Experience in Tanzania: Two Maasai Men with Many Cattle, Sheep and Women

One morning, we started to Dar es Salaam from our demonstration centre. When we just arrived in Dakawa town, got on the main road, our car was stopped by a female traffic police officer. I asked my local driver what was the matter, the driver said it might be the issue that he had hit a small cattle of the Massai people on the way the day before yesterday. On that day, as we returned from Morogoro, a group of Massai cattle were on the road. At that time our driver drove the car too fast, did not brake in time, a calf was hit a bit. The Maasai people might have called the traffic police, our car was stopped by the police. Fortunately, an official from Morogoro Province Agricultural Bureau was sitting inside our car, and communicate with the traffic police for a long time. After the traffic police wrote down the driver’s license number, we were allowed to leave, but the driver was asked to go to the police the next day to clear the problem.

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The traffic policewoman who block out car was just the  same traffic police who deal the issue day of  hit cattle two days earlier. The driver thought she would give him sort of trouble, but the result was not the case. She stopped us and said that two Massai people wanted ask us a favor because their woman was having child birth in the Morogoro hospital and they would like to take our car to Morogoro. I said to they  no problem and just get into the car.

After they got inside our car and sat on seat behind me, I turn back and gave a glance at the two Massai men and found they dressed in bright Masai clothing.

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As I continuously looked back, I noticed that the two Massai people on the back seat have square faces, big ears and bare heads, looked like two fat monk.  One of them wore a thick gold bracelet on his wrist, the other one wore a thick gold ring on his finger, both gave you the impression of rich people. It was said the Maasai people who graze for the livelihood have money, such was really the case.

 

They sat in the car, if I did not speak with them, it seemed not right. So I began to speak with them in Swahili. Bit by bit, we got on the chat. Although I was not good enough to speak Kiswahili, I could manage to cope with this simple chat.

After chatting a while, I knew that the Masai man who just sat behind me was called Salu, his family had 50 acres  of grazing land, raising more than 200 cattle. The Niubi ( Chinese slang for unbelievable) thing  was  that his family actually had 10 wives, and all live together. Really like the  big Chinese family long time ago before the communist obtained the political power in China , a man had many wives and concubines,  with  the red lanterns hanging high in front of the room of the woman which the man would visited at night. His 10 wives gave birth to countless children for him, the number could reach up to soldiers’ number of an enhanced platoon. The Massai man sat next to him was called Simoka, he was more richer, with over 300 acres  of grazing land and over 500 head of cattle. Although having more property, Simoka but did not marry so many wives as Salu did, and he had only four wives, and each wife lived separately. I reckon, he had more money at home, with many houses which could afford his four wives to live separately. Of course, he also had many children.

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Masai is a polygamous nation, as long as he has enough money, a man can marry a number of women. In a previous article about Ngorongoro village, I have already mentioned of a Massai chief who has twenty-five wives. At the same time, I  have also mentioned  that a Masai woman’s value is calculated in cattle, to marry a woman, you need to use cattle for exchange. Generally speaking, to marry one girl, you need to give her family 15-20 head of cattle for exchange. There are also some case that when a Massai man fancies a Massai girl outside , he even will directly grab her home and has sex with her, when the  raw rice has been cooked into the  mature meal, the girl becomes his wife. This kind of things have been described in my  previous article titled ‘Tanzanian  Story: the Massai Men who Love  to Rob Woman’.

When we talked about theri life, they told me that they now dwelled in their fixed houses in Dakawa village, unlike some other Maasai people who used to move around.

The traditional Masai people is also a warrior, carrying weapons with him. Out of curiosity, I asked Salu behind me if he had the knife with him. He said yes he had and  revealed the knife to me at the waist. In addition to his knife outside his waist, there was a big headed short black rod.

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He firstly took his knife out from the scabbard, and then handed it to me and let me see and take photograph.

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I hold the knife in hand, it looked very sharp on both its edges.

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Then he gave me his big headed rod to let me take photo.

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In the 50 minutes from Dakawa to Morogoro, I had a long conversation with the two Msasai men. Usually, I always feel that the Massai people is very mysterious, very special. That day, I had the opportunity to sit in  the same car with the two Masai men, of course, l would like to chat to them and  understand them in more detail. Many people say that Massai is borne to be sturdy with a little brutality. In fact, as long as you do not violate them and through good communication, they will be very friendly.

Dakawa Township is also a little bit concentrated areas of Massai people. Salu told me that in the entire Dakawa village, there were more than 2,000 Massai people settled here.  No wonder that in the small town of Dakawa you can see flocks of Massai people. And around our agricultural demonstration centre, I could often hear the cry of grazing cattle and sheep of Msasai people.

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