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Tanzania Part I - Mt. Kilimanjaro Day and the Maasai Tribe

AFRICA, what a beautiful word. Every year, I make it a point to go to a different country. On my last trip in 2019, I had an amazing time in Tanzania.

I did an Mt. Kilimanjaro Day Tour that was a 45-minute hike. The Materuni Falls breathtaking and is about 90 meters high, with a pool at the bottom of the waterfall. The water was too cold to swim. The sounds of the waterfall was thundering and relaxing. I wanted to lay on the grass, close my eyes and go into a calm and soothing nap.

I was not physically fit to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro Upgrade to the Marangu gate. My roommate, Rosalyn, did the upgrade. The route was 6.5 hours and an estimated 43 miles. My roomie didn't get home till around midnight. She was tired and extremely sore. **HUGS**

I was able to see a glimpse of the iconic Mt. Kilimanjaro snow-capped mountain. The snow caps are slowly diminishing, having lost an estimated 80% of their mass since 1912. The mountain may be ice-free in a couple of decades. Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain on the African continent at 19,341 feet.

One of my excursions was going to the Maasai tribe to learn about their culture. Its estimated 450,000 Maasai people live in the rural plains of Tanzania. The government has worked to develop anthropological and social programs to protect their traditional way of life.

The male elder makes the decisions of the Maasai village. The success of the man is based on the number of cattle and children he has. If a man has a few cattle and many children, he is considered poor. Young boys go out to the pastures to watch over the herd of cows.

Women and girls maintain the household. The women also build the huts, also called boma. Each wife has their own hut that is an oval or circular shape. Timber poles are dug into the ground and used as the frame of the hut with mixtures of mud, water, cow dung, and human urine. The roof of the hut is made with sticks, grass, and cow dung to lay on top of the bomba. The average size of each boma is 3x5 meters and around 1.5 meters tall.

Clothing worn by the Maasai is based on gender and age that is fabric wrapped around the body is called Shúkà. For several months, young men wear the color black after their circumcision rite of passage from childhood to adulthood to become a warrior.

Adult men usually wear red cloth representing protection against wild animals, strength, unity, and blood. Other colors such as blue, black, striped, patterned, and checkered cloth are worn with multi-colored African garments. A Maasian was nice enough to give me his red and black checkered cloth.

A Maasai custom is tooth removal to create a gap. The bottom teeth in the center are removed in early childhood in the event of tetanus or disease locking the jaw.

Tribal scars on the cheek indicate which tribe a person belongs to.

The women do Maasai beading. The beadwork symbolizes a woman's status in the Masaai tribe and their skill as an artisan.

The colors of the beads have different means:

Red - blood, bravery, and unity

White - health, peace, and purity

Blue - energy

Green - land, and production

Yellow - growth or energy, hospitality

Orange -warmth and friendship hospitality

Black - Unity of the Maasai people and adversity

Masaai women getting married wear elaborate and several beaded neckpieces the day of the wedding. After she is married, she wears a long necklace with blue beads. Unmarried women wear a large beaded disc around their necks. Women of a higher status wear a lot of colorful beads.

I was able to see the Maasai tribe dance. The Maasai warriors form in a circle and take turns jumping in the center as high as they can. The dance is called Adamu and is part of the Eunoto ceremony, where boys transition to men. They use their voices as instruments while jumping. It looks easy jumping, but once you try it, it's difficult to jump high.

The Maasai women dance as well. I joined in dancing with the women, but I had no idea what I was doing, lol.

My favorite part of visiting the Maasai tribe was giving back. I had a large suitcase of school supplies to give to the children. The parties in my group also donated books, clothes, soccer balls, etc., to give to the children. They were very appreciative. It absolutely made my day.

I had an amazing time visiting the Maasai tribe. Everyone was nice, answered our question about their culture, and were appreciative of the items they received from African American Travelers.

Stay tuned for Tanzania Part II!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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