6 things Americans could learn from Kenyans


1. How to respect our elders.

We describe elderly people as senior citizens, but Kenyans call on their elders as shikamoo — meaning high authority and respect — whenever they greet them. Literally translated, this means: ‘I hold your feet.” It’s a very powerful image.

Elders in Kenya have major influence within their communities. They’re not only admired, but they hold the final say in major decisions within tribes, they solve family conflicts and urge political rulings. An elder’s wisdom is respected and highly treasured, and they’re cared for by their families well into their passing. Back home in the States, we may have subsidized housing, Medicare and Social Security, but many of our elderly are homeless or still just barely scraping by. We need to be more tolerant of our elders, keeping them a part of our lives and calling on them for insight and wisdom.

2. How to say ‘Hello’ and actually mean it.

Americans will say: ‘Um, yah, can you get me those TPS reports by this afternoon?’ Without so much as an acknowledgment of the person in front of them or a ‘Good morning.’ Kenyans are shocked if you don’t first ask: Umeamkaje? (‘How did you wake?’) Along with a: Habari ya asubuhi (‘How are you this morning?’) And then they’ll ask about your wife, children, cows, goats…. In Kenya, I learned that an effortless ‘habari‘ before jumping into the daily affairs of my day didn’t just make me polite, it created a positive impact.

3. How to raise a child with the help of a community.

Can we just go back to the era when American kids came home when the streetlights turned on? Back then, the neighborhoods were filled with kids running around and the parents just looked after the ones who happened to be playing around their yard that evening. That was when American had a sense of community.

Kenya has never gone without that sense of community. Children are raised by the many hands of their communities — whether they be in a village, city or boma (Maasai enclosure). Cousins are like sisters and brothers and neighbors are like their aunts and uncles. This generosity that Kenyans seem to be brought up with must follow them through to adulthood. The people who I grew to know while living in Kenya taught me so much about communicating and being resourceful with the help of my neighbors, community members or even strangers.

4. How to create positive change with cell phone technology.

There may be as many banks in the States as there are McDonalds, but that’s not the case in Kenya. In fact, a majority of Kenyans don’t even have a bank account. When you see a Kenyan teenager looking down at his cell phone he’s probably not posting on Facebook but on something called M-PESA instead. Safaricom, the country’s largest provider of cell phone coverage, found a way to solve the problem of bankless banking by allowing Kenyans in the most rural of areas the opportunity to transfer money via ‘text’ (M-PESA) to their family members.

This new system is making a huge difference in some of the poorest communities in Kenya. For instance, many solar panel systems have been funded through M-PESA, allowing families to replace their dangerous, toxic and very expensive kerosene lamps. While we’re using our phones on a daily basis to stay connected with our latest Twitter feed, Kenyans are using this technology to create progress in their communities and take care of their friends and family.

5. How to wear whatever the hell you want because it’s comfortable.

In America, we have so many rules for what masculinity should mean when it comes to dress. It seems as if women and men aren’t allowed to wear or enjoy the same things. But in Kenya, this didn’t seem to exist. I found that the men seemed to take on a whole new level of confidence and class with their fashion. They were often wearing what’s called a kikoi, which is a cotton sarong that actually originated from the Indian Ocean coast and was always intended to be traditionally worn by men. It’s just a practical thing to wear on a muggy summer’s day. There are literally thousands of different patterns and bright colors to pick from, and a good quality kikoi can also be worn as nighttime dressy attire for your local nyama choma (barbecued meat) night out with nice a dress shirt.

6. How to feast without any cutlery.

Nothing’s considered a full celebration without the ‘unofficial Kenyan dish’ of nyama choma. Deliciously charred mbuzi (goat) or ng’ombe (cow) is freshly slaughtered and cooked over charcoals or wood. There’s never a need for marinades, but there’s always a need for sides of ugali (cornmeal staple), kachumbari (tomatoes and onions), sukuma wiki (collard greens or kale). This whole combo has to be eaten with your fingers — something that might be considered totally rude back in the U.S. — to truly appreciate and make sure all the juices are sopped up with chapati (flat bread).

All pictures by Alyssa Wyatt


United States Visa Information

Learn4good provides general information on study, travel, work visa and business visa requirements and the addresses of embassies worldwide. You should contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date information or visa forms.

Who requires a visa?
A citizen of a foreign country, wishing to enter the U.S., generally must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. The type of visa you must have is defined by immigration law, and relates to the purpose of your travel. Having a U.S. visa allows you to travel to a port-of-entry (airport, for example) and request permission of the Department of Homeland Security, Customs Border Protection immigration officer to enter the U.S. A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States.

Visitor Visa
The visitor visa is a type of nonimmigrant visa for persons desiring to enter the United States temporarily for business (B-1) or for pleasure, tourism or medical treatment (B-2). International travelers with visitor visas comprise a large portion of temporary visitor travel to the United States every year.

Students, temporary workers, journalists and persons planning to travel to the U.S. for a purpose other than that permitted on a visitor visa, must apply for a different visa in the appropriate category.Travel Without a Visa - Foreign citizens traveling for visitor visa purposes only, from certain eligible countries may also be able to visit the U.S. without a visa, through the Visa Waiver Program if they meet requirements, including having a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval. Additionally, citizens of Canada and Bermuda traveling for visitor visa purposes don’t need a visa, with some exceptions.

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables nationals of certain countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. The program was established in 1986 with the objective of eliminating unnecessary barriers to travel, stimulating the tourism industry, and permitting the Department of State to focus consular resources in other areas. VWP eligible travelers may apply for a visa, if they prefer to do so. Not all countries participate in the VWP, and not all travelers from VWP countries are eligible to use the program. VWP travelers are screened prior to admission into the United States, and they are enrolled in the Department of Homeland Security’s US-VISIT program.

Greek citizens will be able to travel to the US without a visa starting April 5, 2010
Currently, 36 countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program, as shown below:

Visa Waiver Program - Participating Countries:

Europe
Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, including Greenland and Faroe Islands, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands including Aruba and Netherlands Antilles, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom (full British citizens only).

Asia
Brunei, Japan, South Korea, Singapore.

Oceania
Australia, New Zealand.

NOTE:
All travelers must have individual passports. It is not acceptable (for the visa waiver scheme) for children to be included on a parent’s passport. Passport requirements (for citizens of VWP pre-2008 members only) depend on the date the passport was issued or renewed: Passports issued or renewed before 26 October 2005 must be machine readable. Passports issued or renewed after 26 October 2005 must be machine readable and contain a digitized photograph, or must be biometric passports. Passports issued or renewed after 26 October 2006 must be biometric (citizens of VWP post-2008 members must present a biometric passport).

VWP travelers who have been admitted under the Visa Waiver Program and who make a short trip to Canada, Mexico or an adjacent island generally can be readmitted to the United States under the VWP for the balance of their original admission period. See the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website for additional details. Also VWP nationals resident in Mexico, Canada or adjacent islands are generally exempted from requirements to show onward travel to other foreign destinations.

Families seeking to enter the United States under the VWP need to obtain an individual machine-readable passport for each traveler, including infants. A machine-readable passport has biographic data for only one traveler in the machine-readable zone. Because of the requirement that passport data be presented in machine-readable format, children included in family or parents' passports may be denied visa-free entry into the United States since only the primary traveler's biographic data is included in the machine-readable zone of the passport.

What documents will be required?
Enforced compliance of the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) requirement for VWP travelers is in place. Therefore, VWP travelers who have not obtained approval through ESTA should expect to be denied boarding on any air carrier bound for the United States.

A valid ESTA approval is required for all Visa Waiver Program (VWP) to travel to the United States. The Department of Homeland Security, Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is a free, automated system used to determine the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the VWP. It collects the same information as the paper I-94W form that VWP travelers fill out en route to the United States. ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel. An ESTA authorization generally will be valid for up to two years. Authorizations will be valid for multiple entries into the United States. DHS recommends that travelers submit an ESTA application as soon as they begin making travel plans.

Visas for Mexican and Canadian NAFTA Professional Workers
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) creates special economic and trade relationships for the United States (U.S.), Canada and Mexico. The nonimmigrant NAFTA Professional (TN) visa allows citizens of Canada and Mexico, as NAFTA professionals, to work in the U.S. in a prearranged business activity for a U.S. or foreign employer. Permanent residents, including Canadian permanent residents, are not able to apply to work as a NAFTA professional.

Requirements for Professionals from Mexico and Canada to Work in the U.S.
Professionals of Canada or Mexico may work in the U.S. under the following conditions:Applicant is a citizen of Canada or Mexico,Profession is on the NAFTA list,Position in the U.S. requires a NAFTA professional,Mexican or Canadian applicant is to work in a prearranged full-time or part-time job, for a U.S. employer (see documentation required). Self employment is not permitted,Professional Canadian or Mexican citizen has the qualifications of the profession.

*Mexican citizens require a visa to request admission to the U.S. (A USCIS approved petition is not required.)

Student Visa
The Immigration and National Act is very specific with regard to the requirements which must be met by applicants to qualify for the student visa. The consular officer will determine whether you qualify for the visa. Additionally, applicants must demonstrate that they properly meet student visa requirements including:Have a residence abroad, with no immediate intention of abandoning that residence,Intend to depart from the United States upon completion of the course of study, and Possess sufficient funds to pursue the proposed course of study.

Applying for a Visa
As part of the visa application process, an interview at the embassy consular section is required for visa applicants from age 14 through 79, with few exceptions. Persons age 13 and younger, and age 80 and older, generally do not require an interview, unless requested by embassy or consulate. The waiting time for an interview appointment for applicants can vary, so early visa application is strongly encouraged.

During the visa application process, usually at the interview, an ink-free, digital fingerprint scan will be quickly taken. Also, because each student’s personal and academic situation is different, two students applying for same visa may be asked different questions and be required to submit different additional documents.

All applicants for a student visa must provide:
– Form I-20A-B, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status. For Academic and Language Students or Form I-20M-N, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (M-1) Student Status for Vocational Students. You will need to submit a SEVIS generated Form, I-20, which was provided to you by your school.You and your school official must sign the I-20 form. All students, as well as their spouses and dependents must be registered in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), an Internet-based system that maintains accurate and current information on non-immigrant students and exchange visitors and their dependents (F/M-2 visa holders). Your school is responsible for entering your information for the I-20 student visa form into SEVIS. Students will also have to pay an SEVIS I-901 fee for each program of study. Questions regarding your exchange program should be directly to your program sponsor,

- A completed application, Nonimmigrant Visa Applicant,Form DS-156, together with a Form DS-158. Both forms must be completed and signed. Some applicants will also be required to complete and sign Form DS-157. A separate form is needed for children, even if they are included in a parent’s passport. The DS-156 must be the March 2006 date, electronic “e-form application.” Select Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form DS-156 to access the electronic version of the form DS-156.

- An interview at the embassy consular section is required for almost all visa applicants. The waiting time for an interview appointment for applicants can vary, so early visa application is strongly encouraged. During the visa interview, an ink-free, digital fingerprint scan will be quickly taken, as well as a digital photo. Some applicants will need additional screening, and will be notified when they apply.

- A passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant’s intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions). If more than one person is included in the passport, each person desiring a visa must complete an application.

- One (1) 2×2 photograph. See the required photo format explained in nonimmigrant photograph requirements,

- A MRV fee receipt to show payment of the visa application fee, a visa issuance fee if applicable and a separate SEVIS I-901 fee receipt. While all F-visa applicants must pay the MRV fee, including dependents, only the F-1 principal applicants must pay the SEVIS fee.

- Students who are authorized for Optional Practical Training (OPT) must have an I-20 endorsed for OPT, and provide a USCIS-issued Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

All applicants should be prepared to provide:
Transcripts and diplomas from previous institutions attended,
– scores from standardized tests required by the educational institution such as the TOEFL, SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc.,
– financial evidence that shows you or your parents who are sponsoring you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period of your intended study. For example, if you or your sponsor is a salaried employee, please bring income tax documents and original bank books and/or statements. If you or your sponsor own a business, please bring business registration, licenses, etc., and tax documents, as well as original bank books and/or statements.

Applicants with dependents must also provide:
- Proof of the student’s relationship to his/her spouse and/or children (e.g., marriage and birth certificates.),
– it is preferred that families apply for F-1 and F-2 visas at the same time, but if the spouse and children must apply separately at a later time, they should bring a copy of the student visa holder’s passport and visa, along with all other required documents.

Additional Information
- No assurances regarding the issuance of visas can be given in advance. Therefore final travel plans or the purchase of non refundable tickets should not be made until a visa has been issued.

– Unless previously canceled, a visa is valid until its expiration date. Therefore, if the traveler has a valid U.S. visa in an expired passport, do not remove the visa page from the expired passport. You may use it along with a new valid passport for travel and admission to the United States.

Time required to issue a visa:
Advance travel planning and early visa application are important, since visa applications are subject to a greater degree of scrutiny than in the past. If you plan to apply for a nonimmigrant visa to come to the United States, we know you ’d like to estimate how long you will have to wait to get an interview appointment to apply for a visa.

It is important to thoroughly review all information provided by your Embassy’s Consular Section for local procedures and instructions, such as how to make an interview appointment. Your Consulate will also explain any additional procedures for students, exchange visitors and those persons who need an earlier visa interview appointment.
You’ll also want to know how long it will take for your nonimmigrant visa to be processed at the Consular Section, after a decision is made by a Consular Officer to issue the visa, and the visa is available for pick-up by you or the courier at the embassy. Some visa applications require additional special clearances or administrative processing, which requires some additional time. Most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days of application.

Most special clearances are resolved within 30 days of application. Applicants are advised when they apply. When additional special clearances or administrative processing is required, the timing will vary based on individual circumstances of each case.

How do I apply?
Recently, the U.S. has updated its visa policies to increase security for our citizens and visitors. It will likely take you longer to get a visa than it used to, and you will find that a few new security measures have been put into place. For details that may apply specifically to your country, contact your nearest US Embassy or consulate.

How long is the visa valid for?
10 years. Some visas are valid for multiple entries.
The length of stay in the USA is determined by US immigration officials at the time of entry, but is generally 6 months.
For extensions and further information, apply to the US Immigration & Naturalisation Service.

When you enter the United States on a student visa, you will usually be admitted for the duration of your student status. That means you may stay as long as you are a full time student, even if the F-1 visa in your passport expires while you are in America. For a student who has completed the course of studies shown on the I-20, and any authorized practical training, the student is allowed the following additional time in the U.S. before departure:

– F-1 student – An additional 60 days, to prepare for departure from the U.S. or to transfer to another school.
– M-1 student – An additional 30 days to depart the U.S. (Fixed time period, in total not to exceed one year). The 30 days to prepare for departure is permitted as long as the student maintained a full course of study and maintained status. An M student may receive extensions up to three years for the total program.

Other information:
Entering the U.S. - Port of Entry
A visa allows a foreign citizen coming from abroad, to travel to the United States port-of entry and request permission to enter the U.S. Applicants should be aware that a visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. The Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials have authority to permit or deny admission to the United States. Student visitors must have their Form I-20 in their possession each time they enter the United States. Students should review important information about Admissions/Entry requirements by the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection. Upon arrival (at an international airport, seaport or land border crossing), you will be enrolled in the US-VISIT entry-exit program. In addition, some travelers will also need to register their entry into and their departure from the U.S. with the Special Registration program. If you are allowed to enter the U.S., the CBP official will determine the length of your visit on the Arrival-Departure Record (Form I-94). Since Form I-94 documents your authorized stay in the U.S., it’s very important to keep in your passport.

Staying Beyond Your Authorized Stay in the U.S. and Being Out of Status
- You should carefully consider the dates of your authorized stay and make sure you are following the procedures under U.S. immigration laws. It is important that you depart the U.S. on or before the last day you are authorized to be in the U.S. on any given trip, based on the specified end date on your Arrival-Departure Record, Form I-94. Failure to depart the U.S. will cause you to be out-of-status.

– Staying beyond the period of time authorized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and being out-of-status in the United States is a violation of U.S. immigration laws, and may cause you to be ineligible for a visa in the future for return travel to the U.S.

– Staying unlawfully in the United States beyond the date Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials have authorized–even by one day–results in your visa being automatically voided, in accordance with INA 222(g). Under this provision of immigration law, if you overstay on your nonimmigrant authorized stay in the U.S., your visa will be automatically voided. In this situation, you are required to reapply for a new nonimmigrant visa, generally in your country of nationality.

– For non immigrants in the U.S. who have an Arrival-Departure Record, Form I-94 with the CBP admitting officer endorsement of Duration of Status or D/S, but who are no longer performing the same function in the U.S. that they were originally admitted to perform (e.g. you are no longer working for the same employer or you are no longer attending the same school), a DHS or an immigration judge makes a finding of status violation, resulting in the termination of the period of authorized stay.

What Items Do Returning Students Need?
All applicants applying for renewals must submit:

- A passport valid for at least six months,
– an application Form DS-156, together with a Form DS-158. Both forms must be completed and signed. Some applicants will also be required to complete and sign Form DS-157. Blank forms are available without charge at all U.S. consular offices.
– a receipt for visa processing fee. A receipt showing payment of the visa application fee for each applicant, including each child listed in a parent’s passport who is also applying for a U.S. visa, is needed,
– a new I-20 or an I-20 that has been endorsed on the back by a school official within the past 12 months.

All applicants applying for renewals should be prepared to submit:
- A certified copy of your grades from the school in which you are enrolled,
– financial documents from you or your sponsor, showing your ability to cover the cost of your schooling.

Students Away from Classes More Than Five Months
Students in or outside the U.S., who have been away from classes for more than five months, will likely need a new visa to enter the U.S.

Can I work in USA?
Under an F-1 student visa, work is generally not permitted

Embassy contact information:
Please contact the nearest United States embassy for information on what documentation you may require to enter the USA.

Disclaimer: The contents of these pages are provided as an information guide only, in good faith. The use of this website is at the viewer/user's sole risk. While every effort is made in presenting up-to-date and accurate information, no responsibility or liability is accepted by the owners to this website for any errors, omissions, outdated or misleading information on these pages or any site to which these pages connect or are linked.

Source & Copyright: The source of the above visa and immigration information and copyright owner/s is the:
- The U.S. Department of State - URL: www.travel.state.gov
- Embassy of the United States, London, UK - URL: www.usembassy.org.uk

The viewer/user of this web page should use the above information as a guideline only, and should always contact the above sources or the user's own government representatives for the most up-to-date information at that moment in time, before making a final decision to travel to that country or destination.


International Travel

The process of marrying overseas can be time-consuming and expensive. Procedures vary from country to country, and some require lengthy preparation. If you plan to marry in a foreign country, you should find out the requirements of that country before you travel.

Some of the requirements you might encounter are:

  • Parties must be resident in that country for a specified period of time before a marriage may be performed there.
  • Blood tests.
  • Minimum age for the parties who are being married.
  • Parental consent.
  • Documents certifying the end of any previous relationship (such as death or divorce certificates), translated into the local language, and authenticated.
  • Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry: Some countries require an affidavit by the parties as proof of legal capacity to enter into a marriage contract. No such government-issued document exists in the United States. You may execute such an affidavit at a U.S. embassy or consulate. The U.S. embassy or consulate cannot attest to your marital status. However, most countries will accept a statement from you regarding your ability to marry if your signature on the affidavit has been notarized by a U.S. consular officer.

Contact the embassy or tourist information bureau of the country where you plan to marry to learn about specific requirements. You can also find foreign embassy and consulate contact information in the Country Information the Department of State publishes for each country. If you are already abroad, you may wish to consult with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Validity of Marriages Abroad

If you get married abroad and need to know if your marriage will be recognized in the United States and what documentation may be needed, contact the office of the Attorney General of your state of residence in the United States.

Marriage to a Foreign Citizen

You can get information on obtaining a visa for a foreign spouse here.

You may also be interested in obtaining:


Contents

  • 1 History
    • 1.1 Origin, migration and assimilation
    • 1.2 Settlement in East Africa
  • 2 Genetics
    • 2.1 Autosomal DNA
    • 2.2 Y-DNA
    • 2.3 Mitochondrial DNA
  • 3 Culture
    • 3.1 Influences from the outside world
  • 4 Social organization
  • 5 Music and dance
  • 6 Body modification
  • 7 Diet
  • 8 Shelter
  • 9 Clothing
  • 10 Hair
  • 11 Notable Maasai
  • 12 See also
  • 13 References
  • 14 External links

The Maasai inhabit the African Great Lakes region and arrived via the South Sudan. [9] Most Nilotic speakers in the area, including the Maasai, the Turkana and the Kalenjin, are pastoralists, and are famous for their fearsome reputations as warriors and cattle-rustlers. [9] The Maasai and other groups in East Africa have adopted customs and practices from neighboring Cushitic-speaking groups, including the age set system of social organization, circumcision, and vocabulary terms. [10] [11]

Origin, migration and assimilation Edit

According to their oral history, the Maasai originated from the lower Nile valley north of Lake Turkana (Northwest Kenya) and began migrating south around the 15th century, arriving in a long trunk of land stretching from what is now northern Kenya to what is now central Tanzania between the 17th and late 18th century. Many ethnic groups that had already formed settlements in the region were forcibly displaced by the incoming Maasai, [12] while other, mainly Southern Cushitic groups, were assimilated into Maasai society. The Nilotic ancestors of the Kalenjin likewise absorbed some early Cushitic populations. [13]

Settlement in East Africa Edit

The Maasai territory reached its largest size in the mid-19th century, and covered almost all of the Great Rift Valley and adjacent lands from Mount Marsabit in the north to Dodoma in the south. [14] At this time the Maasai, as well as the larger Nilotic group they were part of, raised cattle as far east as the Tanga coast in Tanganyika (now mainland Tanzania). Raiders used spears and shields, but were most feared for throwing clubs (orinka) which could be accurately thrown from up to 70 paces (approx. 100 metres). In 1852, there was a report of a concentration of 800 Maasai warriors on the move in what is now Kenya. In 1857, after having depopulated the "Wakuafi wilderness" in what is now southeastern Kenya, Maasai warriors threatened Mombasa on the Kenyan coast. [15] [16]

Because of this migration, the Maasai are the southernmost Nilotic speakers. The period of expansion was followed by the Maasai "Emutai" of 1883–1902. This period was marked by epidemics of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia, rinderpest (see 1890s African rinderpest epizootic), and smallpox. The estimate first put forward by a German lieutenant in what was then northwest Tanganyika, was that 90% of cattle and half of wild animals perished from rinderpest. German doctors in the same area claimed that "every second" African had a pock-marked face as the result of smallpox. This period coincided with drought. Rains failed completely in 1897 and 1898. [17]

The Austrian explorer Oscar Baumann travelled in Maasai lands between 1891 and 1893, and described the old Maasai settlement in the Ngorongoro Crater in the 1894 book Durch Massailand zur Nilquelle ("Through the lands of the Maasai to the source of the Nile"): "There were women wasted to skeletons from whose eyes the madness of starvation glared . warriors scarcely able to crawl on all fours, and apathetic, languishing elders. Swarms of vultures followed them from high, awaiting their certain victims." By one estimate two-thirds of the Maasai died during this period. [18]

Starting with a 1904 treaty, [19] and followed by another in 1911, Maasai lands in Kenya were reduced by 60% when the British evicted them to make room for settler ranches, subsequently confining them to present-day Samburu, Laikipia, Kajiado and Narok districts. [20] Maasai in Tanganyika (now mainland Tanzania) were displaced from the fertile lands between Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro, and most of the fertile highlands near Ngorongoro in the 1940s. [21] [22] More land was taken to create wildlife reserves and national parks: Amboseli National Park, Nairobi National Park, Maasai Mara, Samburu National Reserve, Lake Nakuru National Park and Tsavo in Kenya, and Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tarangire [23] and Serengeti National Park in what is now Tanzania.

Maasai are pastoralist and have resisted the urging of the Tanzanian and Kenyan governments to adopt a more sedentary lifestyle. They have demanded grazing rights to many of the national parks in both countries.

The Maasai people stood against slavery and never condoned traffic of human beings, and outsiders looking for people to enslave avoided the Maasai. [24] They lived alongside most wild animals with an aversion to eating game and birds. Maasai land now has East Africa's finest game areas.

Essentially there are twenty-two geographic sectors or sub tribes of the Maasai community, each one having its own customs, appearance, leadership and dialects. These subdivisions are known as 'nations' or 'iloshon' in the Maa language: the Keekonyokie, Damat, Purko, Wuasinkishu, Siria, Laitayiok, Loitai, Kisonko, Matapato, Dalalekutuk, Loodokolani, Kaputiei, Moitanik, Ilkirasha, Samburu, Lchamus, Laikipia, Loitokitoki, Larusa, Salei, Sirinket and Parakuyo. [25]

Recent advances in genetic analyses have helped shed some light on the ethnogenesis of the Maasai people. Genetic genealogy, a tool that uses the genes of modern populations to trace their ethnic and geographic origins, has also helped clarify the possible background of the modern Maasai. [26]

Autosomal DNA Edit

The Maasai's autosomal DNA has been examined in a comprehensive study by Tishkoff et al. (2009) on the genetic affiliations of various populations in Africa. According to the study's authors, the Maasai "have maintained their culture in the face of extensive genetic introgression". [27] Tishkoff et al. also indicate that: "Many Nilo-Saharan-speaking populations in East Africa, such as the Maasai, show multiple cluster assignments from the Nilo-Saharan [. ] and Cushitic [. ] AACs, in accord with linguistic evidence of repeated Nilotic assimilation of Cushites over the past 3000 years and with the high frequency of a shared East African–specific mutation associated with lactose tolerance." [27]

Y-DNA Edit

A Y chromosome study by Wood et al. (2005) tested various Sub-Saharan populations, including 26 Maasai males from Kenya, for paternal lineages. The authors observed haplogroup E1b1b-M35 (not M78) in 35% of the studied Maasai. [28] E1b1b-M35-M78 in 15%, their ancestor with the more northerly Cushitic males, who possess the haplogroup at high frequencies [29] lived more than 13 000 years ago. [30] The second most frequent paternal lineage among the Maasai was Haplogroup A3b2, which is commonly found in Nilotic populations, such as the Alur, [28] [31] it was observed in 27% of Maasai males. The third most frequently observed paternal DNA marker in the Maasai was E1b1a1-M2 (E-P1), which is very common in the Sub-Saharan region, it was found in 12% of the Maasai samples. Haplogroup B-M60 was also observed in 8% of the studied Maasai, [28] which is also found in 30% (16/53) of Southern Sudanese Nilotes. [31]

Mitochondrial DNA Edit

According to an mtDNA study by Castri et al. (2008), which tested Maasai individuals in Kenya, the maternal lineages found among the Maasai are quite diverse, but similar in overall frequency to that observed in other Nilo-Hamitic populations from the region, such as the Samburu. Most of the tested Maasai belonged to various macro-haplogroup L sub-clades, including L0, L2, L3, L4 and L5. Some maternal gene flow from North and Northeast Africa was also reported, particularly via the presence of mtDNA haplogroup M lineages in about 12.5% of the Maasai samples. [32]

Maasai society is strongly patriarchal in nature, with elder men, sometimes joined by retired elders, deciding most major matters for each Maasai group. A full body of oral law covers many aspects of behavior. Formal capital punishment is unknown, and normally payment in cattle will settle matters. An out-of-court process is also practiced called amitu, 'to make peace', or arop, which involves a substantial apology. [33] The monotheistic Maasai worship a single deity called Enkai or Engai. Engai has a dual nature: Engai Narok (Black God) is benevolent, and Engai Na-nyokie (Red God) is vengeful. [34] There are also two pillars or totems of Maasai society: Oodo Mongi, the Red Cow and Orok Kiteng, the Black Cow with a subdivision of five clans or family trees. [35] The Maasai also have a totemic animal, which is the lion, however, the animal can be killed. The way the Maasai kill the lion differs from trophy hunting as it is used in the rite of passage ceremony. [36] The "Mountain of God", Ol Doinyo Lengai, is located in northernmost Tanzania and can be seen from Lake Natron in southernmost Kenya. The central human figure in the Maasai religious system is the laibon whose roles include shamanistic healing, divination and prophecy, and ensuring success in war or adequate rainfall. Today, they have a political role as well due to the elevation of leaders. Whatever power an individual laibon had was a function of personality rather than position. [37] Many Maasai have also adopted Christianity and Islam. [38] The Maasai are known for their intricate jewelry and for decades, have sold these items to tourists as a business.

A once high infant mortality rate among the Maasai has led to babies not truly being recognized until they reach an age of 3 months ilapaitin. [39] Educating Maasai women to use clinics and hospitals during pregnancy has enabled more infants to survive. The exception is found in extremely remote areas. For Maasai living a traditional life, the end of life is virtually without ceremony, and the dead are left out for scavengers. [40] A corpse rejected by scavengers is seen as having something wrong with it, and liable to cause social disgrace, therefore, it is not uncommon for bodies to be covered in fat and blood from a slaughtered ox. [41] Burial has in the past been reserved for great chiefs, since it is believed to be harmful to the soil. [42]

Traditional Maasai lifestyle centres around their cattle, which constitute their primary source of food. The measure of a man's wealth is in terms of cattle and children. A herd of 50 cattle is respectable, and the more children the better. A man who has plenty of one but not the other is considered to be poor. [43] A Maasai religious belief relates that God gave them all the cattle on earth, leading to the belief that rustling cattle from other tribes is a matter of taking back what is rightfully theirs, a practice that has become much less common. [44]

All of the Maasai's needs for food are met by their cattle. They eat the meat, drink the milk daily, and drink the blood on occasion. Bulls, goats, and lambs are slaughtered for meat on special occasions and for ceremonies. Though the Maasai's entire way of life has historically depended on their cattle, more recently with their cattle dwindling, the Maasai have grown dependent on food such as sorghum, rice, potatoes and cabbage (known to the Maasai as goat leaves). [45]

Influences from the outside world Edit

A traditional pastoral lifestyle has become increasingly difficult due to outside influences of the modern world. Garrett Hardin's article, outlining the "tragedy of the commons", as well as Melville Herskovits' "cattle complex" helped to influence ecologists and policy makers about the harm Maasai pastoralists were causing to savannah rangelands. This concept was later proven false by anthropologists but is still deeply ingrained in the minds of ecologists and Tanzanian officials. [46] This influenced British colonial policy makers in 1951 to remove all Maasai from the Serengeti National Park and relegate them to areas in and around the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA). The plan for the NCA was to put Maasai interests above all else, but this promise was never met. The spread of HIV was rampant.

Due to an increase in Maasai population, loss of cattle populations to disease, and lack of available rangelands because of new park boundaries and the incursion of settlements and farms by other tribes (this is also the chief reason for the decline in wildlife-habitat loss, with the second being poaching), the Maasai were forced to develop new ways of sustaining themselves. Many Maasai began to cultivate maize and other crops to get by, a practice that was culturally viewed negatively. [46] Cultivation was first introduced to the Maasai by displaced WaArusha and WaMeru women who were married to Maasai men, subsequent generations practiced a mixed livelihood. To further complicate their situation, in 1975 the Ngorongoro Conservation Area banned cultivation practices. In order to survive they are forced to participate in Tanzania's monetary economy. They have to sell their animals and traditional medicines in order to buy food. The ban on cultivation was lifted in 1992 and cultivation has again become an important part of Maasai livelihood. Park boundaries and land privatisation has continued to limit grazing area for the Maasai and have forced them to change considerably. [47]

Over the years, many projects have begun to help Maasai tribal leaders find ways to preserve their traditions while also balancing the education needs of their children for the modern world. [48]

The emerging forms of employment among the Maasai people include farming, business (selling of traditional medicine, running of restaurants/shops, buying and selling of minerals, selling milk and milk products by women, embroideries), and wage employment (as security guards/ watchmen, waiters, tourist guides), and others who are engaged in the public and private sectors. [49]

Many Maasai have moved away from the nomadic life to positions in commerce and government. [50] Yet despite the sophisticated urban lifestyle they may lead, many will happily head homewards dressed in designer clothes, only to emerge from the traditional family homestead wearing a shuka (colourful piece of cloth), cow hide sandals and carrying a wooden club (o-rinka) - at ease with themselves. [ original research? ]

The central unit of Maasai society is the age-set. Young boys are sent out with the calves and lambs as soon as they can toddle, but childhood for boys is mostly playtime, with the exception of ritual beatings to test courage and endurance. Girls are responsible for chores such as cooking and milking, skills which they learn from their mothers at an early age. [51] Every 15 years or so, a new and individually named generation of Morans or Il-murran (warriors) will be initiated. This involves most boys between 12 and 25, who have reached puberty and are not part of the previous age-set. One rite of passage from boyhood to the status of junior warrior is a circumcision ceremony performed without anaesthetic. In modern times, boys living close to towns with doctors may endure the ceremony in safer conditions, but still without anaesthetic because they must endure the pain that will lead them to manhood. This ritual is typically performed by the elders, who use a sharpened knife and makeshift cattle hide bandages for the procedure. The Maa word for circumcision is emorata. [52] The boy must endure the operation in silence. Expressions of pain bring dishonor, albeit temporarily. Any exclamations can cause a mistake in the delicate and tedious process, which can result in lifelong scarring, dysfunction, and pain. The healing process will take 3–4 months, during which urination is painful and nearly impossible at times, and boys must remain in black clothes for a period of 4–8 months. [53]

During this period, the newly circumcised young men will live in a "manyatta", a "village" built by their mothers. The manyatta has no encircling barricade for protection, emphasizing the warrior role of protecting the community. No inner kraal is built, since warriors neither own cattle nor undertake stock duties. Further rites of passage are required before achieving the status of senior warrior, culminating in the eunoto ceremony, the "coming of age". [54]

When a new generation of warriors is initiated, the existing Il-murran will graduate to become junior elders, who are responsible for political decisions until they in turn become senior elders. [55] [56] This graduation from warrior to junior elder takes place at a large gathering known as Eunoto. The long hair of the former warriors is shaved off, elders must wear their hair short. Warriors are not allowed to have sexual relations with circumcised women, though they may have girlfriends who are uncircumcised girls. At Eunoto, the warriors who managed to abide by this rule are specially recognized. [57]

The warriors spend most of their time now on walkabouts throughout Maasai lands, beyond the confines of their sectional boundaries. They are also much more involved in cattle trading than they used to be, developing and improving basic stock through trades and bartering rather than stealing as in the past. [58] [59]

One myth about the Maasai is that each young man is supposed to kill a lion before he is circumcised. Lion hunting was an activity of the past, but it has been banned in Southeast Africa – yet lions are still hunted when they maul Maasai livestock, [60] and young warriors who engage in traditional lion killing do not face significant consequences. [61] Increasing concern regarding lion populations has given rise to at least one program which promotes accepting compensation when a lion kills livestock, rather than hunting and killing the predator. Nevertheless, killing a lion gives one great value and celebrity status in the community.

Young women also undergo excision ("female circumcision", "female genital mutilation," "emorata") as part of an elaborate rite of passage ritual called "Emuatare," the ceremony that initiates young Maasai girls into adulthood through ritual circumcision and then into early arranged marriages. [62] The Maasai believe that female circumcision is necessary and Maasai men may reject any woman who has not undergone it as either not marriageable or worthy of a much-reduced bride price. In Eastern Africa, uncircumcised women, even those highly educated members of parliament like Linah Kilimo, can be accused of not being mature enough to be taken seriously. [63] To others the practice of female circumcision is known as female genital mutilation, and draws a great deal of criticism from both abroad and many women who have undergone it, such as Maasai activist Agnes Pareyio. It has recently been replaced in some instances by a "cutting with words" ceremony involving singing and dancing in place of the mutilation. However, the practice remains deeply ingrained and valued by the culture. The Maa word for circumcision, "emorata," is used for both female and male genital mutilation. Female genital cutting is illegal in both Kenya and Tanzania. [64] These circumcisions are usually performed by an invited 'practitioner' who is often not Maasai, usually from a Dorobo group. The knives and blades which make the cut are fashioned by blacksmiths, il-kunono, who make their weapons for the Maasai who do not make their own:(knives, short swords (ol alem or simi or seme), spears, etc.). Similarly to the young men, women who will be circumcised wear dark clothing, paint their faces with markings, and then cover their faces on completion of the ceremony. [65]

Married women who become pregnant are excused from all heavy work such as milking and gathering firewood. [66] Sexual relations are also banned and there are specific rules applied to pregnant women.

The Maasai are traditionally polygynous, this is thought to be a long-standing and practical adaptation to high infant and warrior mortality rates. Polyandry is also practiced. However, today this practice is usually abandoned. A woman marries not just her husband but the entire age group. Men are expected to give up their bed to a visiting age-mate guest, however, today this practice is usually abandoned. The woman decides strictly on her own if she will join the visiting male. Any child which may result is the husband's child and his descendant in the patrilineal order of Maasai society. "Kitala", a kind of divorce or refuge, is possible in the house of a wife's father, usually for gross mistreatment of the wife. Repayment of the bride price, custody of children, etc., are mutually agreed upon. [67] [68]

Maasai music traditionally consists of rhythms provided by a chorus of vocalists singing harmonies while a song leader, or olaranyani, sings the melody. The olaranyani is usually the singer who can best sing that song, although several individuals may lead a song. The olaranyani begins by singing a line or title (namba) of a song. The group will respond with one unanimous call in acknowledgment, and the olaranyani will sing a verse over the group's rhythmic throat singing. Each song has its specific namba structure based on call-and-response. Common rhythms are variations of 5/4, 6/4 and 3/4 time signatures. Lyrics follow a typical theme and are often repeated verbatim over time. Neck movements accompany singing. When breathing out the head is leaned forward. The head is tilted back for an inward breath. Overall the effect is one of polyphonic syncopation. [69] [70] Unlike most other African tribes, Maasai widely use drone polyphony. [71]

Women chant lullabies, humming songs, and songs praising their sons. Nambas, the call-and-response pattern, repetition of nonsensical phrases, monophonic melodies, [72] [73] repeated phrases following each verse being sung on a descending scale, and singers responding to their own verses are characteristic of singing by females. [74] [75] When many Maasai women gather together, they sing and dance among themselves. [76]

One exception to the vocal nature of Maasai music is the use of the horn of the Greater Kudu to summon morans for the Eunoto ceremony. [77]

Both singing and dancing sometimes occur around manyattas, and involve flirting. Young men will form a line and chant rhythmically, "Oooooh-yah", with a growl and staccato cough along with the thrust and withdrawal of their lower bodies. Girls stand in front of the men and make the same pelvis lunges while singing a high dying fall of "Oiiiyo..yo" in counterpoint to the men. Although bodies come in close proximity, they do not touch. [78]

Eunoto, the coming of age ceremony of the warrior, can involve ten or more days of singing, dancing and ritual. The warriors of the Il-Oodokilani perform a kind of march-past as well as the adumu, or aigus, sometimes referred as "the jumping dance" by non-Maasai. (Both adumu and aigus are Maa verbs meaning "to jump" with adumu meaning "To jump up and down in a dance". [79] ) Warriors are well known for, and often photographed during, this competitive jumping. A circle is formed by the warriors, and one or two at a time will enter the center to begin jumping while maintaining a narrow posture, never letting their heels touch the ground. Members of the group may raise the pitch of their voices based on the height of the jump. [80]

The girlfriends of the moran (intoyie) parade themselves in their most spectacular costumes as part of the eunoto. The mothers of the moran sing and dance in tribute to the courage and daring of their sons. [81]

The piercing and stretching of earlobes is common among the Maasai as with other tribes. Various materials have been used to both pierce and stretch the lobes, including thorns for piercing, twigs, bundles of twigs, stones, the cross section of elephant tusks and empty film canisters. Fewer and fewer Maasai, particularly boys, follow this custom. [82] [83] Women wear various forms of beaded ornaments in both the ear lobe, and smaller piercings at the top of the ear. [84] [85] Amongst Maasai males, circumcision is practiced as a ritual of transition from boyhood to manhood. Women are also circumcised (as described above).

The removal of deciduous canine tooth buds in early childhood is a practice that has been documented in the Maasai of Kenya and Tanzania. There exists a strong belief among the Maasai that diarrhea, vomiting and other febrile illnesses of early childhood are caused by the gingival swelling over the canine region, which is thought to contain 'worms' or 'nylon' teeth. This belief and practice is not unique to the Maasai. In rural Kenya a group of 95 children aged between six months and two years were examined in 1991/92. 87% were found to have undergone the removal of one or more deciduous canine tooth buds. In an older age group (3–7 years of age), 72% of the 111 children examined exhibited missing mandibular or maxillary deciduous canines. [86] [87]

Traditionally, the Maasai diet consisted of raw meat, raw milk, honey and raw blood from cattle—note that the Maasai cattle are of the Zebu variety.

In the summer of 1935 Dr. Weston A. Price visited the Maasai and reported that according to Dr. Anderson from the local government hospital in Kenya most tribes were disease-free. Many had not a single tooth attacked by dental caries nor a single malformed dental arch. In particular the Maasai had a very low 0.4% of bone caries. He attributed that to their diet consisting of (in order of volume) raw milk, raw blood, raw meat and some vegetables and fruits, although in many villages they do not eat any fruit or vegetables at all. He noted that when available every growing child and every pregnant or lactating woman would receive a daily ration of raw blood.

Dr. Price also noted the government efforts back in 1935 to turn the Maasai into farmers. An ILCA study (Nestel 1989) states: "Today, the stable diet of the Maasai consists of cow's milk and maize-meal. [ citation needed ] The former is largely drunk fresh or in sweet tea and the latter is used to make a liquid or solid porridge. The solid porridge is known as ugali and is eaten with milk, unlike the liquid porridge, ugali is not prepared with milk. Animal fats or butter are used in cooking, primarily of porridge, maize, and beans. Butter is also an important infant food." [88]

Studies by the International Livestock Centre for Africa (Bekure et al. 1991) shows a very great change in the diet of the Maasai towards non-livestock products with maize comprising 12–39 percent and sugar 8–13 percent, about one litre of milk is consumed per person daily. Most of the milk is consumed as fermented milk or buttermilk (a by-product of butter making). Milk consumption figures are very high by any standards.

The needs for protein and essential amino acids are more than adequately satisfied. However, the supply of iron, niacin, vitamin C, vitamin A, thiamine and energy are never fully met by a purely milk diet.

Due to changing circumstances, especially the seasonal nature of the milk supply and frequent droughts, most pastoralists, including the Maasai, now include substantial amounts of grain in their diets. [89] [90]

The Maasai herd goats and sheep, including the Red Maasai sheep, as well as the more prized cattle. [91]

Electrocardiogram tests applied to 400 young adult male Maasai found no evidence whatsoever of heart disease, abnormalities or malfunction. Further study with carbon-14 tracers showed that the average cholesterol level was about 50 percent of that of an average American. These findings were ascribed to the amazing fitness of morans, which was evaluated as "Olympic standard". [92]

Soups are probably the most important use of plants for food by Maasai. Acacia nilotica is the most frequently used soup plant. The root or stem bark is boiled in water and the decoction drunk alone or added to soup. The Maasai are fond of taking this as a drug, and is known to make them energetic, aggressive and fearless. Maasai eat soup laced with bitter bark and roots containing cholesterol-lowering saponins, those urban Maasai who don't have access to the bitter plants tend to develop heart disease. [93]

Although consumed as snacks, fruits constitute a major part of the food ingested by children and women looking after cattle as well as morans in the wilderness. [94]

The mixing of cattle blood, obtained by nicking the jugular vein, and milk is done to prepare a ritual drink for special celebrations and as nourishment for the sick. [95] However, the inclusion of blood in the traditional diet is waning due to the reduction of livestock numbers.

More recently, the Maasai have grown dependent on food produced in other areas such as maize meal, rice, potatoes, cabbage (known to the Maasai as goat leaves), etc. The Maasai who live near crop farmers have engaged in cultivation as their primary mode of subsistence. In these areas, plot sizes are generally not large enough to accommodate herds of animals, thus the Maasai are forced to farm. [96]

As a historically nomadic and then semi-nomadic people, the Maasai have traditionally relied on local, readily available materials and indigenous technology to construct their housing. The traditional Maasai house was in the first instance designed for people on the move and was thus very impermanent in nature. The houses are either somewhat rectangular shaped with extensions or circular, and are constructed by able-bodied women. The structural framework is formed of timber poles fixed directly into the ground and interwoven with a lattice of smaller branches wattle, which is then plastered with a mix of mud, sticks, grass, cow dung, human urine, and ash. The cow dung ensures that the roof is waterproof. The enkaj or engaji is small, measuring about 3 × 5 m and standing only 1.5 m high. Within this space, the family cooks, eats, sleeps, socializes, and stores food, fuel, and other household possessions. Small livestock are also often accommodated within the enkaji. [97] Villages are enclosed in a circular fence (an enkang) built by the men, usually of thorned acacia, a native tree. At night, all cows, goats, and sheep are placed in an enclosure in the centre, safe from wild animals.


3. He broke out of U.S. Indian reservations on three different occasions.

In the 1840s and 1850s, the Mexican-American War and the Gadsden Purchase placed the Chiricahua Apaches’ domain within the boundaries of the expanding United States. Geronimo and the Apaches violently resisted the influx of white settlers, but following several years of war with the U.S. Army, they reluctantly negotiated a peace. By 1876, most of the Chiricahuas had been shipped to San Carlos, an arid and inhospitable reservation located in Arizona.

Geronimo avoided the reservation until 1877, when he was captured by Indian agents and brought to San Carlos in chains. He tried his hand at farming, but like many of the Chiricahua, he longed for the freedom of the frontier. Geronimo and his allies would eventually stage three escapes from the reservation between 1878 and 1885. Each time, the renegades fled south and disappeared into the mountains, only resurfacing to conduct marauding expeditions on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. During his second breakout in 1882, Geronimo even staged a daring raid on the Apache reservation and forced several hundred Chiricahuas to join his band—some of them at gunpoint. By the time of his final breakout in 1884, Geronimo had earned an unparalleled reputation for cunning, and stories of his ruthlessness—both real and imagined—were front-page news across the United States.


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