Thursday, July 28, 2011

Guests of Honor

Tonight we went to a house warming party for a new home in the village of Lengasti. After a bumpy ride standing in the back of a truck, we arrived at our destination. As we got out, the Maasai women handed us chairs and instructed us to put them in a semi-circle. As we sat down, I noticed every single Maasai face was turned towards us (about 250 villagers). I asked our Tanzanian friends Stanley, James, and Evelyn about it and they told me to just stare back--it's just what they do when they see strangers. Feeling awkward, I attempted to do so, but could hardly help but smile and laugh when their faces remained blank for over 15 minutes. I'd be surprised if they even blinked.

 After this, we were moved to another area where a Maasai man brought over a huge slab of meat on a stick and began handing us chunks of it. At this point, Gladness told us we were the guests of honor at this party. This meant that we had to eat the meat or it would be very disrespectful. Not normally eating much meat myself, I reluctantly accepted the pieces they handed me. It was not appetizing, but as soon as I got a piece down they promptly handed me another. I quickly learned to eat a bit slower to prohibit them giving me too much.

When the entire slab of meat had been eaten, I let out a sigh of relief. They quickly brought more though, howver this time they brought goat ribs. I politely declined their generous offer this time, as did most of our group. When the Maasai were done eating, I noticed them rubbing their meaty and juicy hands all over their bodies. I asked Gladness about this and she told me that it is because they enjoy the smell of it so much and it also moisturizes their skin.

A few of us then went for a walk around the village and down a small path. After 10 minutes we noticed about 30 children running towards us. We stopped to see what they were doing. It turns out they were just following us so they could stare at us some more! After walking through our paparazzi back to the party, we were invited to dance with the Maasai women. They graciously motioned us to join their circle and taught us their traditional dance moves ( a lot of shaking of the shoulders and chest as well as jumping).

I feel blessed to have had an opportunity such as this and to experience the Maasai lifestyle for the 5 days we stayed in Lengasti. Tonight was truly one to remember.

-Stephanie LeVine

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