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Maa cultural events boost livelihoods

Traders at Sekenani Gate, Maasai Mara, are reaping huge profits as the Maa Cultural Week Festival gets underway in the county.

The Maasai Cultural Week that kicked off on Monday and is expected to end on Friday has seen many visitors from other counties flocking to Sekenani.

Maa Culture Week coincides with the spectacular wildebeest migration from Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to Maasai Mara in Kenya.

The beneficiaries of the culture week in Sekenani were the beadwork hawkers, tour guides, camp owners, hoteliers, fast food sellers, lodge operators, and taxi operators, among others.

Mary Meoli, a trader from Kajiado County, said beadwork has helped them showcase their culture and empower artisans to earn a good income.

Meoli added that the Maasai Culture Week Festival is a great opportunity for the Maa community to come together and showcase their culture in Sekenani.

“We have come to showcase our culture. We’re selling these beads, although many of our own people have them. But we’re depending on visitors and a few of our people who do not have it,” said Meoli.

Meoli said each ornament bears a unique symbol that conveys messages of social status, age, tribe affiliation, and marital status.

Philip Ngang’a, a photographer, said the Maasai Cultural Week Festival drew many people from neighbouring counties, and everybody wants to see how he or she looks in Maasai attire.

“Every visitor wants to go home with a photo showing his or her outlook in Maasai attire. So, the business is at its peak this week,” added Ngang’a.

Ruth Mucheru, a hawker, said it is a big opportunity for traders to reap big rewards from the many visitors in Maasai Mara.

Another trader, Sonko Nkoyo, an ornament trader, said the culture week has come as a game changer for the ornament traders, as many people from Maasai communities want to showcase their culture.

Most of the hotels, camps, and lodgings were fully booked, with some visitors being forced to source accommodation as far away as Narok town.

By John Kaleke

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