Only the Mountains Do Not Move
I was surprised to see this book and I didn’t hesitate to request it from NetGalley. The Maasai insist on continuing their culture despite everything and everyone and I love that about them.
When I studied Linguistics at the University of Oregon, SIL brought a Maasai over for us to learn aspects of their language. I focused on their numbering system, which is based on the livestock. I will never forget hearing the pounding in our ceiling and running up to the guy’s hall to see what was going on and finding our Maasai friend showing his roomates how to do the Maasai leap.
I read this book with a specific picture of the their culture in my head from our friend’s stories. Many of the things in the book resonated true with me. A family took the author in and showed her a lot of their life.
Some of the book is obviously “nice” keeping it kid-friendly. There is mention of cow dung used in the mud for the huts, but it is discreet compared to what I had heard, which is good. :-) She was similarly discreet regarding their food. She mentions drinking blood, but only in the Author’s Note at the back. The danger of the wild African landscape is also downplayed. The women travel in groups and the men are skilled with their spears, but there are only hints at running into lions often. So, kids have a great introduction into this unique culture while adults are given more.
What I enjoyed the most is the details in the day to day life. The author captured things my friend didn’t share, like how big their homes are, how big the community, just how free their livestock is to forage. The pictures show them creating bracelets and playing games and how the men stay together in a group. The author captured the every-day life.
I think there is a lot more that isn’t shared, but this book is still a great peak into the Maasai way of life.