PhotoPOSTcard: Maasai Rite of Passage

Maasai boys going through their circumcision ritual

As we drove toward the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, we passed through Maasai tribal land once again. We often passed by groups of young boys hanging out by the side of the road, covered in black cloths and wearing white paint on their faces. We learned that these boys were undergoing their circumcision ritual. Boys in a village between the age of 12 and 15 are circumcised during a special ceremony. Part of the challenge for them is to undergo the procedure in complete silence (and without any anesthetics either). While their body heals for the next 3-4 months, they spend the day on their own out in the bush, dressed in black with their faces painted with white chalk designs. This rite of passage is supposed to take them from being a boy to becoming a warrior. The boys expect payment in exchange for being photographed, and our driver haggled a reasonable price ($2). Presumably, that was why we tended to see them on the routes frequented by the tourist vans.

Thanks for visiting.

Rose