I’ve just received an invitation to an event I’ve been hoping to attend for years.
It’s called eunoto. It’s a circumcision ceremony, and for many Maasai men, it’s the most important day of their lives.
It happens every 8 to 12 years. The intention is to initiate a new generation of Maasai men as warriors.
They prepare for this for much of their young lives. It takes place in a specially constructed village. At the appointed moment, each man comes out of his hut with two seconds, who stand at his shoulders to support him.
The candidate for circumcision then sits bolt upright with his legs out in front of him while a man from the Ndorobo tribe cuts through the top of his foreskin.
The idea is that the young man is stoic. He’s not allowed to register any expression or emotion. The elders watch to make sure there’s not a flicker, or a blink of the eye.
Historically, there would be some shame attached to you if you showed pain.
I’ve never actually seen it, though I’ve always wanted to. It’s not a tourist event. This year, I’ve finally got my chance to go. As a spectator.