My brother works as an oil engineer out in Africa and every time he returns he beguiles us with his fantastical tales. The operation had to be halted for a whole day because a money got in and no one could catch it. The insects, they are as large as birds and the birds, they are like angels. Giraffes shimmy across the horizon and families live in harmony with arid scrub land. The exploration is controversial and although schools are being built and roads constructed, arguable little money is ever seen by the citizens of Kenya. Many of the workers are however locals, and one such man is one of the Maasai people and is my brother’s friend.
The Maasai are a Nilotic ethnic group of semi-nomadic people inhabiting southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. They are among the best known local populations due to their residence near the many game parks of Southeast Africa, and their distinctive customs and dress. Recently, Oxfam has claimed that the lifestyle of the Maasai should be embraced as a response to climate change because of their ability to farm in deserts and scrublands. Many Maasai tribes throughout Tanzania and Kenya welcome visits to their village to experience their culture, traditions, and lifestyle.
Every time my brother’s friend returns to the compound, he brings with him another piece of jewellery which has been hand crafted by his wife. Probably the most beautiful creation of hers is a beaded leather belt which bears the different flags of all the oil workers working on the site and this my brother wears every day. The bracelet which I was given is so vibrant and so beautifully done, I really do love it. My nick name has been inscribed on it in white, framed in rows of red, black and green beads – the colors of the Kenyan flag. Both my uncle and my father have also been given one and they look equally good on them as they do on women.
It can be worn to brighten up any outfit, especially faded jeans. But here I have worn it with other colors, orange, light green and blue and other textures, namely silk and cotton. This is quite a bold outfit, as not only is there this vibrant bracelet, which contains complimentary colors, but there is also polka dot on the shirt (although small and tightly spaced) and also a bright orange – almost a complete contrast. Polka Dot is difficult at the best of times, so there is nothing better than to put it next to something like the orange or the Kenyan bracelet which will take the focus away from it. Hope you like it and tell me what you think 🙂
The Art and Craft business in Kenya contributes about 6 billion to the economy and has created many jobs for rural women and the urban poor. The most popular markets include Maasai and City markets in Nairobi.