Though a lot of a Lion Guardian’s life is spent protecting lions and reducing conflicts between their communities and carnivores, on their days off they get on with their normal lives like any other Maasai, herding their cattle or going to market to buy food and supplies for their family.
Today though was no ordinary day off for Lion Guardian Sumulei, or Meingati, which is his more commonly used “lion name”. He spent his day off getting married! With the drought of last year bringing so much of Maasai life to a halt, now that much rain has fallen and things are slowly getting back to normal, Meingati was able to organise his special day and marry a woman from the nearby town of Namelok.
Meingati and his wife applied traditional red ochre paint to their faces and parts of their body and dressed in fine beaded jewellery to mark the occasion. Traditionally the beads from the wedding necklace of the bride reach right down to the ground, and as she walks from her own boma to her new boma the necklace creates a trail between the two homes, uniting them.
The communities and families of both the bride and groom attended the wedding in large numbers, some walking very long distances to reach Meingati’s boma, and many bringing gifts of sugar, blankets and even livestock. All who visited the wedding were well fed with chapatis, chai and roasted meat. Even some of the Lion Guardians still on duty dropped in to the ceremony while conducting their lion monitoring rounds!
Our congratulations go out to Meingati (Sumulei) and his wife.