Masai Mara vs Samburu

Hey guys, the last post I talked about how I was in Africa for vacation and while I was here I visited two different tribes in the African countryside. One was called the Mara tribe and the other was called the Samburu. Both tribes were participating in a Manyata while we observed their culture and traditions.  Though both tribes are still immersed in some old fashioned activities, one of the tribes has worked hard to become more modern and conscious of their impact on the younger generation. Both tribes take part in Trials of Bravery which determines if the man or woman is strong enough to become a warrior or a young bride.

The Samburu tribes Trials are far more gruesome than that of the Mara for the men. The first trial is to make small cuts all over the body to show strength. The next is to grab a needle from the White Thorn Accia, a sharp tree in Africa, and stick it through their ear every day to largen the hole. The third task is to rip out the two front bottom teeth with a knife. And the final show of strength is to become circumcised at the age of 15. All the trials are done without painkillers and every member we asked said that while it is painful, no one passes out, complains, or refuses. The women in the Samburu tribe are also circumcised at the tender age of 12 and this prepares them to be married off soon after. The men buy their brides for 10 cows and can have as many wives as they please as long as they can pay for it. The young girls are meant to look terrified we were told and have no say in who they marry. A man who showed us around is one of 25 children.

However, on the other side of the spectrum, the Mara tribe understands that times are changing and that they must change with them. The tribe still circumcises men, but they do not go through the same Trials of Bravery and they no longer circumcise their women. The tribe allows women and men to marry outside of the tribe and no man is allowed to marry a girl younger than 15. Children are allowed to leave and be educated. The Mara realizes that if they want to adapt they must start with the children and the first step is getting them properly educated.

I am in no way trying to disrespect either tribe and I understand that though I do not understand their culture they do not understand mine. They look at my family and me and wonder why we do not act or dress like them. I am only trying to explain and make more people aware of the situations in Africa and that things are changing slowly but surely.

See you next time,

Alex