September 28th – Day Four
The morning was spent driving back to the Snake Park. Once there we got organised and then visited the Maasai Museum on site. An interesting tour took us though many aspects of Maasai life and culture, explaining the processes and garb that accompany the different stages of a Maasai life progression; from child to man to warrior and elder for the men and from girl to woman to wife for the woman. The Maasai men can have many wives, the bride price for a wife is 14 cattle and circumcision is practiced on both sexes (it is illegal to circumcise girls in Tanzania but our guide assured us the Maasai still carry out the practice in secret as it is part of their tradition). It was an interesting tour with very informative displays and a good guide.
Once compete we went outside and gathered next to a group of tethered camel for our next trip, this being a guided tour through an actual Maasai village. Keryn and I declined the use of a camel (we’d done the camel thing in Egypt last year) so walked alongside the others as we were led towards the village. As we neared the village we were joined but some children who had been out getting water. Arriving at the village the camels were brought back down and everyone got off and started looking around. Our guide informed us that the head of this village had eight wives and the surrounding houses housed this extended family. There were over forty children in this family. As we listened to the guide a number of the children arrived, some stood and watched and a few of the younger ones approached us with a look of curiosity on their faces.
A Maasai child at the village
We started taking a few photos and while this was taking place Roger handed out some sweets (after asking if this was OK) and then brought out a bubble loop and some bubble blowing liquid. This device absolutely entranced the children; they obviously hadn’t seen bubbles created like this before. Helen took over the bubble duty and very quickly had a crowd of children surrounding her while she controlled the passing around of the loop so the children could attempt to blow the bubbles. Each stream of bubbles was greeted by a flurry of waving hands as the children attempted to catch and burst the floating spheres. Meanwhile some other children had come to pairs of us and had convinced us to swing them into the air, a person holding and swinging each arm. At one point Will, Stephen, Roger and I had three children on the go between us which no small amount of coordination.
The tour continued and we were taken around the village, meeting some of the wives and entering a hut. We came out to find a group of Maasai warriorsâ€™ singing and dancing, jumping up in the air as they are famous for. We gathered around as they continued, the girls of the tribe joining in once they were dressed in the traditional way with wide, flat hoops of beads placed around their necks. We watched and took photos, the session culminating in a number of people in the group joining in to be dressed in traditional garb and have their photos taken with the warriors. It was then back on the camels and back to the Snake Park.
Dressed up for dancing
Lunch was had at the camp and then we were back in the truck for the drive to the next camp near Moshi on the foothills of Mt Kilimanjaro. The drive was mainly noticeable for the changing landscape, the closer we got to Mosi the more vegetation and general greenness became evident. There was farmed land containing a number of different crops and as we neared the mountain there were a number of villages that seemed to exist only to farm bananas, banana plantations all over. The general vegetation became lusher and stream beds now started containing water rather than being dry. We passed through Moshi and continued around Mt Kilimanjaro before heading uphill to our camp. The landscape to either side of the road now became almost tropical. Kilimanjaro was capped with a mass of grey cloud so we never really got to see anything other than the foothills.
The camp site was completely different to the previous, green grass, luscious vegetation and even warm showers. It got dark soon after we arrived and I washed our clothes while Keryn got busy with her chores for the day. As we ate dinner there was the odd sound of thunder. Shortly after 10pm we had go get up out of our tent to get our washing in as the rain came down. Once the washing was re-hung it was back to the tent and off to sleep.