3 years ago over Christmas the Life Bus took an amazing journey to Tanzania.  Pam, Greg, Emily, Todd, and I climbed Kilimanjaro, experienced the wildebeest migration along with numerous other spectacular animals on safari in the Serengetti, and spent a week on Zanzibar.  I became fascinated by the Masai culture which manages to maintain many traditional customs while living side by side with the modern world.  On our drive from Arusha to the Serengetti, we had the opportunity to stop at a Masai village.  Despite the fact that this community probably sees its fair share of visitors, there was nothing that felt touristy about the experience.  It was, however, an incredible opportunity to actually step into (crawl into is really more what we did) one of the mud hut homes of the Masai.

The women traditionally are the ones to build these homes.  The huts are made of dung, sticks, grass, ash, and really anything else they can find.  These homes are intentionally simple as the Masai have been a nomadic culture.  That, is of course, changing to some degree.  The homes are very small, approximately 9″ x 12″ x 5″.

We were invited inside and the reality of how small the space is became very apparent.  Within this space the family does everything:  cooks, sleeps, and socializes.  The sleeping area consists of a small alcove off to the side.  The cooking area dominates the small space.  The smell of smoke inside was so thick I wasn’t sure how they are able to breath.  There was one funny moment while we were in the hut.  While sharing stories about Masai customs with us, our Masai guide took out his machete and waved it in the air.  We were all crouched shoulder to shoulder in this tiny space.  For an instant, my eyes got quite large.  Emily and I were quickly assessing the exit plan.  Unfortunately, I don’t remember what he was trying to show us in that moment.  The machete had my full attention.

I am choosing this as my selection for this week’s photo challenge because I continue to remain thankful to travel for opening my eyes as to how others in the world live and the places they call home.