My Massai Family

9:22 AM

For the past three days I had the opportunity to go out to the Massai Land in Kenya.

It was one of the most profound experiences I've ever had. The Massai is one of the many tribes of Kenya, this one quite large and well known for their dress & traditions. I made the semi-long journey out to their land in the country. I stayed with the sweetest husband and wife along with their three children.

In their home, there is not running water or electricity. Many Massai live in homes made from mud and sticks but this families home was made from plywood and tin exterior. The fathers mother as well as sister and two brothers live in their own homes very close by. All of the homes are surrounded by a fence built with sticks and have spiky bushes pressed against the exterior to keep out wild animals. The kitchen is a small hut built next to the house because they cook on wood burning fires. The whole hut will fill with smoke while they cook in the dark but they're perfectly happy with it.

They drink tea with every single meal and I found it extremely kind that since I don't drink tea, the father walked to a market and purchased me hot chocolate. We had cabbage and chapati for almost very meal and I was perfectly okay with that. Their food was delicious!

The kids often ran around the area bare foot, stepping on thorns and casually picking them from their little toes. They build homes from mud with little paths leading to one another. They chased the chickens and cats. They helped (and taught me how to) milk the cows and goats. They played with bottle caps on the floor and made the chicken coup a play house. They played with little hot wheel cars for hours.

One of the days I got to attend a traditional Massai wedding. They dressed me up in the traditional clothing. A long colored skirt, a plaid dress over the top with a blanket shawl. Then I wore beautiful hand beaded necklaces with small metal pieces hanging from it so they jingled. Once I was all dressed and ready to go, we walked through the bush for approximately 4 miles one way. At the wedding, the women and men stayed separate. I watched women make beautiful beaded jewelry while they waited for the bride and groom to arrive. I had the chance to photograph the wedding and it was beautiful. By the end of the day I was beyond exhausted.

On my last day in the Massai, the grandmother sat on her porch all morning making me the most beautiful earrings. She doesn't speak any English but with the help of the kids translations, she told me that she loves me like her own child and that she is now my Massai mother. She gave me the earrings so I may never forget her and remember to come back and visit. She, along with the rest of the family have a large piece of my heart. They happiness never ending and their arms always open.

To my Massai family, I promise to never forget you and the things you have taught me in our short time together. I'll love you always.

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