The Maasai mothers and the warriors live in the Emanyatta (Maasai Warriors Headquarters) for over seven years in isolation, developing strength, courage, wisdom, and life skills. Once arrived at this cultural heritage site, the mothers construct 49 homes in a circle from which the warriors may come and go. With duties including the collection of water, livestock cultivation, meal preparation, and their son’s cultural and social development, the Maasai mothers shoulder a great deal of responsibility throughout the ceremonies. They sing and dance beautifully, and facilitate traditional cultural practices such as ‘Eunoto,’ which is inscribed on UNESCO’s Urgent Safeguarding List of Intangible Heritage where the mothers shave their son’s hairs. Throughout the mothers’ time together, they develop intense bonds and nurture communal prosperity, where they share everything.
The Emanyatta is both a physical location and a cultural heritage site that has hosted over ten generations of ceremonies and is integral to Maasai culture. Over the years, a combination of climate change and loss of land rights threatens the Emanyatta’s place in Maasai culture.