“Everyone is out for himself or herself these days” is a remark often heard, and frequently made by the Maasai themselves. As elsewhere, some Maasai are adopting this way of looking at things.
This week saw brotherly Concern dramatically played out here at Olbalbal. The youngest age group called derisively by the older boys, InturuEnkop (Sod Busters) met to help an age mate. Lesion fell from the back of a fast moving pick up truck traveling up to Ngorongoro from Olbalbal. The young man was badly injured with a broken leg and multiple head lacerations. As he explained to his age mates gathered in the shade of a tree just below the mission, he will need an operation to correct the damaged leg. The boys deliberated for a number of hours, and then collected the equivalent of about $500 for the operation and related expenses.
The age group just above the “Sod Busters” also had a meeting this week. They met to help a cattle and goat poor age mate to obtain a wife. Under the same tree, the assembled “Karianga” age group collected 30 goats from their members for their wifeless or in the local idiom, their brother “without a cooking fire”.
It is true that the closeness and interdependence of age mates these days is a far cry from what it used to be. In the “old days” a warrior could not even drink a gourd of milk without the presence of an age mate to share it. It seems that in really difficult situations age mates are still very ready to kick in a buck or two to help each other.