The Maasai live in makeshift structures known as manyattas. The manyatta consists of several enkajies or cabins surrounded by a secure wall. The shelters were made to be very temporal as they were nomadic pastoralists. Enkaji was made from readily available materials. These were tree branches, cow dung and soil. The cow dung was for waterproofing and the entire walls had to be plastered. Timber poles were to be fixed in the ground and smaller branches braided around them. The walls were then plastered with a mixture of mud, sticks, grass, cow dung and human urine and ash.
It was the women who had the duty to make these huts and maintain them. Any repairs were also carried out by the women. Strong women from the village would help each other in the building process. The cabin is where the family cooks, eats, sleeps, socialises and stores food, fuel and other household goods. Goats and calves also spent the night in enkaji.
The women prepared meals for the whole family. This consisted of milk, meat and cow’s blood. Today, cow blood is rarely taken. Meals now consist of milk, meat, uji and ugali. Uji is made from a mixture of milk and corn flour. It is a liquid while ugali is a solid mixture of water and cornmeal. The girls would help their mothers with cooking, cleaning and milking the cows. They would learn the tasks from a very early age.