The main Maasai clan found in Shompole are the Loidokilani clan. Being close to the Tanzanian border, there are also many of the Wasonjo Maasai of northern Tanzania from the Lake Natron region. Unlike the Maasai we are used to seeing with the bright coloured beads, these Masai have very little colour in their bead work which is mainly white and very striking.
The Shompole Conservancy (20,000 acres) was set up over ten years ago. Its main aim was to keep the area as a grass bank for the cattle in times of severe drought. This area also acts as the same grazing refuge for the wildlife to such an extent that now the ecosystem hosts one of the highest densities of giraffe in Kenya! There are plenty of lion, cheetah and leopard and elephants have started coming back to the area after many decades. Large herds of buffalo have been seen and there is a lot of plains game (zebra, wildebeest, impala, eland) to be found. The nocturnal wildlife viewing is excellent with many small carnivores including bat eared foxes, Africa wild cats, genets and even the shy caracal to be seen every now and then.
With the Maasai women running all aspects of the Enkang (boma) there are a lot of things we in the “west” take for granted. Here a Masai woman is milking her cattle for the evening family meal.
Cattle are everything to the Maasai people. This is their wealth and their me sure of success. The Maasai traditionally believe that all cattle in the world belong to them and they treasure and live side by side with their animals. Sometimes the cattle get killed by the big predators, yet in this part of the world they do not tend to retaliate or demand compensation, saying that they have coped with large predators for hundreds of years.
Here Ole Mpia from the near by enkang holds our little boy Taru. The Maasai men in particular love children, and Taru seems to be no exception. The Maasai do not need much. Ole Mpia has no fridge, electricity and no TV. They live in the true sense of community, helping each other out when needed.
Their cattle , sheep and goats mean the world to the Maasai, and here you can see the way they protect their animals from lion, leopard and hyena by a thorny bush fence. This is in the middle of the enkang with an outer thorny fence to protect themselves. So, the animals are behind two fences, while the Masai are behind one.
Seyia our daughter sitting with the members of the community. She is learning from a young age the nature of extreme respect that children have for adults in the community.