Jeff Smith 12:30 p.m., April 23
- Community Blog
- From 4220 feet:
Africanized Like a Bee
A tribal mindset. That's what we're missing. We completely forgot how it all started. Next to the wide open plains of the Serengeti in an area called the Masai Mara, I remembered.
This land is home to the Masaai tribe. No one gets left behind in these societies. Every person is aligned with a job, a purpose and a lifetime of provisions for the effort. What takes some of us forever to find, a solid place in society, is assigned them at birth.
Villages have no penal system. When someone "forgets" who they are and steals, for example, he is told to sit on a bench just outside the safety of the village gates until he "remembers" who he is. During his time on the bench, tribe members are aware of his struggle and go to tell him a story from the past which shows him in a better light. He listens to stories until he comes back to his senses and rejoins the village and shares its safety and resources.
When I walked into their village for the first time, one child ran up to me, looked and dashed off. Within minutes, fifty kids surrounded me. Through a translator, they said I was the biggest white woman they had ever seen. For a few, I was the first white female these kids had been exposed to and they were very curious. I knelt and they rubbed at my skin to see if I was painted.
The chief appeared and asked what my intentions were. I asked to see the school. He said, "no school here." For a donation of 7 cents, I was allowed to see inside one of their huts and it was mud with a small, smoke hole in the ceiling. Kids on both sides. Children slept on one side on an elevated platform and baby goats on the other side in an enclosed pen.
Masaai women were decorating a bride the first day I was there and it was a charming ceremony where an incoming tribe member is welcomed with a wedding outfit made of beautifully, dyed wraps and ornate neck, arm and body wear. Incredible vibrant colors were draped all over this woman as she stood in the center of the village.
The hunters invited me to walk with them. Their 'claim to fame' is that they can walk among the animals without being noticed. They are also great hunters. They say the animals consider them one of them which is an honor to the Masaai.
The older children asked if I would please stay and teach them. I was offered my own hut and a warning before any stampede. This seems to have been an issue before. They also said no more shots would be allowed. Someone tried to come immunize the tribe (polio and TB are still here) and it made them all sick (duh) and they thought they were injected with evil spirits. So I agreed, I would bring no injections if I ever came back.
Kenya holds the Masaai tribe in its heartland and it is still alive, vibrant and standing as a living example of how to live in peace on earth with earth. SLD