In this unique exploration of African culture, author and photographer Joni Binder revisits journals she wrote at twenty-one while living with a traditional Maasai family on the outskirts of Kenya. As both witness to and a part of the rhythms of a proud but disenfranchised family, Binder lived for months as the Maasai live, in a dung hut and on a diet limited to cow’s blood and milk—and, in celebratory times—meat.
Her photographs of these alluring people, their daily lives, and their sacred rituals are interwoven with journal entries from that time and juxtaposed with contemporary entries. These entries and photos speak to the timeless quality of the Maasai, a people that has retained its traditional rites—including male and female circumcision, warrior brotherhoods, and polygamous marriage—in the face of an unrelenting torrent of Western influence.
Chronicling the author’s attempts to reconcile her respect for her hosts and their beliefs with the Western feminist perspective to which she was accustomed, Mile 46 is a thoughtful and rare snapshot into the everyday life of the Maasai, written with a mindful sensitivity to the cultural differences that both bring us together and set us apart.