Some friends and I spent an amazing weekend at Mukuru Eco-Tented Camps [ME-TC] to learn some traditional Maasai beading techniques. Our teachers were Maasai women from the local village. First they showed us some samples of their beautiful beadwork; intricately designed jewellery in a dazzling array of colours.We sat on grass mats on the floor and our instructors got out their materials and tools of the trade – wire, beads, pliers and needles. Next it was a case of watching and having a go with ongoing encouragement and support from our teachers (along with a sigh and shake of the head when we went wrong, which in my case happened quite a few times). The time flew by as we sat, beaded and chatted.
As the sun started to set and the light began to fade we helped our teachers to pack up and said our farewells. We wandered back to the camp; passing villagers returning from their fields, children collecting firewood and a herder with his flock of goats. After a delicious dinner we sat around the fire while the camp’s staff recounted tales of their lives growing up; providing a fascinating insight into Maasai life and culture.
The following morning we went for a walk around the camp and surrounding area. We could just glimpse snow-capped Kilimanjaro poking through the clouds as we set off. ME-TC is a peaceful oasis in a beautiful setting, surrounded by savannah, rolling hills and volcanic crests.
On our return to camp we had another workshop to practice and share our newfound beading knowledge. Another tasty meal and all too soon it was time set off on the journey home.
It was a memorable weekend; offering unique opportunities to develop beading skills, make friends and learn a little about the lives of the Maasai women of Mkuru.
January 2013, Liz Newbon – ME-TC Beading Weekend