Sometimes we forget that something as simple as the sunrise is a miracle; another chance to see the world anew. In Maasai land, the traditional sheets worn around their bodies (called shúkà) are even more beautiful by day. A kaleidoscope of rich vibrant color folded throughout the land. It is truly breathtaking and makes you even more thankful that this culture has chosen to maintain its traditional customs in so many ways. In a world where we're seeking the fastest and newest, they're choosing the oldest. There's something to be said for getting back to basics. Much beauty to be found there. I'm thankful to have seen a great sense of contentment and liberty in simplicity.The Maasai community is often patriarchal and sometimes, but not always, polygamous. Many have a chief, or Laibon, which is a spiritual leader. Below is the chief of this village whom we had the great pleasure of greeting. As a gift for welcoming us into the community, we brought sugar and flour. I'd like to "borrow a cup of sugar" from these guys everyday. ;) In the middle of the night, it had begun to rain and a man came to take us from our tents to a school building where we could stay dry. "Who is this?" I had asked my friend. "He is the chief's son." he explained. I thought I had met about 6 or 7 of them already. It is not unusual for them to have several wives and therefore many children. Although, a good Maasai friend of mine has wishes to marry only one woman. Another great point that labels on any society or community cannot always be followed.And I awoke in the morning to the sound of a young boy shouting in the distance. Herding cattle. Cattle are incredibly important to the Maasai lifestyle. Traditionally, they would attempt to live off the cattle alone - meat, milk, sometimes the blood, but today it is not unlikely for them to also grow crops and exchange food and goods with other people, etc. Over time, with colonial progression and developments in government, the Maasai have been restricted from certain parts of the land due to governmental projects, the acquisition of private property and farming, and wildlife parks. This has caused a great stress on the Maasai, but many are still pursuing, maintaining and appreciating their traditional customs. They are, indeed, quite peaceful after all. In my time there, it was my impression that the Maasai live quite graciously off the land and have a deep respect for the world around them. It is an inspiration to me, to value what God has already put on the earth, and to use it purposefully and respectfully.
On that note, their homes, called enkaji, are made beautifully from sticks, grass, cow droppings, soil and sometimes ash.
And meet my husband! No, I kid. I kid. ;) He had asked for me to join him over by the chief so that we could marry. I jokingly said yes before learning it's no joke at all. Lesson learned. It's not unusual to marry at a very young age in this culture. His hair was incredible. Traditionally, the Maasai with longer hair were/are the warriors of the tribe. Not a bad choice for a "husband," eh?
Next up: My thank you letter to you all - the recent contributors toward the next Nairobi mission; the children's food program; all the amazing supporters - followed by a year in review. You can change a life forever by slightly altering your own, and you are. I cannot express my immense gratitude toward all who've reached out and made a difference. Thank you for being here; God bless and Happy Holidays!
Thank you, Seth Arkin, for this gracious article: Role of a Lifetime: Heading Back to Africa