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Consequently, the Maasai have begun to integrate themselves into the modern economies and mainstream societies of Kenya and Tanzania, albeit with considerable reluctance.

One origin myth reveals much about present-day Maasai relations between the sexes.Today, their homeland is bounded by Lake Victoria to the west and Mount Kilimanjaro to the east.Maasailand extends some 310 miles (500 kilometers) from north to south and about 186 miles (300 kilometers) at its widest east-west point.For many Westerners, the Maasai are Hollywood's "noble savage"—fierce, proud, handsome, graceful of bearing, and elegantly tall.Hair smeared red with ochre (a pigment), they either carry spears or stand on one foot tending cattle.Estimates of the Maasai population include more than 150,000 in Tanzania, and close to 150,000 in Kenya.The Maasai are speakers of the Maa language, which is also spoken by the Samburu and the Chamus living in central Kenya. Maasai legends and folktales tell much about the origin of present-day Maasai beliefs.Prior to British colonization, Africans, Arabs, and European explorers considered the Maasai formidable warriors for their conquests of neighboring peoples and their resistance to slavery.Caravan traders traveling from the coast to Uganda crossed Maasailand with trepidation.Even the elephants left them because they could not satisfy the women with their work.According to the same myth, the Morwak—the men's tribe—raised cattle, sheep, and goats. The children from these unions would live with their mothers, but the boys would join their fathers when they grew up.

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