It is a Wednesday afternoon, three Maasai men enter ‘Enkine butchery’ to masticate the 2kg of roasted meat they had ordered.
They come out with toothpicks between their teeth and their big tummies tell the story. Life is sweet. They then head out to their popular joint, ‘Enkanasa Hotel’ where they join like-minded men for tea and politics.
It is a market day. Their wives are in the market rummaging through mitumba shoes for their kids as schools are re-opening on Monday.
This is the story of the sad narcissistic lifestyle of Maasai men. The men who do not give hoot about their three or so wives or their many kids who languish in poverty.
Oloomoni is a respected Maasai man in Enkong’u town. He is not learned but fellow men know him to be kind-hearted and wise. He has 432 acres of land 330 of which is arable. Renting land in a year costs KES 8,000 in Enkong’u. He has around 600 herds of cattle and over 900 sheep and goats. He has three wives and very many children. He drives a 1989 Toyota Stout, the car that grants him respect in town.
Of course people like Oloomoni are always given preference in any type of communal meetings simply because they have a little something. They are respected because they drive a Stout that penetrates the deepest of Maa towns and his car is always available in times of need e.g. When they want to rush someone to hospital.
Oloomoni is entitled, he has a say. Though not older than other wise clan elders, he helps in decision making. He brags that he personally knows the governor, the local MP and other prominent politicians. Sadly in Enkong’u and many other Maa towns, respect and honor is earned by wealth and not by intellect, experience nor wisdom.
Of course during election campaigns, political aspirants get in touch with people like Oloomoni. They shower him with praise and little hand-outs because they know his influence is enough to buy them the votes they need. In his local joint, Oloomoni will be the political analyst able to convince even the learned who the best candidate will be.
Back in their homes, Maasai men like Oloomoni have their families languishing in poverty. Their girls secretly undergo Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and are usually married off at a very tender age. His sons are mostly partially schooled and the little education they get doesn’t really help them in life. Most of them turn out to be drunkards and do odd jobs awaiting the death of their father for them to get an inheritance.
Since Oloomoni is entitled and narcissistic, he is automatically mean. He would not like anybody else to take his position. He is the one known to ferry people home in the evening, he is known to be influential and kind-hearted to other people. He would make hefty contributions to harambees and local churches to make his name relevant. He would make contributions to other people’s kids’ graduation parties while most of his kids are not schooled.
Oloomoni has kids he loves, selected ones, and only those get the best treatment. He also loves his youngest wife so much that he would do anything for her. They are twenty years apart. This creates bad blood between his kids and his wives. His kids grow knowing that to be respectable, you need to amass wealth. They grow learning that you need to know important people to make it.
Oloomoni’s family is always in wrangles. His wives fight amongst each other and his kids are always in bad blood. Surprisingly, he is always tge arbitrator and whatever he says is final. In Maasailand, respect especially towards your father is key. Sometimes it is about him and the government simply because he rented out all the parcel of land leaving his older wives languishing in poverty as they have nothing to farm. But he is an important man, if he has ties with the County Governor and the local MP who is the local chief?
You may wonder, how does a person so wealthy like Oloomoni have such a heart? Why and how does he create enemity against his own blood? A person who goes to church every Sunday? Why would his kids wish for his death?
Well, most Maasai readers will say I have spoken their situation or of someone close they know. Why? Because it is a copy paste of almost every Maasai family. And where did it come from? It was hereditary, the character was inherited. The character that makes most of Maasai men think that it is always about them, the character that makes them treat their women and children as toys, making them grow up thinking that they are less human.
It is time that Maasai men stop this trend. It is time they changed their character. It is time they stop living lavishly while their kids are malnourished. It is time they stopped favoring some kids over others and showing them that they are superior over the rest. It is time ALL their kids go to school. It is time they stopped the habit of wanting to feel important with politicians and focus on the generation of kids they are bringing to the world. It is time they taught their kids about values and good character. It is time they become world greatest dads.
I am speaking to you Maasai man. Don’t be a product of what negative culture that was engrained in you. Be the change you want to see in your kids.