How To Explain Puberty To A 11 Year Old Boy African Massai Warriors of Kenya and Their Beautiful African Home Decor

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African Massai Warriors of Kenya and Their Beautiful African Home Decor

The Maasai warriors are one of the most prominent and respected ethnic groups in Kenya. Warriors are so afraid that lions and cheetahs will run away or stop chasing game if a Maasai warrior is nearby. As soon as a Maasai warrior is initiated, their spear and shield are decorated with red, a symbol of their status in society.

The central unit of Massai society is age. Although boys are sent off with calves and lambs as soon as they can get their hands on them, childhood is mostly a time for boys to play. Girls are responsible for chores like cooking and milking. Every 15 years or so, a new and individually named generation of warriors will be launched. This includes most boys between the ages of 12 and 25 who have reached puberty and are not part of the previous age group. One rite of passage from boyhood to junior warrior status is the painful circumcision ceremony, performed without anesthesia. The Maa word for circumcision is emorata. The boy must endure the operation in silence. Expressions of pain bring shame, albeit temporarily. The healing process will take 3-4 months and the boys must remain in black cloths for 4-8 months.

During this period, newly circumcised young men will live in a “manyata”, a “village” built by their mothers. Manyatta has no surrounding barricade for protection, emphasizing the warrior’s role of protecting the community. Further rites of passage are required before attaining elder warrior status, culminating in the eunoto, “coming of age” ceremony.

When a new generation of warriors is initiated, the existing warriors will graduate and become Junior Elders, who are responsible for political decisions until they in turn become Senior Elders.

The warriors are in charge of the security of the society and now spend most of their time on walks throughout the Maasai lands, beyond the limits of their borders. They are also much more involved in the livestock trade than they used to be, developing and improving basic supplies through trade and barter rather than theft as in the past. Boys are responsible for looking after small livestock. During the dry season, both warriors and boys take responsibility for herding livestock. Elders are directors and advisors for day-to-day activities. Women are responsible for building houses, as well as providing water, collecting firewood, milking cattle and cooking for the family. One Maasai myth is that every young man must kill a lion before being circumcised. Although lion hunting is an activity of the past, and lion hunting is banned in East Africa, lions are still hunted when they spoil Maasai livestock, and young warriors who engage in traditional lion killing face no significant consequences. Growing concern about lion populations has prompted at least one program that promotes accepting compensation when a lion kills livestock, rather than hunting and killing the predator. However, killing a lion confers great value and celebrity status in the community.

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