by Work the World

Hello! It is Lewis the Maasai guide here (not Lewis in the office in Brighton - ha ha!). This week I have two stories to share with you from the Rachel and Liz's recent village experience . One is about the problems caused when there is different cultural practices, the other is about how different cultures deal with severe pain.

Due to the heavy rains recently the water pipes that come to the village were swept with rain, therefore the villagers are forced to collect water from the nearest river which is about 3 km away. I did not know this and woke up on the second morning and went to the kitchen to get some water. This is where the problems started... when Rachel came in she also went to get the water and there was none left. Along with Liz, she had helped the host mother collect this water from the river and was upset because if I wanted some, why had I not collected it for myself? On my side I couldn't see why she was upset because in our Maasai culture, men do not collect water, this is normally women's duty. Rachel felt that it should be 50 by 50 but being Maasai, I did not agree the 50 by 50 Rachel was talking about can work - the men have other jobs.

The little fight had to stop as we were all getting late for the dispensary, so had to leave. On the way we discussed the situation in more length and Rachel told me that the rains had meant there was no water in the village. I explained the different jobs of men and women and she told me that at home men and women both do the same things. We realised our fight was because of the cultural differences that can affect everything we do.

The second story happened at the dispensary and is about the maasai warrior who had injury on his leg. He was in severe pain but on cleaning the wound, Rachel and Liz were surprised to see the maasai warrior not showing any expression on the face. He was sitting like a dead log! This amazed them a lot, because it was different from what they are used to. What they learned later was that, because that guy was a warrior and since he was treated by a lady he was not supposed to show any expression of pain.

According to Maasai circumcision lessons, a warrior should not show that they feel any pain whenever anything is happening to them, no matter how painful it is. They should always keep the state they had when they start doing anything. If eyes are open, they should not blink, if mouth is shut you should not open it, anything contrary will mean you're scared or showing signs of crying!

For now he's busy taking Rachel to Oldonyo Lengai mountain.... they clearly made up after their argument!

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