Meet the Maasai warriors who are dancing in Ipswich this week
PUBLISHED: 16:01 07 October 2018
Warriors from Kenya's Maasai region are visiting Suffolk - over 6,000 miles from home - to share their traditional songs and dancing.
The Osiligi tribe performed to a packed audience at St Mary’s Church in Harkstead on Friday night as they taught the crowd the meaning behind some of their music.
Hymns sung in their native language were paired with practical skills unique to their tribe, such as the incredible whistling the warriors use to direct their herds of cattle.
The tribe historically did not read and write, so tales of hunting lions and prayers to bless the fertility of their families are told through song and dance.
The Maasai are currently on their 17th tour of the UK, with the money raised through ticket sales and their wares going back to their village.
Tour organiser John Curtin said: “When the tours started in 2003 the village was destitute - it was a collection of mud huts and the villagers would have to walk miles for water every day.
“Now there’s a permanent clinic in the village, a school that can hold 250 children which has improved literacy rates, and there’s three wells in the town too.
“It’s transformed their lives back at home and they show so many people in the county a different culture.”
Their final performance in Suffolk will be on Monday at St Joseph’s College in Ipswich at 7.30pm.