Warriors Retire Reluctantly

A reluctantly retiring warrior age group met this afternoon just below the mission. After agreeing to clean the silt-clogged spring in the hills above Olbalbal, they discussed the steps they will soon take to becoming young elders. In three weeks each warrior will drink milk alone, individually and apart from other warriors. A Maasai warrior never drinks milk alone; he always shares the milk gourd with at least one other warrior. Then in September the Ilkurianga age group will take another major step to elder hood; they will eat meat publicly. Maasai warriors only eat meat among themselves and away from the “destructive eyes” of women. These rites will signal, much to their annoyance, that a new age group is replacing them as warriors. The age group they derisively named “Etur engop”, “sod busters” is now open. The “Sod busters” have already begun to be circumcised, and, in fact, there will be a circumcision celebration tomorrow at the nearby village of Olenditai. These events make the Ilkirianga very unhappy campers, and in fact, after planning to un-silt the spring and talking about their coming demise as ruling warriors with the individual drinking of milk later this month and the public eating of meat in September, there was a third order of business. They enthusiastically decided to give those upstarts, those sod busting sorry excuses for warriors as much of a hard time as possible as they go about usurping “our God given place” as warriors. All this rhetoric will not prevent them from attending the circumcision feast of a “sod breaker” tomorrow, dancing with the girls, and keeping a sharp eye out for any young prospective “Etur Engop”, daring to show his face at the feast of an age mate. In the unlikely event of one showing up, he’ll be beaten and chased away by the lame duck Ilkorianga.

2 thoughts on “Warriors Retire Reluctantly”

  1. Nice encapsulation of the rather complicated Maa male social structure.
    Reminds me of our (US) relationships between WWI (my Dad), WWII
    (me) and those :”whippersnapers”  of Korea, Nam, and Iraq.Afghan..
    Your friend from the generation circumcized in the ’30s.
    Roy “Nemeyengiyenga” Shaffer 

  2. Roy (Lemeyengiyenga – He who doesn’t rest,
    thanks for your comment. I guess that puts you among the Ilterito. Wow!! There are no living Maasai left of that age group!

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