The dark sky illuminates as the sun rises. The soft glow quickly becomes harsh sun rays, forcing our sensitive eyes to find protection behind sunglasses or the shade. We are in Musa's boma, a short jaunt from the town of Monduli-juu.
We have spent a significant portion of our program camping in bomas, but our last stay provided interactions among local Maasai via dancing, singing, asking questions, and playing with children.
One evening after dinner, warriors, women, children and elders made their way to Luther House--a building where all of our meals were cooked and consumed--for traditional Maasai dancing. Everyone gathered in a tight circle and the men and women started singing, which sounded similar to a call and response song. The sound we created felt like it could've been heard across all Maasailand--it was so loud. The men were in constant motion, bouncing up and down. One by one they would enter the middle of the circle by jumping and dance their way through to the other side. Women would also dance, but were a little more calm about it. Some of the Luther students were given beaded jewelry to wear for the night and the jingling of the beads added to the celebration. Our ridiculous attempts at Maasai dancing created wide grins on the faces of those watching. As the evening progressed we, Americans, became more familiar with the movements and lyrics we were able to participate more and more.
Many Maasai continue to balance traditional practices with new ideas and technology. More and more people are migrating toward cities to find jobs to earn an income for their families. I only hope that their stories through song and dance won't disappear from their lives. It would be a loss for all of us if the Maasai were to lose these beautiful and unique traditions because of a globalizing world.