The Masai are a very famous warrior tribe in Kenya whose lives center around herding cattle. They live in small settlements of 8-15 huts per kraal. Their settlements are surrounded by a thornbush fence as an added form of protection. The two-inch long thorns of the thornbush are as sharp as barbed wire and the men are responsible for tying branches together to form the fence. In the evening, the cattle, goats, and other domestic animals are brought inside the kraal for protection against wild animals.
The huts take seven months to build by the women of the village. They are built of branches, twigs, grass, and cow dung and urine formed into a plaster and applied to a branch frame. When the mixure dries in the sun it is as strong a cement and does not smell. Generally they cannot stand up inside and the only openings are that of the doorway and a small opening in the roof or wall which allows smoke from a continually smoldering fire inside to escape. The fire is used on which to cook and to keep the family warm during the rainy season. Dried cow dung is used as the fuel for the fir.Inside, the family sleeps on beds of woven branches cushioned with dry grasses and animal skins. In some huts, small animals are brought into the hut in the evening to help protect them from larger and more dangerous animals as well as the cold.They stay in an area close to the front door. The only evidence of western man in a Masai hut might be a iron cast fry pan, a tin drinking cup or a piece or two of western clothing.Masai women and girls have a variety of chores besides building the dung hut. They are expected to milk the cows and fetch water, however far that may be (perhaps 36 miles in some cases).They must pick calabashes or gourds from vines and clean the insides of the gourds as well as decorate them with leather and beads. Milk, blood, water, honey and cornmeal are stored inside the gourds. The Masai drink milk from the cow or goat every day and when they don’t have enough milk, they mix cow’s blood with the milk. In order to get the blood, men shoot an arrow in the jugular vein in the cow’s neck. The blood spills in a gourd and is stopped with a wad of dung and mud applied to the arrow hole. The Masai believe the blood makes them very strong.
Women also spend much time doing bead work. They decorate animal hides, gourds, and make beaded jewelry including arm and leg bracelets and amulets.
he image most people have of the Masai warrior is one of a tall and lean man clutching a spear in one hand with his red cloth wrapped around his waist or over his shoulders. The life of the traditional Masai revolves entirely around their cattle. They believe God entrusted his cattle to them; consequently, their wealth is measured by the number of cattle they have acquired.As the young Masai boys reach the age of 15, they have their coming-of- age ceremony. This ceremony initiates them into manhood. They make headdresses of ostrich plumes and eagle feathers, shave their heads, are circumcised and become Morani or young warriors. With others of the same age, they then color their skin red and braid their ocher colored hair intricately and set off together to learn survival techniques. Traditionally in order to pass into manhood, they were to hunt a lion with only a spear. However, the government of Kenya has made this practice illegal . The young Masai warriors live together in one boma or circle of huts until they have passed on to manhood (generally 5-7 years). Then they will marry (probably having a number of wives) and continually live together raising their families and tending their cattle. Basically people of like age live together in bomas. Therefore, the elderly will all be together, but will come to the younger bomas to help teach traditions and skills to their grandchildren. The elderly are responsible for organizing and leading the celebrations and ceremonies.