The latest Matador Originals is the remarkable story of Jacob Mayiani, a Maasai man living in the US who returns to Kenya for the final ceremony completing his warriorhood — a ceremony that only happens once every 30 years. As filmmakers Blaze Nowara and Josh Morin explain, capturing the story was stepping into the unknown: “We didn’t even know the day or location of the ceremony before we left.”
In the intense overland journey from Nairobi to Maasai Land, we pass Jacob’s childhood Boma (Swahili for “village home”), and he literally crawls into the thatched roof hut to show us where he grew up.
A charismatic and multilingual guide, Jacob excelled as a translator for study abroad groups visiting Kenya, and was eventually offered a scholarship to study in the US, where he married and has been raising a family for the last 15 years.
The return to Maasai Land was deeply emotional. “When I come back from the US to join other warriors in my age group, it makes me have a feeling, a feeling that’s kind of hard to explain,” Jacob said. “I feel like I’m back to where I used to be. I’m back to where I feel comfortable. I’m back to my community. I’m back to my people. I’m back to where I belong.”