National Geographic Magazine comes to our house monthly. I read it sometimes. Good thing, or I would have missed this:
The Maasai: changed, for better or worse, by cell phones
TIMOTHY BAIRD Geography researcher
The Maasai people of Kenya and Tanzania live a semi-nomadic, pastoral life, seeking out areas of fresh pasture and building enclosures to protect their livestock. For cultural anthropologists who wonder how off-the-grid people are being changed by a world of screens, Internet, and fast communication, the Maasai are an ideal test case.
Tim Baird is observing the transformation in progress. “Phones are a profound new tool for them,” says Baird, a Virginia Tech geography professor who has studied Maasai cell phone culture under a National Geographic grant. Instant connectivity where none existed before has changed the type of people a Maasai person can reach, he says, and the type of information shared. That includes weather data for farmers, market prices for livestock, and—even though tradition sometimes dictates arranged marriages between young girls and older men—ways for girls to flirt with boys their own age. After all, Baird notes, even some older-model mobile phones can access Facebook.
[Vol. 229, No. 3. March 2016]
I have to agree. These nomadic people have come a long way since Gary Larson published the following cartoon in 1981.