My objectives in this blog are to write about two things that occured last night. It all focuses on dinner with a Massai and other friends of ours.
Brian and I went to several different places last night. Jambo Cafe, the Police Mess, and Troopers with Marcus, his girlfriend(I haven’t figured out how to spell her name yet), and Philimon. Philimon is a Massai. I was so excited when I found this out because this tradition is so unfamiliar, but so fascinating to me.
I asked many questions and found many things out. One of the most interesting is the circumcision that occurs when a Massai turns 18. Philimon is now a Lutheran, but his father has many wives and he still follows many of the traditions. He, of course, made it clear to me that if he married a Mezungu, he would not force the kids to follow Massai tradition. I reaffirmed his idea and told him that I doubted that a Mezungu would ever allow half of the things that Massai have to go through, happen to her child. For example, the circumcision. Three days before the circumcision, a cow’s artery is punctured so that 3 liters of blood pours out. The blood is mixed with warm milk and sits until the circumcision is finished. At the age of 18 a Massai boy must sit without medication and be cut. The procedure is very slow and excrutiatingly painful. If the Massai cries, he will be killed right there with a huge knife and 10 cattle will be taken from the family because of the shame brought onto the family.
Clearly, Philimon did not cry and now he is cast as a warrior. Traditionally, he paints his face white and wears black clothing, different from other Massai. It is similar to an Indian Caste system where you are born into your specific role. He told me so many interesting things, but I’ll save those for when I come home!
A side note-Philimon told Brian and I that he is going to take us into the bush to kill a goat, like the Massai do. We will wear the garb and have nothing but that, knives, and a camera. That should be at the end of the month.
Next, the dinner. I feel it’s about time to describe a traditional dinner because the whole process is fascinating. You go into a restaurant, grab your seats and then proceed to the kitchen. People yell at the cook, call out, point to the meat hanging from hooks and tell the cook exactly what they want. You then sit back down and wait. In the meantime, you have something to drink and enjoy your time with your friends. Soon, the cook himself comes to wash your hands. He poors hot water out of a teapot over your hands and into a bowl. You squirm in anguish from the hot water, and they laugh and say Mezungu. Africans are used to this temperature. You let your hands drip dry and wait for the food. Then a large platter with pieces of chicken, goat, liver are brought out and set in the center of the table. On the edge, a pile of salt and on both sides spicey sauce for further dipping. One more plate is brought, piled with fried bananas. It is a meal worth eating. The meat is fresh and you can taste that it is village meat. What I mean is, that the animals ran around instead of being born to die and be processed. At the end, again, hot water is poured over your hands.
The dinner was spectacular. And wow, did I sleep well after my stomach was full.