for food, it may be traded for beads and clothing.  Until recently, it was illegal to sell livestock for cash.  But the modern day comforts have lured many a younger Massai to the Western culture.  In a bar in Arusha in Tanzania, we were introduced to a Massai in regular modern day get up (sans their signature shoes made of rubber tires and red wraps) playing billiards with the locals.  If not for their very distinct earlobe hole and beads and other accessories, they blend in really well with the others.

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Despite that, majority of this red wrap cladding people still live in traditional Massai abode made of cow dung and mud.  I know, I know!  We entered one of it upon their invitation albeit hesitantly and with a huge sigh of relief, we found that it wasn’t stinky at all!   😯

They are known to be fierce warriors and hunting and killing a lion is common still today for these warriors to sort of prove their manhood and test their courage.

I am pleased to have caught a glimpse into the lives of this interesting set of people before outside interference completely change them.