Herding cattle, sheep and goats, sleeping in a boma, getting blessed by the chief, making bead jewellery and dancing – all in a day’s work when you spend time with the Maasai!
After writing about Cambodia cattle for last Wednesday’s world wildlife post, I just had to show you some Maasai cattle (and people) images this week. In October 2014 I was privileged to spend 3 days and a night in a Maasai village in Tanzania, and it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.
In this and the surrounding villages controlled by chief Meshuku Mappi, the Maasai own approximately 170,000 cattle, sheep and goats. That number seems almost incredible but, after watching huge herds of beasts being driven home to their overnight corrals by the men of the tribe, I can definitely believe it.
It was the perfect photo opportunity – cloven hooves churned up dust from the bone dry ground, statuesque baobob trees punctuated the landscape like frozen giants, and the bright reds and blues of the men’s clothing popped against the browns of the landscape and the animals.
And, after an overnight stay in one of the village bomas (mud huts), we were up early next morning to catch the sun rise over the nearby hills and to watch the men driving the animals out for the day’s grazing. Life for the Maasai revolves around their animals – their cows are their primary source of food, and their wealth and status are measured in cattle. The Maasai are very special people and it was a huge privilege to spend time with them and get a glimpse of their daily lives.