19 September: A Maasai Boma and the Olduvia Gorge in The Great Rift Valley

 Having our personal tour guide meant that we could design our safari as we went. As we were in the Maasai Steppe, Evie asked whether we could visit a Boma (village)....It was rewarding and exciting to be amongst these amazing people again and really appreciate how they live. This boma catered for tourists but was not so commercial  as to interfere with its authenticity.We loved the opportunity to watch the men jumping in traditional dance and then to meet the women and dance with them .... adorned with our own neck collars!

 Having watched the women during my previous boma visit, I knew how to roll my shoulders to get the collar to move rhythmically with the dance. I watched them carefully to stay with the rhythm...lots of fun and laughter!
 We are  dancing in this pic!
 My limited Swahili gave me an opportunity to actually talk with the women. They were so warm, friendly  and appreciative of my efforts to communicate.

We visited the inside of an individual hut constructed of wood, covered with mud. We learned that the soil is often mixed with cattle dung and urine to make it waterproof. The houses are built in a circle and the cattle and goats(their measure of wealth and to legalise marriage and source of food: milk and blood, their staple diet.) are kept in the inner circle at night to protect them from predators.

it was time to bargain for our goods! A typical tourist things to do but it meant the money was going directly to these people so I didn't mind at all! Fortunately I knew the language and bargained hard but Evie had been separated from me for this trade and paid mzungu mtali bei (white tourist prices)! Sorry Evie but I didn't realise you were being challenged!
Uncharacteristically, this Boma, having benefitted from the tourist dollar, has built a school for their younger children. when we entered they sang us the Tz National anthem and shyly watched us as we approached them. I went to the boys on the left and asked each one of them what their name was. Again they were surprised that I spoke Swahili and laughed and giggled as they spoke with me. I'm not sure how much learning happened that day (or any day actually) but the potential is there for them to be educated. I hope it isn't just for tourist attention!


The layers of volcanic ash deposited in the Olduvia gorge can be seen by the different colors. The layers were laid down in consecutive eras holding valuable archeological evidence of the proposed Evolution of Man
Olduvai Gorge is in the Ngorogoro Conservation Area and the history it bears fascinates me.
It's floor was formed about 2million years ago when lava poured into the area. A large saline lake was formed but fault caused tilting resulting in river action carving out a gorge. The formation of the gorge exposed the layers and the wealth of archaeological evidence within them.
Evie is standing in a cast of footprints (Laetoli Footprints) which were amongst the multitude of fossils and stone tools discovered during 1931-1959 by Louis and Mary Leakey. These finds support evidence of hominids existing 5 million years ago. 
5million years ago: The female skeleton recovered in Ethiopia and became known as 'Lucy' = 450cc brain. The Laetoli footprints of two adults and a child were from the same era as Lucy.
3.75 - 1.7 m yrs ago: The skull and bones of 'Nutcracker Man' affectionately named 'Boise' were uncovered.
1.7M yrs ago: stone tools found in NCA were used by 'Handy Man' Homo Habilis brain 600cc as well as by 'Upright Man' whose brain was larger 900 cc and existed around 1.5m yrs ago.

The Laetoli footprints have been covered up again to preserve them but we spent productive time on sight discovering the history listening to the tour guide and browsing in the comprehensive Museumwhich shows an excellent account of the discoveries in NCA.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.