We awoke at 5:45am for a very early morning game drive. On this game drive we saw a beautiful sunrise as we drove through the Maasai Mara and quite a few animals including: a large pack of hyena, eight or nine elephants, gazelles, zebras, topi, and a cheetah near the end of the drive. The cheetah was sitting perfectly still for a few minutes while it was stalking a heard of gazelles about a hundred yards away in the brush. Then the cheetah started moving slowly towards the herd and started running full speed into the brush where we lost sight of it and we do not know if it successfully caught a gazelle. After that eventful drive we returned to Fig Tree Camp for a delicious breakfast. The menu had Spanish potatoes, French toast, pancakes, sausage, and omelets. We were very thankful for the wonderful meal after our early drive and we were excited for the next part of our day.
Shortly after breakfast we went to visit a Maasai village that is on the edge of the Maasai Mara. We met the village chief and a few young men, whom would be our guides to the village and answer all our questions. We then walked roughly one kilometer to the village. Our guides were about twenty years old and they spoke English well, which I learned that they had studied at a university in Kenya to learn about more cultures and languages. Along the way we learned how the Maasai use different trees and plants, such as a tree that they use to clean their teeth. When we arrived at village the men and women came out and sang a song to welcome us. The song included a call and response and the men sang in low grunts that is special to the Maasai people. We then entered the village and the women sang two songs to us: one of welcoming to their village and the other was well-wishing for us and wishing for the women in our group to “bear many children”. The Maasai believe that having many children is a sign of wealth that will benefit the village in the future.
The shape of the village was a circle with all of the homes on the edges and space for the livestock in the middle of the village. The Maasai livestock mostly includes cattle, goats, and chickens. After the welcoming song from the women the men sang another song and then showed us how high they could jump. Jumping is very important for the men in the Maasai tribe because it is a sign of peak physical fitness. The man who jumps the highest is respected and may choose his girlfriend(s) and/or wives (this community practices polygamy) and he pays a discounted bridal price. Then we were shown how they make fire in the village using dry elephant dung as kindling and using a stick made from a sandpaper tree and a block of red cedar to catch the dung on fire using friction. Next, we were given a tour of a home in the village. The home was rectangular and made of wood and dry cow dung. It was very spacious compared to the homes in Komolion, with a main room for cooking and bed, a guestroom, a room for the children and a space for small animals during the night. After touring the home, we looked at their market that is connected to the village and they had some interesting souvenirs.
We finished by singing Injli and Baraka za Mungu for the Maasai people. Once we started singing in Swahili the people were surprised, which caused them to smile and join in dancing and singing with us. We then walked back to Fig Tree to enjoy some downtime. It was a blessing to join in with these people in song and dance and praise the Lord in a different language and with a different culture.
We later left for another game drive and although very tired at this point, we really enjoyed seeing some giraffes within arm’s reach of the safari vans and another pride of lions. We have been incredibly thankful to see such a beautiful part of God’s creation that is this wonderful game park.