LIFE OF A MAASAI WARRIOR
Updated: Jan 11
Kenya’s Maasai tribe has become an icon for the richness and diversity of our country’s culture, a people whose traditions, beliefs and routines have changed little since the dawn of our history.
We keep our pride and tradition as the world around us evolves. Not much has changed since decades, which makes us strong.
We are semi-nomadic: our livestock is our livelihood. Our whole society revolves around our cows, sheep and goats, as it did for our forefathers.
Warriors play an important role in our society. We protect our families from outsiders, take care of the cattle. We sometimes have to leave our homes for months to graze the stock in greener areas of Kenya. We have to be fierce and strong, as we may occur to many dangers in the wild. Women and children in our society take care of the sheep and goat, as they are more resilient to droughts. They milk the animals, cook and take care of the family. Elders are well respected in the Maasai culture. They are negotiators and the peace keepers with neighbour clans.
Being a warrior is exciting and fun, it has many privileges but also many duties. Many of us look at those times as the best in our lives- though by no means the easiest. To become warriors we have to demonstrate our bravery: we have to overcome circumcision in front of the whole community, without flinching or giving any other sign that we are in pain. We have to prove commitment to protecting our family.
After circumcision we have a month of time to heal and go rouge. We are all dressed in black. Every homestead we visit (called a Manyata) is welcoming, they slaughter a sheep and prepare a meal to honor us. During this month we chase women, giving out rings. In our culture the more women we marry the wealthier and luckier we are.
Once the healing period is over, we become effectively warriors. We have strict rules to follow: we can’t eat meat at home, instead we have to go out in the bush and slaughter an animal with other warriors. this is to prevent us eating the meat for the rest of the family. We cannot eat or drink alone, only with at least one other warrior- so that even the poorest warriors can be well fed and help during battles or fights; we cannot drink alcohol or take any drug- we need to be at all times alert.
After 15-20 years, we become junior elders. We spend our days resting and going to the many ceremonies that happen in the community- circumcisions, weddings, graduations. We dance and sing, and jump of course. We become wiser by day and teach the next generation of warriors the duties.
We love to share our stories from exiting times of warrior training to the guests of the camp. Story time evenings over the campfire, after dinner is where we get creative with our memories. Inspire others with crazy moments of our lives.