Arriving at the boma of one of our cultural guides in Soit Sambu was quite the contrast to mBarangati. We could not believe how green and cool it was! So far, Tanzania's natural beauty has amazed us. However, the warm welcome we've received has amazed us even more than the various landscapes.
In Soit Sambu, Killing'ot's nuclear and extended family shook our hands and smiled from ear to ear as we attempted to greet them in Maa, the Maasai language. Learning from Killing'ot about the way he grew up herding cattle and seeing some of his favorite childhood places were highlights for many of us. After visiting mBarangati and Soit Sambu, we have begun to wrestle with the question: Does education mean an end to Maasai culture?
Throughout our journey thus far, educated Maasai have stated that pastoralism is decreasing. Because pastoralism is no longer economically feasible and Westernization is increasing, education is usually seen as the best and only option. Generally, educated Maasai do not choose to herd cattle as it is currently less profitable than other options. In this way, much of our class has argued that increased education leads to decreased herding.
This prompts the question: Will Maasai culture exist without the practice of herding? We are still learning and discussing, hoping to more fully understand how Maasai culture is affected by education and conservation.
We can't believe we are halfway through our safari! Until next time!