Warning: This post contains pictures of dead animals. It is disturbing and tragic, but it is reality. If you do not wish to view the pictures, I advise you to stop reading now and don’t scroll down.

I went to visit a Maasai boma, or collection of Maasai huts, on Saturday. It was not a touristy trip. Instead, I went with a friend who is Maasai and has connections to the village. He runs a safari company here, and is setting up a campsite near the boma. They’re not building your typical fancy resort, equipped with hot water and beds. They have gone just past the village and made some flat platforms of packed dirt. No other alterations to the environment will be made. It’s simply a place to sleep in a more off-the-beaten-track setting.

Because of these connections, and because of the remoteness, I was not hassled by women trying to sell me beaded necklace or shouted at. It was a chance to see Maasai life as it really is, without the facade that they put up for tourists.

Reality is not pretty. The drought has not treated the Maasai kindly. The Maasai do not measure wealth by money, but by cattle. And with no rain comes no drinking water and no grass. As a result, their cattle started starving. And then they started dying.

When a cow dies, it is dragged outside, not too far from the huts themselves, and left there to rot.

They tried burning the dead cattle at one point – I found a small pile of ashes. But they gave up, losing either the resources or the will. The total death count exceeded 2,000. An older Maasai man traveling with us said it was the worst he had ever seen.

Let’s look at that photo again. The cows died because there was nothing to eat or drink. But now the rains have come and the landscape has taken a turn for the better. While the grass comes back to life, the cattle do not.

Some Maasai wonder what will happen now. They are concerned about their livelihoods. They are concerned about the health repercussions that come with leaving numerous dead animals lying around their homes. They are trying to clean up and move on, but the evidence of tragedy is unavoidable

Pictures cannot capture the smell, or the sound of the flies, or the look of helplessness in the eyes of the people. They can be disturbing, yes. But sometimes disturbing is also reality. My goal with posting these is simply to show reality. Not the reality featured on the cover of a magazine or on a charitable website, but the reality of a silent people from a bomba who have no one to depend on for survival but themselves.

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