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To learn about the Maasai culture is one thing… but why not be a part of it! This is your chance to learn from the experience of being and doing. You can see the Maasai way of life up close and participate in the many activities that are typical of their daily life.
During this Maasai Village Homestay, you will be welcomed to stay within their village, learn about their culture, and participate in their daily tasks. Tasks are always divided, with men usually taking care of and/or selling the tribe’s cattle, while women will take part in milking, cooking, finding firewood and taking care of babies and even constructing the houses in the boma. You will find that there will be plenty of opportunities to explore Maasai culture more, in the way of interaction, and communication, as well as, exchanges of ideas and experiences. You will even have a chance to learn beadwork with the women in the village or how to make Maasai sandals from the men or to teach the village children some basic English and/or teach/play sports with them.
The Maasai are a proud people, who do their best to preserve their unique culture, and yes, different tribes in Africa can have very distinct characteristics and customs! They are quite possibly one of the most emblematic tribes of East Africa. With a Nilotic ethnic background, they live in the northern Tanzanian and southern Kenya regions. The Maasai are known for their nomadic lifestyle (although, since the ’90s, the Tanzanian government passed a bill in which they were forced to settle in a single place), their colorful dress code, their beaded jewelry, and awe-inspiring traditions.
The Maasai people have a very traditional way of living, with most relatives all living in the same family compound, which is traditionally known as a boma. They were nomadic people, as traditionally Maasai would move with their cattle from one grazing place to another. Today, these animals are still how they earn their income. Through the sale of their cattle and cattle products, they would make just enough money to survive and move on. Interestingly, the NGO, Oxfam, claims that the lifestyle of the Maasai should be embraced as a response to climate change because of their ability to farm in deserts and scrublands.
Maasai culture can seem very different to Westerners. For example, men can be married to several women depending on how rich the man is, this status usually dependent on how many cattle he owns! There are actually financial reasons for a Maasai family to have many wives, as a larger family allows more hands to take care of their cattle, cows, goats, sheep, and donkeys.
Due to the remote location of this program and limited local transportation, Participants may need to stay the first night in Monduli and travel the next morning to the village. Additionally, placement is in a Maasai village in Arusha, but to increase immersion you may get spread across various villages.
Volunteer experiences have a direct and positive impact on local communities by injecting money into the local economy through the purchase of food, transportation, and tourism activities. Volunteering is a great way to give back to the comunity and make a difference in the world. Depending on the type of volunteer experience you are interested in, your time can be spent improving educational resources and opportunities, providing medical services to underserved communities, or promoting environmental conservation and sustainable farming techniques.
We will meet you at JRO (Kilimanjaro International Airport) or ZNZ (Abeid Amani Karume International Airport) in one of these time slots:
We will start the day with an introduction to the village, as well as Maasai culture. In the morning, you will be taught useful phrases in Maasai language, that you will be able to use throughout the week. Moreover, you will get to learn about the lifestyle of the Maasai people through an introduction to their cultural rules, the dos and don’ts, etc.
After lunch, we will take a trek through the wilderness that surrounds the village. During this hike, you will be able to see Tanzania’s nature at its best. Visit a local caldera and enjoy the view.
The Maasai are a tribe well known for their herding traditions. Today, it will be all about grazing the livestock! You will join a Maasai warrior on his grazing activities through the bush - be prepared for several hours of walking!
During the dry season (June to October), this activity involves even more work: the nearest river to the village gets completely dried up, so the villagers are forced to walk further or dig holes in order to get to the water that is underground so their livestock can drink - don’t be surprised if you are invited to participate!
In the morning hours, we will join the women of a boma in their traditional activities, you can expect to participate in activities such as milking cows, walking to the river with donkeys to fetch water, etc.
After lunch, we will join an exciting workshop in which you will be taught how to make gorgeous beaded Maasai jewelry - the kind that has made the Maasai such an emblematic and colorful tribe.
We will end the day with a cooking class lead by one of our hosts. This will be your dinner, so pay close attention!
We will take a hike through the African wilderness once again! After a few hours of adventurous roaming, we will enjoy a picnic with a view of the valley.
In the evening, we will set up a bonfire where you will get the chance to hear legendary tales about the Maasai and other stories from the village.
Please keep in mind that in the village things are done on an as-needed basis. This is just an example of what your week might look like during your homestay, but activities may change depending on weather, community needs, ceremonies or other circumstances. Your flexibility and ability to adapt to changes in your new surroundings well will be of great benefit during this amazing experience.
Meals are inspired by the local cuisine and consist of a lot of corn, rice, potatoes, and bananas. Beef, goat meat, beans, and a few green leafy vegetables will help to add nutrients to your daily meals as well. There are no shops within walking distance, so if you are a picky eater or feel that you may not be amenable to the local style meals, please feel free to bring supplemental food items with you from Monduli or Arusha, with the understanding that there is no refrigeration available.
Expect a very ‘back to nature’ approach during your stay here! You will live as a visitor in a homestay residence which may include the traditional house made from wood, sticks, cow dung and clay-soil. The Maasai generally live without electricity, and though some houses have recently acquired solar cells, you should not expect it. There is no running tap water and no western toilets. You can expect squatting toilets will be available and the occasional showering is done by using a bucket. All participants are expected to be environmentally aware and to use all resources with extreme restraint, especially water, paper, and electricity. This accommodation is in a Maasai village in Arusha, but to increase immersion you may get spread across various villages.