A Tanzanian Massage
The roads of Tanzania are rough and rugged.The guides joked that it was a Tanzanian massage. Due to these conditions, traveling takes twice as long as it should. A great portion of our trip thus far has been spent in the car. We left Mbarangati and embarked on a 6 hour journey to the Maasai Giraffe campsite where we stayed for a night before getting back in the cars and heading to Killing’ot’s boma in Loliondo.
We stayed two nights in Loliondo and were able to engage in conversations with the elders of this boma about the recent conflicts that have occurred. Loliondo is a Game Controlled Area and was leased to the Ortello Business Corportation (OBC) in 1992 by the Tanzanian government to be used as private hunting grounds for the royal family of Dubai. In 2009 the OBC paid the Tanzanian police to forcefully evict the Maasai from this land, the Maasai received no warning. Their huts and livestock kraals were burned and the women were beat. Killing’ot referred to this event as a psychological assassination of the Maasai. They were psychologically defeated and unable to fight back. The tension between the Maasai and the government is great and there is continued fear by the elders that more land will be taken in the future. Learning of this great conflict and continued disrespect for the Maasai was disheartening and frustrating. The rights of the Maasai are not fairly represented and are easily compromised by a corrupt government.
Our time in Loliondo was filled with many lessons about the Maasai culture. We toured the inside of their huts and learned about how it is constructed. The structure of the bomas in Loliondo was different from the ones in both Mbarangati and Eluwai, the last village we visited. In Mbarangati, the circular, thatched roof huts were arranged in a circular manner and were surrounded by a large kraal fashioned from tree branches. Inside the large kraal there were smaller kraals for the cows, sheep, and goats. In Loliondo, the huts were rectangular with flat roofs and were positioned at the outside of the livestock kraals. Inside the hut there was a small, open fireplace, two beds made from cowhides on opposite sides of the hut, and a small enclosure for the baby sheep and goats. The inside was very dark and smoky, but also very cozy. It was a very interesting opportunity to see how the Maasai live.