Ngorongoro, Kay with a Bride


We have entered Tanzanian Maasai steppe, where I was in full safari gear with a young woman who was about to embark on the next stage of her life. Although she was in an English school at age 13, her father had determined to accept the Chief's offer to make her his third wife. She had no choice in the matter, but was very unhappy about it. As late as 1980, a Maasai girl this age would not have been allowed to decorate her lower ears, or to wear the long chains (equivalent to the offer of an engagement ring) and coiled brass bracelets of adult women. You don't want to know how those large holes in the earlobes were made, traditionally as a Maasai girl entered adolescence. The girls were also circumcised before marriage.

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