Joseph Sengeny is a Maasai who embraces modern life while proudly wearing his traditional clothing, a bright cotton kilt. “Just because we may wear clothes dating back centuries, does not mean we are barbarians,” he says.
Joseph works at Kicheche Mara Camp in Kenya as a tourist guide. “I became a guide because I love nature and being in the outdoors,” he says. “I grew up near here and went to sleep each night hearing hyenas, lions and jackals.
“Maasai tradition is fundamental to how I work. Some say that our cattle are in an uneasy truce with the wildlife, but both Maasai pastoralists and wildebeest herds go back thousands of years. I won't let anything get in the way of this. Every day I dress in traditional Maasai robes to go to work. I cannot imagine wearing anything else."
Joseph is optimistic about finding a way to balance the tensions between the old way of life and the new. “The Maasai are now understanding much more that wildlife are our meal ticket. Our land is important but without the wildlife we will just be farmers, and probably poor ones at that.
“If we look after the other animals apart from our cattle, everyone benefits – the tourists, the animals and ourselves.”