MAASAI

The Maasai are a Nilotic (who live in nile valley),ethnic group inhabiting northern, central and southern Kenya and northern Tanzania.

The Maasai speak the Maa language. Except for some elders living in rural areas, most Maasai people speak the official languages of Kenya and Tanzania, Swahili and English.
The Tanzanian and Kenyan governments have instituted programs to encourage the Maasai to abandon their traditional semi-nomadic lifestyle, but the people have continued their age-old customs.

Every 2-3 months they move to fresh grazing fields and rebuild all over again because animals eat most of the greens.

Maasai society is strongly patriarchal in nature, with elder men, sometimes joined by retired elders, deciding most major matters for each Maasai group.

A full body of oral law covers many aspects of behavior.

Social organization

The central unit of Maasai society is the age-set.

Young boys are sent out with the calves and lambs as soon as they can toddle, but childhood for boys is mostly playtime, with the exception of ritual beatings to test courage and endurance.

Girls are responsible for chores such as cooking and milking, skills which they learn from their mothers at an early age.

Every 15 years or so, a new and individually named generation of Morans or Il-murran (warriors) will be initiated. This involves most boys between 12 and 25, who have reached puberty and are not part of the previous age-set. One rite of passage from boyhood to the status of junior warrior is a circumcision ceremony performed without anaesthetic because they must endure the pain that will lead them to manhood.
This ritual is typically performed by the elders, who use a sharpened knife and makeshift cattle hide bandages for the procedure.
The boy must endure the operation in silence.
Expressions of pain bring dishonor, albeit temporarily.
The healing process will take 3-4 months, during which urination is painful and nearly impossible at times, and boys must remain in black clothes for a period of 4-8 months.
During this period, the newly circumcised young men will live in a "manyatta", a "village" built by their mothers.

The manyatta has no encircling barricade for protection, emphasizing the warrior role of protecting the community.

One myth about the Maasai is that each young man is supposed to kill a lion before he is circumcised.

Young women also undergo excision as part of an elaborate rite of passage ritual called "Emuatare," the ceremony that initiates young Maasai girls into adulthood through ritual circumcision and then into early arranged marriages.
The Maasai believe that female circumcision is necessary and Maasai men may reject any woman who has not undergone it as either not marriageable or worthy of a much-reduced bride price.
Similarly to the young men, women who will be circumcised wear dark clothing, paint their faces with markings, and then cover their faces on completion of the ceremony.

The Maasai are traditionally polygynous; this is thought to be a long-standing and practical adaptation to high infant and warrior mortality rates. Polyandry is also practiced. However, today this practice is usually abandoned. A woman marries not just her husband but the entire age group.

The removal of deciduous canine tooth buds in early childhood is a practice that has been documented in the Maasai of Kenya and Tanzania.

There exists a strong belief among the Maasai that diarrhea, vomiting and other febrile illnesses of early childhood are caused by the gingival swelling over the canine region, which is thought to contain 'worms' or 'nylon' teeth.

Village

The architecture of a Maasai village is genius! Precious livestock must be in the center surrounded by a barrier made of thorny branches, these smaller stalls can be used to separate animals or newborns surrounded with houses frames with wood and covered with cow dong.Houses are built by women, and the house takes 3 weeks to be build. The outside barrier is made by thorny branches so if a lion wants to steal a goat it must leap over two walls.

Diet

Traditionally, the Maasai diet consisted of raw meat, raw milk, honey and raw blood from cattle.

Most tribes most tribes are disease-free.

Many had not a single tooth attacked by dental caries nor a single malformed dental arch. In particular the Maasai had a very low 0.4% of bone caries.

He attributed that to their diet consisting of (in order of volume) raw milk, raw blood, raw meat and some vegetables and fruits, although in many villages they do not eat any fruit or vegetables at all. He noted that when available every growing child and every pregnant or lactating woman would receive a daily ration of raw blood.

More recently, the Maasai have grown dependent on food produced in other areas such as maize meal, rice, potatoes, cabbage.

We will talk about their bizarre cooking habits on Friday 9/4 on my instagram profile.

Coronavirus impact

Every state has had a violent impact from the coronavirus, both healthily and economically.

The Maasai tribes, which number about 1 milion of people, suffered a major shock, fortunately not in terms of health, but the economic impact was significant with a loss of about 752 million dollars.

In fact, Kenya has a predominantly tourist economy, and the Maasai villages were one of the main attractions, where the tourist, paying a sum of 30 dollars, could dance with them, learn to light a fire and wear the jewels that distinguish them.

As invasive as it may seem, these organized visits allowed different tribes to survive.

Today only animals visit the villages.

While selling their livestock, these tribes are unable to sustain themselves and fear that this void will continue for a long time, and could make profound changes to their way of life handed down for years.

There is much more to say about the Maasai, they are a people with a deep-rooted and unique culture, as well as one of the most famous ethnic groups in the world.


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IVORY COAST

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RINGS OF LIFE #2

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RING FOR LIFE #1

PEOPLE I MET IN THAILAND COLLECTION MIXED MEDIA | 83x60 cm -PRINT ON PAPER -BASE IN WOOD 1 cm -BRASS NAILS -WHITE WIRE Exhibited at "System Art" - Hemcael Gallery Milan, September 2020

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