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Birth of the Maasai Community – Maasai Creation Story

The Maasai, a group of folks living in the sunny lands of Kenya and Tanzania, are famous for their unique culture. They have their own special way of life, which is all about taking care of cattle. You might wonder, what’s so special about cattle? Well, for the Maasai, cattle is a god given gift.

Now, here’s the cool part: the Maasai also have a story about how everything came to existance, like a bedtime story but for their whole community. It’s a tale of how the world got started and where they belong in it. It’s important to note that Maasai cosmology and creation stories may vary among different Maasai clans and regions, but the general themes of a divine creator, the creation of the world, and the allocation of responsibilities among different ethnic groups are common elements in Maasai oral tradition. Here goes…

In the beginning, there was only a pitch-black abyss of nothingness until the great creator, Enkai, also known as Engai decided to create the world. Enkai is often depicted as both a benevolent and a punishing god, embodying both the sky god and the god of the underworld.
He began the creation process by sending down a powerful, rainbow-colored snake called Olapa, or if you’re feeling fancy, Laiser. Olapa was no ordinary serpent; it descended from the heavens and coiled around Earth, shaping the landscape. As Olapa slithered and twisted, it sculpted everything: mountains, valleys, rivers, and plains.
Once the landscaping was in order, Enkai decided, “Why stop there?” So, he turned his attention into creating living beings, and made three groups of people.
First up, the Maasai. According to the creation story, the maasai, were given cattle as their primary source of sustenance and wealth. Cattle are at the center of Maasai culture and identity, and they are believed to be a divine gift from Enkai. The Maasai were also given the responsibility of guarding and caring for the cattle and the land.
Enkai also created the Kamba and the Kikuyu, and had extra gifts to dole out. The Kikuyu and the Kamba got their fair share too. Enkai gave them the noble task of farming. So, while the Maasai were out with their cattle, the Kikuyu and Kamba were tilling the land and growing crops.
Enkai left the three groups with rules, “Live in harmony with the land, respect each other’s task, and don’t mess things up.”

This Maasai creation story underscores the central importance of cattle in Maasai culture and highlights their deep connection to the land. It’s also a reminder that Enkai, the great creator, is always watching. So, when you’re around the Maasai, don’t forget your manners, be hospitable, have some courage, and keep the peace – just like Enkai would want.

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