On Tuesday, August 31, 2010 a Maasai came into our classroom and visited. His name was Mr. Ibra. He is from Northern Tanzania but now lives here in an apartment in Dar es Salaam. He taught us many things about his people. Mr. Ibra explained the importance of cows in his culture. Cows are used as a sign of wealth. All parts of the cow are used for different things. The skin is used for beds. They use the poo to build houses. He taught us is that they drink blood. When they get the blood from the cow, they use a special arrow that stops the arrow from going all the way in and hurting the cow. A container is used to catch the blood that comes from the cow and then they put cow poo on the hole in the neck to act like a bandage. Spears are also very important to help defend themselves and their cows from lions and other predators. Mr. Ibra also taught us that he eats meat.
One of the most interesting things we learned is that sometimes when lions attack cows, the Maasai warriors have to go and kill the lion. They will build a trap by digging a small hole in the ground. Then they put a piece of cow meat in the hole and cover it with branches and leaves. Then the Maasai men hide behind rocks or in bushes and wait for the lion to come. When the lion sniffs the meat and comes close, he will slip on the branches. At the same time, the Maasais shoot arrows as the lion. It is dangerous because if the lion is not hit properly he gets angry and could hurt the Maasai.
After Mr. Ibra was done visiting each of the Grade 2 classrooms, all of us met on the field and made a big circle. Mr. Ibra brought 11 Maasai friends and they danced and jumped. One Maasai jumped so high that his head even touched a leaf in the tree that he was standing under. Mr. Elliot jumped too! Because the Maasai don’t use drums, they used their voices to mimic the sounds of drum beats. As the Maasais danced, all of us Grade 2 students started to jump too! One student even got picked up by Mr. Ibra and was raised up and down very high as they jumped.
The Maasais have a very different culture from us. They drink different things and dance differntly but we also have many things in common. We all play and have fun. We all love. Our bodies are made the same on the inside. We all smile and we all cry.
Teacher’s Note: The students made the connection between the similarities and differences of the Maasai and IST cultures and a book we read by Mem Fox called Whoever You Are, where there was a repetitive phrase “ whoever we are, wherever we are, all over the world.”
Miss Lane’s Grade 2 Lively Ladybugs