This Father’s Day, I plan on taking my dad for a virtual adventure to the pride lands of the Masai Mara
Being a travel journalist, I yearn embarking on at least one trip a month to a foreign land. Meeting new people and learning about their cultures and customs is a thrill for me. After being in lockdown for almost three monthsdue to the pandemic, I was looking forward to any opportunity to travel the world. This is when I found out about a digital event that fit the bill exactly. A boutique travel company called xplorearth.us, which curates tailor-made and experiential journeys to unique destinations, was hosting a live zoom ‘Breakfast with the Masai’ event with Masai guides in Kenya.
The Masai are an indigenous group of semi-nomadic people settled in Kenya and northern Tanzania. Due to their distinct traditions, customs and dress,the Masai are amongst the most well-known African tribes.The goal of the fund-raising event was to showcase rare glimpses into the daily lives of the Masai. They are dependent solely on safari tourism but are suffering greatly due to the current scenario. With no incomes and little to no government support, the tribes have literally been reduced to living off the land. Through this event, xplorearth.us sought to lend a helping hand.
On the morning of the event, I woke up excitedly at the prospect of interacting with people of other nations. I have never been to Africa, and I didn’t know what to expect. The one-hour event began with three Masai safari guides introducing themselves followed by a short welcome video message from other members of the tribe. The Masai guides that I ‘met’ introduced themselves as Dixon, Dennis and Tobiko and were decked out in traditional red garb (shukas) and beaded jewellery – their grasp of Zoom video technology surprised me!
When the event started, I couldn’t believe that I was witnessing live footage from the Masai village. Dixon took over the event and told us that he would be taking us to meet the village chief and that we could ask questions. Dixon walked through fields and cattle shelters to the tribal hut of the chief. The chief, a toothless but stately man, sat waiting with his wife and cheerfully greeted us. The other attendees on the call askedhim questions about their traditions, the wildlife and how their lives hadbeen impacted during the pandemic. This question-answer session was followed by Dixon introducing us to other members of the chief’s family, including his other wives (we found out that he has five) and his giggly children.
Everyone was super friendly and the children actually began singing and dancing for us. Dennis and Tobiko then took over and shared interesting stories of their interaction withendemic wildlife and anecdotes from their game drives followed by a very powerful video of a pride of lionesses with their litter. The event ended with the Masai guides panningover the savannah horizon as we gazed at a blazing sunset.
I realized that I had to travel to Kenya and meet these tribes’ people in person one day. What I loved about the event was not only the fact that I learned so much about the Masai, but also that for that one hour, I truly felt transported to Africa! Now, I completely understand why my friends who have been on safaris keepreturning to Africa. I felt like this event was the tip of an iceberg and that on every visit or interaction, I would discover just enough to keep me coming back for more!
Luckily, I found out that xplorearth.us was hosting another live event with the Masai tribe on June 21st to celebrate Father’s Day. If you would like to join us for this Father’s Day Adventure, register here. I know I will be regularly attending these zoom sessions till I can travel again!
– Pallavi Mehra (Travel Journalist)