Our next stop was a bit scary. We were visiting a remote Maasai family that had only been visited a couple of times by outsiders. This is not a tourist stop. This family is a personal friend of Albert, developed as he worked with the Maasai community in very rural Tanzania. The “road” to their Boma was not even a 4WD track. Albert followed a footpath that took us the 10 km off the road into the bush. We asked him “who made this “road”?” He said, “I did.”
We parked well away from the Boma and were greeted by a group of about 30 kids and women as we approached. All were dressed in the traditional Maasai clothing with bright colored fabrics and necklaces. The father of the family came out to greet Albert and us. He is a “wealthy man” by comparison with a few hundred cows, many goats, 10 wives and 80 children.
We think we are only the 4th group of westerners they have ever seen. We talked (they speak Ma’a and not even Albert can translate).
We took photos and shared the images with the audience. They absolutely loved seeing themselves ontheback of the camera.
The only challenge with the visit was the flies. There were thousands and thousands of flies. They were everywhere – landing on your hands, face, clothing (and camera). At one point I counted at least 50 flies landed on my camera! They live every day of their lives with these flies and they just ignore them. These flies often cause health problems (especially eye problems) as the take moisture from the eyes. One of Albert’s activities is to bring eye drops to this family. Albert is a very good hearted man and was loved by this family.
The oldest mother led the group in a traditional song and dance to celebrate our visit. Her voice was beautiful (and we caught it on video). Two girls grabbed me and we danced around the group like I was a white guy! Elley caught that on video too :(. I shared some smarties with the kids. Many of them just held them in their hands, saving them for later. One last thought: where’s the water? When we ask the men say very matter-of-fact “the mamas walk and get it.” This society is not very different from the Maasai societies of thousands of years ago. They are less nomadic and do a little bit of farming (but not much). Ten wives? (one is sometimes too much for me (no offense to my wonderful wife))
On our way back home to Arusha I sang my made up Swahili song “Pole pole, pole pole, pole pole.” Means “slow, slow, slow, slow, slow, slow.” I’m working on my Applewood points.
I also started a list of 10 things I will never complain about again:
1) Speed bumps
2) Pot holes
3) 3-pronged forks
4) American flies
5) Power outages
6) One wife
7) Too much rain
8) Stray cats (American cats)
9) My life
10)Top ten lists
Life is good