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Children with an Alive & Kicking ball

Tag: Maasai

Reflecting on Maasai moments

We aren’t doing the “please pose for photos” thing, like most tourists would probably tend to do with the Maasai. They seemed to be quite intrigued by The Ball and why we’re filming it in all kinds of crazy locations. There is often a real conflict here generated by the tourist thing that people do — trundling in with their cameras, have the locals pose for pictures and then trundling off again.

The Maasai way of jugglingThe Maasai way of juggling

We weren’t expecting them to warm to us as they have done. The first day we were here in Longido, the Maasai kept their distance. It was the locals who were playing with us. The Maasai appear to be cautious people. But we can understand their caution. Perhaps they saw that we are here to have fun. And they understand this. We are not parachuting in and trying to come to terms with and understand their culture in a matter of hours. That is simply not possible. We don’t have the time to do a proper ethnography or cultural study. And this is not our mission anyway.

Christian's way of juggling using local fruitChristian’s way of juggling using local fruit

We have brought something tangible, something unique and something magical to them. They took their time in the first few days of our visit. They sussed us and our strange ball out. It has been a lovely introduction to Tanzania. This has been really special arriving here incognito. And still the spirit of The Ball shines through.

Maasai women sign The BallMaasai women sign The Ball

The more I think about it. The more respect I have for the Maasai. They have greeted us with friendship and not with “one picture 10 dollars, come on my tour.” They have just invited us into their homes and invited us to play football with them and helped us to kick The Ball onwards to South Africa and done so with a real spirit. The Spirit of Football perhaps.

Big up the Maasai massive

Kalyibu, from the Maasai Boma tribe invites us to visit his village, just outside of Longido.

All signs point to a fascinating dayAll signs point to a fascinating day

The Maasai here have upheld their traditional beliefs: They wear their traditional clothes, pierce their ears as they have for centuries (ear lobes are so large they can wrap them around the tops of their ears) and they still live very simply in thatched huts surrounded by their animals.

The distinctive thatched roofs of the bomaThe distinctive thatched roofs of the boma

As we move towards the Boma we meet many Maasai who are eager to touch The Ball. The Maasai appear to be a tribe full of goalkeepers as they are very keen to throw The Ball around and not so good on the ground.

A female Maasai goalkeeper signs The BallA female Maasai goalkeeper signs The Ball

After a few yellow cards are dealt out by Christian for handball, perhaps realising that they are on the brink of being sent off, they begin to pass The Ball around with their feet and relish this new experience. Eventually we arrive at the village and its time for a game of football. It’s suggested that the cows, goats and donkeys can play too but they seem quite shy.

The Ball at The BomaThe Ball at The Boma

Andrew fires The Ball past the Maasai goalkeeper at the entrance (goal) to the village and everyone enters. The Ball is kicked into a hut, where a stew is on the boil.

Rolling into a traditional hutRolling into a traditional hut

The Ball seems to hold an almost mystical value to the tribes’ people: children and adults alike want to touch it and kick it and every single one of them signs it. As we leave the village, we have forgotten something very special. The Ball!! They run after us and hand The Ball back.

Not posing at all, Maasai-styleNot posing at all, Maasai-style

We feel honoured to have been guests of Maasai. We’ve won again and The Ball rolls ever on.

The Ball 2018 left England on 25th March 2018 and travelled to the World Cup in Russia.

The Ball 2014 kicked off from England on 9th Jan 2014 and headed to the World Cup in Brazil.

The Ball 2010 left England on 24th Jan 2010 headed to the Opening Ceremony in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Ball 2006 travelled from London to the Opening Ceremony in Munich, Germany.

The Ball 2002 was carried 7000 miles across Europe and Asia to the World Cup finals in Korea & Japan.