On October 4, 2017, Severn students and the greater Severn community were given the opportunity to have a sneak peek in the lives of the Maasai Community from Kenya. Their visit included performing for the Middle and Upper School, selling jewelry and art, touring the campus, joining classes, and even playing soccer with students after school. The interactive performance featured traditional songs and chants from the Maasai, some of which are used at weddings, coming of age celebrations, and funerals. Four students - Devin McCarthy, Reilly Miller, Everett Cortes, and Bryan Arteen – were lucky enough to be selected and brought onto the stage to partake in one of the songs. Dressed in traditional clothing, a red sash for men and blue dress for women, the Maasai gave an incredible performance that will surely go down in history as one of the most incredible and impressive experiences the Severn community has been a part of.
The Maasai (pronounced, muh-sigh) community live in an area of Kenya and Tanzania, and makes up for roughly .7% of Kenya’s population. They have maintained their culture and preserved it throughout the years, despite colonization and Western influences. Maasai clothing focuses heavily on the use of jewelry and color, and they vary from event to event. Much of the culture has not changed, including cultural practices, celebrations, and clothing. However, the Maasai have made critical changes to their way of life over the years, including converting to Christianity and beginning to send young girls to school.
Even though we may live worlds apart, it was amazing to see the bond that developed between our visitors and Severn students after a day together. This special day was a great chance for all members of Severn to realize how different the world is outside of Severna Park.