See Inside September / October 2011

The Many Faces of Happiness

Cultural twists on the concept hint at new ways of lifting your spirits and making you more content with life

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Lankasana, a 23-year-old Maasai warrior, sports long, ochre-stained, braided hair extensions and carries a bow and arrow, a short sword and a steel-tipped spear. He spends his days raiding neighboring villages and protecting his own tribe from attacks by wild animals. For fun, he wrestles fellow tribesmen and practices his aim by tossing spears at tree trunks. Lankasana once killed a lion armed with only a sword, but not before the lion clawed his shoulders, leaving huge scars.

Living in remote villages in East Africa, the Maasai build simple homes out of mud, dung and sticks. These hunter-gatherers have no running water or electricity and minimal exposure to Western society and media. They engage in rituals that may seem unappealing to Westerners, such as adolescent circumcision, branding and bovine blood drinking.

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