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Journey To Masai Land
This story is available on DooG reporter Spotify channel (Italian)
Africa changes. It’s not banal to say that no other place in the world can offer so much, but only to those prepared to receive it. And yet it is so: in the colours of it’s wild nature, in the fragrance and aromas of it’s markets and in the warmth of it’s people especially outside the big cities.
I went to Africa for the first time in 2014, to visit the great parks of northern Tanzania..
However it was an unexpected event that offered me the greatest moment in the journey. Our driver, a friend of a village chief, suggested a visit to a tiny Masai village in the middle of the Ngorongoro Crater. Although it was a short visit, I was so deeply impressed, that I couldn’t even take a photo.
I was nearly going to take a photo when a little girl of about ten, came out one of the traditional mud huts (enkang), and stopped to look into the penombra, with a strange slightly astonished expression, a hand to her mouth, a perfect moment.. And yet I couldn’t capture that moment, I stayed staring at her until the village chief, who in the meantime had continued walking and explaining, noticed I was behind and called me, beckoning to follow him.
That was the moment I decided to go back there.
I can still remember my thoughts, getting back to the jeep, "I will return here".
I had the will to tell this people’s story, but from the inside, living the savannah in those huts. I wanted to know their everyday life.
Once returned in my country, I decided to looking for a suitable place, even though I couldn’t imagine why a Masai village would want to accept the presence of a mzungu (European, white), a photographer, too. After much research, I discover an interview by a traveller from Costarica, Catarina Jimenez, an incredible women very close to a Masai community (she was blessed by the Masai and called Nemeyan). Catarina gained respect and trust contributing to the construction of the village school. I contacted her immediately.
She was enthusiastic about my project and offered me her help to introduce me the next time she would visit the Masai village in Kenya..
So, by logistical organization, delays and other problems, in May 2016 I finally took that airplane, destination: the Masai community of Rombo Manyatta, Kenya.
I stayed in their village for two weeks, a guest of one of the mama of the village in a tiny mud hut.
I was so much lucky and grateful to have made this experience; being able to observe everyday life, I noticed the changes in act. The Masai are fascinated by everything is modern, some have a small motorbike and a cellphone (even if there is no electricity in the village), they love chewing gum and the young no longer wear traditional clothes. A slow decline of their traditional way of life is taking place. Masai are an antique population which still struggles to keep out the rest of the word, trying to keep their traditions and lifestyle.
Africa and the Masai have left me with a scar. I’ve discovered that something was missing in me, but I didn’t know this existed before. But once I realized this,I wondered, how I had never noticed it.
This lacuna originated and resolved in the hidden Masai village of Rombo Manyatta.
Their great incredible wealth was their humaneness, and the Masai should keep it like a treasure. When modern life reaches them, when everyone has a motorcycle and a cellphone and the infrastructures makes their life easier, will they still be able to teach us, how to be human?
Original raw record taken in the evening, when the children gathered around the bonfires and sang traditional chants.
Last evening in the manyatta. Raw record.
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