Saturday, 20 August 2016

Mama James

In the Maasai culture, women are known by the name of their oldest child, or oldest child at home. So I was introduced as Mama Carmen, and when we walked home after school with Teacher James we met Mama James.

That day at noon we drove in to town and bought hostess gifts of sugar and tea. So glad we had Merry to guide us through the manners of the visit. We had a discussion ahead of time about us not drinking tea ourselves and Merry smoothed things out to bring our own hot chocolate.

We walked with several families that live near Teacher James

Beautiful babies

Beautiful mommies

We had about a 30-40 minute walk and along the way we saw zebras grazing with the sheep and goats.

Like all the other families, Mama James lives in a manyatta - a home built from sticks and animal dung. I knew I would see some primitive homes before I came, but I didn't understand that actually all the families live in primitive homes. 

They cook over a fire in the middle of the manyatta and the home has one small window to vent the smoke. 

On the border of the room there are little raised cubbies which can serve as seating, but actually these are the beds

Shukas over animal hide over raised ground.

There are also 2 other cubbies that are gated for the baby goats, lambs, and calves to sleep at night safe from predators. The women build the houses and they last 10-15 years until they need to build a new home. Mama James is a skilled manyatta builder.

Mama James was a gracious hostess

 and Carmen thanked her for opening her home (through interpreter). 

Following our visit several of the male teachers walked us safely back to the school.

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