Monday, September 24, 2007
More Maasai Health
Our Maasai visitors have left and we feel an emptiness in our home. They were so loving and warm and touch is a huge part of their culture. We really feel blessed to have experienced these wonderful, musical people from Kenya and we hope to visit them there when we can.
The Maasai's are a tribe of 350,000 found in Kenya and Tanzania. They are semi nomadic cattle herders and warriors who now live on the driest and least fertile areas because of less and less available land. Polygamous, the men can have as many wives as they can afford. Each wife has her own hut made of grass, mud and cattle dung and she and the children care for her own herds of cattle.
Girls are circumcised at about age 13 and married at puberty to an older male. Young men are circumcised in a ceremonial ritual at age 18 and they reenter society as men. They are not eligible for marriage, however, until they are 28-35 years old. It is a male dominated society and women do most of the work.
The Maasai healer is called a laibon and is known for his herbal remedies and rituals that absolve social and moral transgressions. Access to western health care is rarely available or affordable for the Maasai.
The Maasai have a rich culture and history and have managed to preserve it despite the encroachment on the land. Spending time with them actually brought a quiet peace into the home and they were the most gracious and thankful guests. They have a philosophy that we could all benefit from that is not to put off saying something or hugging someone because you don't know if tomorrow will come. They truly seem to live in the moment and "do it now" is not just a saying but a way of life.
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Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 9:11 PM