On our second day in Enduimet Wildlife Management Area (WMA), we ate breakfast with the goats and packed up our campsites. We were headed to a local Maasai village, also known as a boma.
One of our guides knows a warrior, or moran, from this boma and he was welcoming the group of us into their home. It was a privilege, the entire experience. The wall of the boma is built out of acacia thorns. There are five families in this boma – but more than five huts because each wife has her own, and each man has multiple wives.
The people live on a ring in the outside of the boma. The most valuable assets – their livestock – live in the middle. The walls of acacia separate the humans from the animals. The huts around the edge of the main wall are for the families. The most valuable assets – their cattle – live in the middle.
There are four or five smaller pens that are off to each side in the second rung — this is where the goats or donkeys are kept, separated by family. The little kids (i.e. baby goats) were hanging out in the sun because they are too young to go out to pasture with the young Maasai herders. The gates of the boma are closed each evening by the women, filled with more thorns so that lions et. al. cannot enter.
The Maasai live a very traditional life. While we have many complex feelings about our presence in the boma and meeting them, there is no doubt that the time we spent there benefited them financially. But, at what cost?
I was welcomed into the home of the main leader of this boma. We stepped in – I was the farthest one inside – in their kitchen. There was a stool at the entryway, where only the man could sit. Men do not enter the kitchen side of the hut. After we purchased our trinkets and waved goodbye to the children and women of the boma (and our moran friend), I couldn’t help but wonder if this life is more choice or more forced?
What was I doing in Tanzania? This was my Social Sabbatical with my company, SAP Concur. Read my stories here.