July 11, 1987

7/11/87 Nguruman Escarpment

campsite near Entesekera

This morning we started the long drive through Maasai country to a place called Entesekera. Once, when we stopped along the road to rest, two Maasai women and two more morani (warriors) came over to talk to us. Duritu speaks kimaa. Some of our guys gave the mother some snuff. All along the way we saw morani herding cattle and small boys with the goats. Our camp puts us within fifteen kilometers of Tanzania. Tomorrow we split up into four groups and the following day we start hiking again.

Old reliable, our Toyota

This afternoon while the girls were bathing near the river, a few of the guys went with our host, Daniel, to his home. His wives and children greeted us. Daniel asked us if we would like to go inside. As you entered, you found yourself in a large entry room. From there, you had access to a holding pen for the very young calves, protection from preying animals. Then we proceeded farther inside to the kitchen-dining area. We sat on short benches looking at the two beds that were only covered with cowhide. The stove looked like a homemade hibachi. Daniel told us it wasn’t a Maasai-style boma (home) but one built by Kikuyu. Instead of a flat roof, it had a steep thatched on.

When we came back, Steve had a great surprise for us. We had just arrived at the same time as a Maasai celebration called a Eunoto. This is when the morani warriors are elevated to lesser elders. We were being allowed to go to a special place where the event was taking place.

Groups of warriors dancing to a chant.

A large ring of bomas were built about a month ago, numbering 93, a special number to the Maasai. Most of the day’s celebrating had already taken place, so we turned out to be the big attraction. I had what seemed like hundreds of morani and children rub my beard, the white skin on my arms, touch my bald forehead and pull at my chest hair sticking out of my shirt. They seemed most interested in the girls with long blond hair. But probably most disturbing to the girls was the grabbing of their breasts by the older women. I asked Steve and Duritu about this and they said the women were just amazed at girls having larger breasts and not have a baby.

These kids thought us curious

Most of the morani were very thin but still strong. They kept trying to get the guys into tests of strength. Others wanted to use their english, which was very good. When we got back to camp, we were told we might be able to come back tomorrow and take pictures of the eunoto.