Sunday, October 31, 2010

Of the Masai

On our way to Tarangire National Park, home to a whole lot of elephants, we passed by what our guide called the Masai Market. If I recall correctly, our guide, whose English was generally excellent but occasionally ran aground on more complex concepts, told us that this happened once a month, and we were lucky to happen upon it. He also told us that the Masai, holding on to their traditional lifestyle, mostly don't use money; they hold wealth in cattle. And this market is where they get together and buy and sell cattle.

Which of course leads inevitably to the question: If you use cattle as your form of currency, and you're at a market buying or selling cattle, then what are you paying with? Are they actually just trading one cow for another? Our guide explained that some of them were certainly moving away from that and asking joining the money economy, but one has to assume the old, pure version of Masai culture also had a cattle market, before they were corrupted by money.

So anyway, these are the pictures the Staff Photographer took of various groups of Masai at the market, which our guide assured us was fine as long as we were taking a picture of a group, even though the Masai generally aren't real big on having their picture taken. We still feel kind of bad about it. But the crime was in taking the picture, which is done - not in actually posting the picture online, right?

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