First, I have a disclosure: I had no idea where Masai was before I googled it. It turns out I have never heard of it because it's not a place, it's a tribe. In Kenya and Tanzania. They don't read us, I assume.
Instead they herd cattle in small groups, ten or so huts per settlement. In the old days, their ascension into manhood required killing a lion.
With a spear.
I have a .308 rifle and I don't want to be within 200 yards of a lion so I respect that they feel so confident in their hand-to-hand fighting they'll take a chance on dying just to prove they can herd cattle with the other men in their village. Kenya doesn't allow that any more (well, officially. Does Kenya have the resources to monitor these little settlements?) but they're still pretty tough.
The Masai are not all brawn, they're also pretty astute anthropologists, as evidenced by this article in The Telegraph.
6 of them are off to England to run in the London Marathon. Because they are from a remote area of Africa, a British charity that does local work with them (Greenforce
) made them an acclimation guide. It's a good idea. Where these marathon runners live, two thirds of the children die before the age of five due to the brown water they drink. They're going to be running in shoes made from car tires and when they don't have much milk back home they mix cow blood with it. These are some tough people.
But England could be an adjustment.
Thus they got a guide written by Brits in Africa but it's tailored to the Masai and it tells us a lot about them.
For example, they like to share:
"If you see something that someone else has, like a bracelet, and you like it, then the person will find it very unusual if you were to take it and wear it."
Would it not be a fun world if we could just take something we like and wear it for a while and give it back? Not really practical in a state the size of California, but a nice concept.
And don't help anyone in England:
"For example, if someone was to see a thief and chase after him and, when they catch him they hurt him, then the person who hurt the thief would go to prison as well as the thief."
This is why the United Kingdom is 1,2 and 3
(Scotland, England, Wales) in the developed world in crime. They like to brag about fewer gun deaths but it's a terrifically violent society. If you can't defend yourself, bad guys tend to take advantage of you.
Imagine explaining that to a Masai warrior.
"You will see many people who are wearing only small clothes and you will wonder why they are cold and may think they are being disrespectful.
"This is normal for England, especially when it is sunny or in the evening. However, it is illegal to show certain parts of the body and for this reason it is important that you wear underpants if you are wearing your blankets."
That doesn't apply to Scotland, I assume. These people will run a marathon carrying shields and a spear and Brits think they need to tell them how to dress.
Finally, my favorite part:
"Many people drink alcohol in England. They do so at bars, at homes or at clubs - the English equivalent to a Masai party.
"When people drink they [seem] sillier or different. I am sure you have seen it with the Greenforce volunteers."
Ha ha ha.
Drunk Brits, public urination and a whole nation full of seemingly un-tended cattle is a situation comedy waiting to happen. It's also a lot of cultural panic to undergo for some clean water, and that's why they're doing it. Awareness and to raise some money. Want to help? Make a donation so they can dig a well.
Read more about Greenforce and the Masai here.