MAASAI MARA, KENYA, 2015
After the project Not A Walk In The Park I stayed with the Maasai Tribe in their village for a week. Chief Baraka and his family welcomed me to stay in his bed, in their house. Me, them and a scorpion now and then. The generosity they showed me was overwhelming and I learned so much about a lifestyle far from what I was used to. We lived with the sun, the moon and the stars and it was truly a fantastic experience.
With no electricity you're up at the sunrise and hit the sack after its gone. And on these longitudes, it switches from bright day to pitch darkness in 30 minutes. No stress in the mornings, the village wakes up with nature, kids are playing around, raised and cared for by all villagers. Villagers fixing with their cows and houses - built by sticks and dried cow manure. Happy with one fireplace for their indoor cooking, and happy with their simple tiny home.
One of their sacred moments was the daily soccer game at four o'clock. Dressed in their classic colorful robes and their fabulous 10.000-mile shoes, made out of old motorcycle tires and inner tubes. Impossible to wear out, but definitely possible to score with.
Another truly happy moment was to see them do their traditional Maasai jumping... wow, they know how to jump and somehow it generates smiles to everyone jumping and everyone close by. Including me.
They live with their cows, and they hunt with spears. Known to be very brave hunters. They also protect the wildlife from poachers by being eyes out on the savannah, reporting to the authorities if they see something fishy going on. Lately they have also started to sell handmade products and art. Not many tourists passed by the village while I was there, but with new more conscious forms of eco-tourism, local Maasai tribe members are being engaged to participate and watch guard the development.
If that is good or bad is hard to judge... but when I talk to Chief Baraka once or twice a year he seems content. I love those talks. He calls me up on Whatsapp. A wonderful family man.