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Maasai life part IV

Age sets

When the children are born they follow different paths depending if they are male or female.

The early stages are not very different, but when they start growing it changes.

Women

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When the children become 5-6 years old start actively helping their mothers in their daily duties, around the boma as cleaning and cooking.

As they grow they start helping to collect firewood and water and eventually to milk the cows.

When they reach around twelve years of age they are called Ndito, they are going into adulthood, during this time they are assigned a special manyatta where they live and around which they also party with the young warriors, they sing, dance, and sleep together following a tradition called esoto. If children are conceived during esoto is not considered a shame but it will make the woman sought after as there is a demonstration that she is fertile.

At the end of this time is when the girls are circumcised and they enter into sipolio, during this stage they recover from the wounds and cannot participate to the esoto anymore. They cannot cry as if they do their dowry may be reduced

After sipolio they marry and become esiangiki, they are still young and have no children or just one or two, when they become older and have two or more children they become endasat.

The marriage is often arranged by the fathers or by the husband to be with the father of the girl and the price can be different from area to area but most of the times is around three cows, three goats and three sheep.

The duties of the woman are many, cleaning the boma, collecting firewood and water, collecting building material and building the manyatta, cooking, beading, milking the cows (the men are only allowed when the cows are brought to graze for weeks far from the boma). That is why the first wife will ask the husband to marry again in order to share the burden and to have company during the daily duties

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