Sunday, October 07, 2012

See Half the Sky through Oct 8 (& Tanzania)

You still have time to watch Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.  Watch part one through Monday Oct 8 and part two through Tuesday Oct 9.

In the US, you can watch them online now. Go to  See the links to Part One and Part Two in the beginning of the article under the picture.

In Tanzania, we went to a Maasai Women's Beading Cooperative, near Tarangire National Park.   The women quickly selected bracelets and placed several on our arms while we two shoppers looked around.  Chatting and laughing with each other, it wasn't long before we joined them.  They are quite the sales team.

Our guide started laughing during price discussions.  The women would talk to him in Swahili and then switch to the Maasai language when they didn't want him to know what they were discussing.

Our guide also wondered why they all weighed in on prices.  Finally, at the end, he learned that each woman used a certain color or combination of beads in the hook closure on the bracelet.  They knew who made what we wanted to buy, and who had a say in the deal.   He was impressed.  Through this discovery, we were able to find out which of the women made the items we bought (more chatting and laughing all around).

When we wanted to take a group photo, some of the women picked out necklaces for everyone and give us visitors one of their cloths to wear.   Notice our guys stayed far away from all this activity.

Now are are ready for the photo.    Then, they asked if wanted to buy what we were wearing. 

The Maasai have held on to their traditional culture, living in small family groups or villages and caring for their cattle and livestock.  Sometimes there are problems about where they graze their cattle.  The government has tried to change their lifestyle, but the Maasai prefer to change on their own terms.  

It wasn't unusual to see Maasai men now in jobs as national park rangers (below), safety/security at the safari camps, or working with guides to locate wildlife.   They know the land and the animal behavior very well. 

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