Maasai Brothers a.k.a Orbela's People

“a film about a time with a Maasai family in Ngorongoro, Tanzania .”




A film by Percy Adlon about a time with a Maasai family in Ngorongoro, Tanzania.  Filmmakers Percy and Eleonore Adlon enter a world with no waste, no news, and no hurry – where the only desire of nine year old Orbela is a school sweater.

Orbela's PeopleOur experience with the Maasai (meaning the people who speak Maa) was deep, peaceful, and satisfying. But also raw, controversial, and unexpected. You enter a world with no electricity, no running water, no cars.


The homestead consists of a dozen huts, made of wooden sticks, plastered with cow dung, roofed with grass. Very soon you find the eyes of the woman, feel their wisdom, their sense of humor, their gentle heart. Excited laughter erupts when you say their names, Napaya, Kelelit, Nalamala.


Orbela’s people are herders. They don’t hunt. They don’t eat wild animals. But also no poultry, no eggs, no vegetable, salad, bread, cheese, pasta. They drink milk (always) they eat beef and goat (occasionally), and some potatoes (the “new lifestyle”).


One man owns everything, the cattle, the woman, the warriors, the children. About fifty people. But he is not a ruler. He is roaming the land, sitting with the other elders, short of words, without much needs, keeping the old tradition intact. One of his sons is Orbela. In the Maa language “orbela” means “split”. He wants to go to school. But he needs an operation of his cleft palate in order to speak not only through his nose. Five hours from his village, in the town of Arusha, he gets what he needs. And he’ll get his school sweater!”




A production of Leora Films Inc. and pelemele FILM&STAGE GmbH

produced by Eleonore Adlon

edited by Viral K. Shah

filmed, written and directed by Percy Adlon

In English, 118 min


Orbela People