Twenty Days in Tanzania Day 2:

Part 2: The Marangu Village: The Maasai / Chaga quarrel

After enjoying the scenes of the waterfall in the village and getting a taste of what it was like to live in this region, we took a trip back in time. We we’re off to an area of Moshi that was once a battle ground for over 400 years. The two main tribes of this region were the Maasai and the Chagga. For years these two group of people battled and fought over land, resources, and even women to birth the strongest warriors. Yes, women were stolen for reproductive purposes….insane.

The Moshi village and the area where these tribes were located is on a hill. Understanding the geographical layout of the land is important in understanding why there was so much battle and bloodshed for many years. The Maasai tribes lived in the lower lands and the Chaga people lived on the top of the hills which gave them multiple advantages. Living on the top of the hill was a much better situation from many standpoints. The Chaga did not have to worry about flooding as much which allowed them to have better crops year round and they were able to utilize the land much more than the Maasai.

The struggle between these two tribes happened for over 400 years. The Maasai tribes would generally attack the Chaga people. Over time the Chaga people developed better and more efficient attack responses. They eventually dug out caves which in the end was the best tactic they came up with. The caves, like any cave, were pitch black, and since the Chaga built the caves, they knew how to get around without having any light. The Chaga people also learned the Maasai language which helped them do something very sneaky. As soon as they were under attack, all of the Chaga people would retreat to the caves. The women and Children would be hidden in the safest deepest spot so the Maasai warriors could not find them while the men would hide in very strategic places to play out their attack.

The Chaga warriors would use their knowledge of the Maasai language to trick their foes into thinking they were one of them. The caves were completely black and the only light would be a torch if they carried one. The Chaga people would call out to the Maasai with something like “We’ve got them up here” or some other line to trick them into going a certain way, and when they did…..boom! They used big wooden clubs and other war instruments to bludgeon them with. Before doing this, they also tried other tactics such as flooding them out in hopes they would drown or by filling the caves with smoke in order to suffocate them. These previous tactics unfortunately left the women and children in more vulnerable spots of the village where they could be easily found and slaughtered or kidnapped. The tactic with the trickery seemed to be the most effective according to my source on the ground.

As I said earlier, this madness went on for 400 + years. Things eventually became peaceful, I am not sure exactly how or when, I’m no historian, but they did 🙂 People are animals and we will always find something to fight over. That is our greatest down fall as a species.

On my next post we will finally embark on the adventure to the top of Kilimanjaro. 6 days up the mountain and 2 days down via the Lemosho route. Let’s go!

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