Thursday, December 17, 2009

Africa Trip Conts - Nov. 11th, 2009 page 2


The Maasai/Masai are an inigenous African ethnic group of semi-nomadic people located in Kenya and northern Tanzania. They are educated in Kiswahei and English. Most people called it Swahili, but the language is actually Kiswalhili. The Maasai population has been variously estimated at approacing 900,000. The Census with Estimates of the Maasai populations in both countries are complicated by the remote locations of many villages, and their semi-nomadic nature.

Although the Tanzania and Kenyan governments have instituted programs to encourage the Maasai to abandon their traditional semi-nomadic lifestyle, the people have continued their age-old customs. Some institutions claim that the lifestyle of the Maasai should be embraced as a response to climate change because of their ability to farm in deserts and scrublands. I didn’t see any Maasai farms. They told us they only eat meat and drink cows blood mixed with cows milk. I hope they drink some water too!

The Maasai is the most known Kenyan tribe outside Kenya especially for the tourists. They also have a presence around the Ngorongoro Crater of Tanzania for over 150 years. They are the main residents of that area. Their lives revolve around herding cattle. They believe in the rain god Ngai and that all the cattle was entrusted to the Maasi people when the earth and sky split and wealth is measured in number of cattle. They are a warrior tribe and since all the cattle was given to them they think it is OK to steal cattle from other tribes.

Our game drive was at 10:30 a.m. right after we ate a bit more breakfast. Amboseli is in a severe drought.. I was apprehensive to leave the beautiful surroundings to go out to the wastelands, but this was Africa! So I prepared myself for seeing more dead animals. We saw a hippo walking alone on the barren brown plain. I imagine he was in search for water. We saw some Jackels and a lot of Baboons, and vultures. There was a lion that stopped and sat right by our van. He looked exhausted and very thirsty. It was very sad and if they allowed me I would have given him my water in my hat. I was heartsick and sorry that I went on this safari, and swore I would not go back on the 4 drive. Most of the animals we saw were in search of water. I was having another bout with feeling home sick!

It amazed me that outside the walls of the beautiful Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge there was so much death and suffering due to a three year drought. All afternoon rain clouds hovered over this God forsaken land, but no rain came. Life here for the Maasai and the animals is very tough to say the least. I prayed for rain the moment I saw the first dead carcus. MORE TO FOLLOW…

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