I have been back from my Maasai home stay for two days now and I am still struggling to write about it. I could variously describe the experience as appalling, fascinating, stimulating, exhausting, rewarding, frustrating, mind-expanding, enraging, or gratifying, and each one of those adjectives would be appropriate. But, let me start at the beginning.
My host, Morani Poyoni, picked me up in his older model Land Rover and drove me the nine kilometers to his house, located high in the hills above the town of Monduli. Morani and his wife, Sara, are among the few Maasai who have adopted western ways and left the traditional village. Both pursued educations and became teachers. Sara still teaches at the local primary school but these days Morani concentrates on his home stay program, which can include anything from allowing two dozen British teenagers to camp in his backyard while preparing for a climb of Mount Kilimanjaro to planning intensive multi-day programs for people like me who want to learn more about the Maasai culture.
I scheduled this cultural home stay with some romantic notion that I could discover the true Maasai way of life, meet with Maasai elders, and learn from the village healers. I accomplished all those goals, but I was totally unprepared for much of what I learned. Maasai is a patriarchal and hierarchical society. The women do Continue reading