The Masaai Home

The Masaai Home

Traditionally, Masaai live in makeshift shelters known as manyattas. This is where the family cooks, eats, sleeps, socializes and stores food, fuel and other household possessions. The shelter was originally designed for people on the move as the community is made up of nomadic pastoralists. Though times have changed, and they have been forced to embrace other forms of livelihood such as farming, the enkaji still remains as there shelter. This is built by women using locally available materials and cow dung for waterproofing. The structural framework is formed of timber poles fixed directly into the ground and interwoven with a lattice of smaller branches, which is then plastered with a mix of mud, sticks, grass, cow dung and human urine, and ash.

In a typical Masai home, you will find the woman doing most of the work. This includes cultivating, milking, cooking cleaning and looking after the young children. Its very common to find a Masaai woman milking a cow with a baby strapped on her back while the men sit a distance away just chatting. The girl child follows after its mother’s footsteps and learns to do these chores from an early age. The boy on the other hand spends most of the time playing and herding calves and lambs.

The Masaai traditional diet consists of milk, meat and cow’s blood. Today, most of them have left there roots and will hardly be found taking blood from the cows unless in a very important ritual. Since they have embraced other forms of livelihood, there diet has changed too. They take solid or liquid porridge made from maize flour. The solid porridge is known as ugali.

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