Thirdeyemom

The Face of the Maasai

Last July, I spent two days with a Maasai community at The Mkuru Training Camp in Uwiro Village, about a three-hour drive away from Moshi. The Mkuru Training Camp is located at the foothills of Mount Meru, just outside Arusha National Park, within one of the most important biodiversity areas of Tanzania: the Maasai Steppe.

My visit still remains one of the most spectacular cultural experiences of my life. I was literally the only guest there and had the thrill of doing a four-hour tour on foot with one of the Maasai warriors and a taking a one-on-one beading class with his mother. Despite modernization and the threat to their way of life, the Maasai still continue to live the way they have for centuries. Their beautiful dress and faces are unforgettable.

Here are a few of my favorites.

Mkuru Maasai Training Camp

Jacobo’s mother

Mkuru Maasai Training Camp

Jacobo’s dad

Mkuru Training Camp Arusha Tanzania

Jacobo on left with his four brothers who have just been circumcized and wear black until they are ready to become moranis.

P1090004-1Mkuru Maasai Training Camp

Mkuru Maasai Training Camp

This post was inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Face.

34 comments

  1. Pingback: Face (in Flowers) | What's (in) the picture?

  2. Hi Nicole, you’ve had some truly remarkable travel experiences. The beautiful faces on these gentle people are priceless. A wonderful post for this weeks theme.

    • Thanks! I do know how they make their earlobes enlarged! As a young girl, they start by making a small hole like the size for an earring and as time goes by they put in small sticks and then bigger sticks until the hike gets big enough to put in the heavy jewelry you see her wearing in the picture. The weight of the earring pulls down and stretches the earlobe until it is very big! Fascinating isn’t it.

  3. I seriously considered one or more of the beautiful Maasai faces I have in my photo archives for the challenge, but I’d done a whole Faces of Tanzania post before. Their faces show their keen intelligence, gentleness, difficult lives under the sun, joy, inner peace, and so much more. Thanks for sharing the faces of the Maasai people you met!

  4. What a beautiful glimpse into this culture. I love the photo of Jacobo’s mum – what a strong handsome woman. I hope we get there one day.
    Alison

    • Thanks Alison! Yes she was pretty amazing. It was super cool to also get my one-on-one Maasai jewelry making class. I love Africa. Hope you get there too!

  5. Your photographs are quite beautiful and really do capture the spirit of the Masaai people.

    I have no idea when we will get to see and experience Africa, as of now we are so in love with Asia. But, being that I am South African I have always wanted to go to other parts of Africa and Tanzania in particular – it is at the head of my list of countries to visit.

    It was very timely to see and enjoy your post as we so recently were talking about when we might be able to get there …?!

    Is there a reason where you stayed was called a “training camp”?

    I love the last photo of the little boy smiling in the doorway. Terrific!

    Peta

    • Wow, I had no idea you were South African Peta! I LOVE South Africa. Do you miss it? I can only imagine how amazing Asia is. I’ve only been to China, Japan, and then India and Nepal which is somewhat near. I figure with how far it is to fly and how much there is to see, that I will have to do it when my kids are older. I want to see it all!!! As for the “Training Camp” it is because the organization that I went to see is actually an Italian non-profit organization that established a training camp near the existing Maasai community to help train them on sustainable agriculture, economic empowerment and more. It is not one of those touristy visit the Maasai operations but actually a “camp” or “center” that works with the local community to help them sustain their heritage and culture and also achieve. Really amazing.

  6. Wow. What an amazing place to visit. Great photos and what a wonderful thing to do. We spent three months in North West Africa when we were first married. I need to come back and read the other post later.

  7. We went through Algeria, Niger, Mali, briefly through Senegal to get into Gambia. A lot of sand, I haven’t written about it. I may depending on if I can make some of the slides into digital files.

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