“Out On The Veld”

TANZANIA Through Harold’s Lens:

The Maasai people reside in both Tanzania and Kenya.

They are a small tribe, accounting for only about 0.7 percent of Tanzania’s population, with a similar number living in Kenya.

Maasai speak Maa, a Nilotic ethnic language from their origin in the Nile region of North Africa.

“Smallest Warrior”

TANZANIA Through Harold’s Lens:

A small warrior.

Only 15.

I found him out on the Serengeti with five of his buddies. They were all 15-year old warriors to be and of great importance as a source of pride in the Maasai culture.

To be a Maasai is to be born into one of the world’s last great warrior cultures.

From boyhood to adulthood, young Maasai boys begin to learn the responsibilities of being a man (helder) and a warrior. The role of a warrior is to protect their animals from human and animal predators, to build kraals (Maasai homes) and to provide security to their families.

“Hands That Herd”

TANZANIA Through Harold’s Lens:

What I think is amazing about these hands are the numerous age lines and the texture. I found these hands out on the Serengeti. They belong to a Maasai warrior to be who had been herding his tribe’s cattle all of his life.

He was only 15.

“Warrior In Training”

TANZANIA Through Harold’s Lens:

Maasai young boy about 15, who has just completed one of the Maasai Rites of Passage, Emuratta(circumcision). It is performed without pain killers. He is then sent out into the plains alone for six months and is not allowed to bathe.

I found him on the Serengeti.

“Warrior To Be”

TANZANIA Through Harold’s Lens:

Wearing traditional white chalk paste in circles around his eyes, this young 15-year old Maasai boy is celebrating his completion of the three main rites of passage of the Maasai.


TANZANIA Through Harold’s Lens:

The creative talents of the Maasai are passed down from generation to generation. The jewelry is always made by the Maasai women. Relatives and fellow tribe members help each other.

“Cultural Curiosity”

TANZANIA Through Harold’s Lens:

Childhood passes swiftly for Maasai girls. Traditionally married in their teens, their prime duty is to produce sons to increase the father’s prestige within the community.


TANZANIA Through Harold’s Lens:

Slowly our Land Rover rolled down the dusty dirt road through the Serengeti of Maasai country. As we were meandering around a curve I spotted a herd of sheep and goats.

Then I looked behind them.

Spotting this little Maasai carrying the baby lamb all alone on the veld I called “halt”.

Leaping from the Land Rover, I ran about 10 yards, kneeled down and fired my Nikon.


TANZANIA Through Harold’s Lens:

In the dark of night.

From five miles away.

Maasai villagers hear the loud roar of the male lions.

Weighing over 500 pounds, a man-eater is possibly stalking the Maasai village.

While lions do not usually hunt people, man-eating behavior in rural areas of the Serengeti increased greatly from 1990 to 2004.

Lions attacked 815 people killing and eating 563.


TANZANIA Through Harold’s Lens:

Thorns from the Serengeti acacia thorn tree. 3″ long. Strong. Do not bend.

To protect their animals from lions, the Maasai cut limbs from these trees and carefully weave a long 6′ high fence circling the “inside” of their villages.

Inside the thorn fence, their animals. At night.

Outside the thorn fence, the Maasai. In mud, grass-thatched huts.

On one of my journey’s into a Maasai village with my camera I spotted something I wanted to shoot. It was very close to me. I backed up a few feet. Right into the Maasai 6′ high thorn fence. The sharp thorns entered the backs of my legs. Fifty long needles pierced my legs. I was off balance. I was falling over backwards.

A Maasai warrior grabbed my arm and jerked me upright. I thanked him and wiped off my sweat. Then took a look at the backs of my legs.

Blood dripping everywhere.

Thanks to the Guides and their medical box and skills.

“Beauty Of The Bead”

TANZANIA Through Harold’s Lens:

The Maasai love creating their craftsmanship. I could not photograph enough of it.

The Maasai women came up to me.

Thanked me for shooting photos of them and their colorful jewelry.

Hung a necklace or wristband on me.

The jewelry now resides in our home.

“Mom’s Back”

TANZANIA Through Harold’s Lens:

Very interesting how the Massai woman carry their babies behind them like this. In many parts of the undeveloped world, the babies are carried in front next to their warm, beating heart.

“Daily Life”

TANZANIA Through Harold’s Lens:

The Massai have a prayer:

‘give us the strength to do the work that we have started here – here being the land implanted into Massailand by their Fathers – which will grow and thrive ‘like the oreteti tree that is green even in times of drought’.

“Our Beauty”

TANZANIA Through Harold’s Lens:

I find it absolutely amazing that these Maasai women can create all of this beautiful jewelry out in the middle of the Serengeti, living in mud huts, surrounded by a very large thorn bush fence to protect them from the wild lions. And, these very small villages have absolutely no utilities.

“Our Culture”

TANZANIA Through Harold’s Lens:

To answer a question I have been asked a few times.

Yes, both Maasai men and women have holes in both their ears. It forms a major focus for jewelry as the elongated ear lobes are hung with beaded and metal ornaments.

Maasai start this when they are very young.

A slit is made in their ears and wooden plugs are inserted to stretch the slit lobe. As the slit opens more into a hole the plugs increase in size.

“Hand Hewed Home”

TANZANIA Through Harold’s Lens:

The Maasai live in mud walled one room homes with an earthen floor and a grass thatched roof.

Everything to build their home comes from the land.

Only the women build the home.

The men are not involved.

This Maasai woman was building her home, layer of mud on top of layer of mud.

After taking a few photos I asked her if I could help and next thing I knew her hands and mine were immersed in a pile of mud hewing the sides of her new home.

What a rich bonding experience!