One of the highlights in my trip to Kenya was the chance to be in the presence of a completely different culture, and this was especially true when we visited a small remote Masai village after the Safari. Here, we each got to visit a house they made from scratch, in a village where there is no access to electricity, animals are still largely used as currency, etc.
When we got to the village, the men performed a welcome dance/song for our group where at the end each try to jump as high as they possible can. They explained that men who jump the highest usually pay less for school fees/to marry/etc., and we got to perform this with them at the end (I will be paying high fees for sure…).
They explained how the village functions, where the local school is and that all villages nearby attend the same school where the children get to learn. We visited the small houses filled with only the living essentials for them (a small kitchen with a hole in the centre where they’d light up the fire to cook, a tiny window for ventilation, and two or three bed-sized bedrooms where they’d sleep (attached to the kitchen). I was told they had to move villages every 9 years or so, due to termites weakening their homes.
All-in-all, it was the first town we visited where it really seemed like we were visiting a village from the past that’s fully aware of the future, a whole new world where inhabitants are aware of technologies and how they work, but choose to live away from these and focus on their communities only.
After showing us around the town, having quick conversations with them about their lifestyle, and looking at their houses, we were shown local artefacts to purchase – which we did to support the local communities and to have something from somewhere “lost” in the middle of Kenya.
At first, I was apprehensive about interacting with people so far out of my comfort zone, people who have completely different lifestyles and who I don’t know how to interact with, as we have nothing in common, as well as a language barrier. It turns out, however, that having a mutual interest in each other’s cultures is something in common, and I got to learn more about their way of thinking than I thought possible, making this a very worthwhile visit.
During the Safari, we stayed at a local camping site which was also fascinating. More on that coming soon!