An 8,5 month operation for retrieval of the Sept.11 terrorism victims at the World Trade Center concluded with a 20-minute closure ceremony in New York on May 30. On that day the world expressed sympathy to 2,800 people killed by the awful tragedy. It is rather strange, but there are people in the center of the African continent who know nothing of the Sept.11 terrorism attacks.
Kenya’s tribe of Masai officially gave a gift to the US Ambassador to Kenya to express the sympathy with the terrorism victims: 14 cows. The Masai treat cows as sacred creatures; the gift was given to the USA to demonstrate, how the events of Sept.11 have touched the remotest parts of the globe. The ceremony took place in one of the remotest villages at the Tanzania border.
The US Ambassador was touched with the gift, but at the same time could not understand what he should do with the cows. Indeed, it would be too expensive to transport the cows to the USA, but the sacred animals can not be killed either. Thus, for the sake of diplomatic reasons, the cattle will be exchanged for decorations made by the Masai.
Masai is a group of people living in Southern Kenya (400,000 people) and Tanzania (270,000 people). They stick to traditional beliefs. The tribe’s main trades are nomadic cattle-breeding (zebu, donkey; unmarried young men graze the cattle and women milk the cattle), beekeeping, hunting, fishing. Special groups of Masai (arusha, quawi) are occupied with agriculture (pumpkin, maize), that is considered a non-prestigious occupation. The Masai crafts are: blacksmith's work, making of clothes and shields of animal skins, making of musical instruments, snuff boxes and crockery of horns and hoofs. Since old times natural exchange existed between Masai and people occupied with agriculture. Present-day Tanzanian Government takes every measure to make Masai settled.
A traditional settlement, a kraal, consists of 20 to 50 huts that are enclosed with a fence. The flat-roofed huts are made of twigs, covered with grass and coated with clay and manure. Huts of Masai occupied in agriculture have conical roofs made of grass. Traditional Masai clothes are a cape and band made of leather, warriors wear hats made of ostrich feathers, decorations made of skin, women wear massive collars of wire (nowadays, they are often made of glass beads). Masai shave their heads, warriors have pigtails. Traditionally, two foreteeth on the lower jaw are extracted, ears are pierced and ear lobes are made longer.
Dmitry Chirkin PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/06/04/42179.html