Discovering the Massai

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We stood up at 7.15AM. Time to take a breakfast and our guide John arrived at 8.30. We took local transport to some place where landscape was beautiful. There was a small shop selling a few drinks. Since the beginning John explained us a lot of detailed about the live of the Massai. He grew himself in a village where tradition is moving to our standards.
From the place we arrived, we followed John in wonderful and very typical African landscapes. After a 30 minutes walk we arrived in a place where a small court was surrounded by a few very small houses. John explained us that in the Massai tradition, men can have several women. Usually 3 to 4 women having each around 6 children.
Families can be huge. Each woman has its own small house where she usually lives with a few cows and the children. The man has a separated house. In these landscape everything is incredibly dry. Very few water is available at quite some long ways. People seem however happy. They talk a local language (and not Swahili like in the town in Tanzania).
Every children is supposed to go to primary school. The secondary school is reserved for the best of them.

Another interesting point are the houses, they are made of several local materials I cannot really remember all of them. Entering in such a house, one feels always a pleasant temperature. Much better than our air conditioned 🙂
Children are wearing very simple clothes and have quite some dust all over the body. Thanks to that climate looks like Malaria or other bad diseases are very few developed.
We saw a second house where a woman was creating local jewellery. John explained us in detail the process or marriage. In a few words, usually the parents take care to find the two young people matching. Then the parents of the guy have to offer several things but the first must be at least 6 kilograms of sugar. Interestingly, Massai have quite bad teeth compared to african people we could see …

Next step was to climb a little and saw a third place where we were offered something to eat: Rice with potatoes, corn, beans and spinach. Simple but good food. We met again several children always running to tourists saying hello all the time.

We then go to the healer. On the way we saw a school where students where doing an exam. They had a break and we could take the chance to greet them wishing a log of luck …
Once arrived to the healer, due to high demand he had to leave. We then took the bus back and visited a local market of Massai: one for food and one for vegetables. John proposed us as well a market where cows and other animals were sold but we felt a little tired and decided to go back.

Our experience was really good and we are really thankful to John. He was very experimented, pleasant and was always very honest. He never tried to cheat us … Such a guide is not that easy to find in Arusha. He proposes as well Safaris. We are not that much interested in Safaris, but if we were we would have done it definitely with him. I make a kind of advertising because we were really happy of of work. In case of interest he can be contacted at the following address:

This is our last day in Arusha. We would have liked to go outside for a last walk around but due to the high demand of people trying to sell whatever trip we prefer staying in the hotel and resting. Tomorrow we booked a bus for Dar es Salaam leaving at 8.00 AM. We hope the bus and the driver will be better than the ones bringing us to Arusha …


Spontaneous direction to Arusha


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On the 18th of September we wanted to visit the village museum but we took the wrong destination and took the bus going to the main bus station for inter city, then we spontaneously decided to go to Arusha (the 2nd biggest city of the country), there we wanted to visit a village of Massai (people living in tribes).
We did not know really where we had to get off the bus. At some point, some people from outside called us and told us we had to take off if our goal was Arusha… We thought, OK let’s try … we followed these guys without really knowing where we were going to and ended in a small place where they proposed us places in a bus for Arusha for 35000 Tsh each. We accepted and took the bus at 11h00 AM.
The driver would has won the prize of the absolute worst driver I ever seen. We estimated the travel to 8 hours but it lasted 12 hours … Long and very uncomfortable hours. The bus was driving like crazy on mostly broken roads. We felt like an Orangina bottle for 12 hours 🙂
Even for local people the driver was really bad, however, it is interesting to see how these people react to such unpleasant trips: they laugh and take it easy. Furthermore, most of the people, like us ate only in the early morning. First stop was 10 minutes at 6:00 PM … however no one complained in the meantime … the other way around, speaking loud in a very friendly way to each other. Everyone is speaking and the shame feeling we sometimes have in our countries to take part to a conversation seems not to exist here.

The panoramas we could see from the bus were wonderful. Nicer than African landscapes one could imagine. Many villages, and approaching Arusha many mountains were to be seen. The city is close to the Kilimanjaro. It is also the place tourists have to come to if they want to go for safaris.

We arrived at 11:00 PM … we took a taxi for a hotel. No more double beds but twin beds were OK. We went to sleep immediately.

Next day, we had breakfast at the hotel and went to the tourism information. Here it is very different from Dar es Salaam. The city is much more rich. Roads are not so broken, shops look like much more like European ones. Many poor people as well but rather located behind the main roads.
Going around, it is not like in Dar es Salaam where one can say hello to anybody. Most of the people are nice but it is the same feeling like in Dar es Salaam where all seems so uncomplicated. This reminds me a previous travel in Argentina. In Buenos Aires people are so uncomplicated and friendly. The city is quite poor. Going to Commodoro (the richest city of the country) people are very cold.
Another unpleasant point of Arusha are the so many places to offer a trip to Kilimanjaro or Safaris. Many people proposing you their company which they said being the best. It is not possible to go 100m without meeting someone trying to make quickly friendship and sell you all possible travel one can imagine. While one is trying to convice many others come and try to take the conversation over …
On our side we went to the tourist information. People there are a little more friendly but do not expect a smile 🙂

There we decided to go tomorrow to visit a village of Masai.