The sun was at its full gleam. The parched desert beds were hot enough to burn feet. A barefoot woman emerged out of a small dome shaped house, made up of cow dung, in the midst of the desert. Wearing a red wrap and countless beaded necklaces, she giggled with other ladies standing outside the house under the canopy of hot blazing sun challenging the scorching heat and the emptiness of the lunar landscape of east Africa. Fetching their heads with empty water cans with the help of ropes, they made their way to the pit dug in a nearby dried up riverbed.
The women belong to the indigenous mysterious tribe of Africa, the Maasai. Living along the borders of Kenya and Tanzania, the Maasai tribe of east Africa is known for its rich cultural heritage and its semi-nomadic pastoral lifestyle. Defying the modern-age technological advancements and western culture influences, the tribe still follows its age-old tradition of living. Cattle are the utmost worth for the tribe. It is for the sake of their animals that they keep on wandering across the rugged terrains of deserts in search of water and fodder.
The entire continent of Africa has been dealing with severe water scarcity problems due to impending droughts. The reasons are many, but deforestation could be the major cause of prevailing drought and the infamous famine of African horn. The conditions are worse in remote areas and villages and the most affected are the pastoral tribes of Africa inhabiting the arid and semiarid regions of the country where water is a wealth and the cattle are god. Due to poor rainfall, prevailing scarcity of water, government negligence, and administrative loopholes, the indigenous tribes of Africa are losing their animals.
Dependent on their livestock for daily meal in the form of meat, milk, and blood, they are compelled to combine various other forms of livelihood along with their pastoral activities to survive on the toughest terrains of earth in extreme climatic conditions.
The effects of ongoing deforestation and illegal poaching practices combined with marginalization by the local administration may be the leading cause of extinction of the tribe’s ancient culture and tradition in the near future. But for now, they are keeping their heads high challenging the adverse circumstances and the bleakness of the environment. Emerging as true warrior tribes of Africa, they are committed to keep their stone-age traditions intact despite all odds of life.