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Going back — 3 Comments

  1. There are other problems too that the Maasai face. Global warming has resulted in droughts now so frequently that relief supplies are often all that is available for survival. You can only drink blood and milk if your cattle survive – and in the droughts, many don’t. Twice this past season people have planted grain when some rain came – but the normal period of rain didn’t come and the seeds germinated and then died.
    And. Flower farms, often owned by non-Kenyans and supplying fresh flowers to the UK supermarkets (among others), have sunk so many large boreholes that the water table level has dropped and the adjacent farms are left without water.
    You need to talk to Rev Naftaly Lemooke if you have an opportunity before he returns to Kajiado Diocese. (At present he’s studying at Belfast Bible College and living in the rectory at Magherally – soon to be living in the rectory at St Nicholas’).
    He’s a Maasai, hurt by the neighbouring flower farm, suffering with the drought and he ministers among a very isolated group of Maasai in Oltiasika and Lemasusu. In Naftaly’s home settlement they now have to buy water. Prices in the shops have doubled since the election results were announced.
    The Maasai Rural Training Centre has done a great deal to introduce water conservation methods – but that works only if there is water to conserve! They also demonstrate ways of finding alternative sources of income – but that too only works if there are people who can afford to pay for the goods and services.
    The Maasai in the towns, and there is a huge number in Nairobi itself, will find that the land that once provided rich pasture for their cattle does so no longer and that a return to traditional ways is more than likely to be impossible for them. Those who have maintained the traditional lifestyle are also struggling to survive.

  2. Liz,

    Thanks for that. I got a sense that ten years ago the Maasai lifestyle was becoming unsustainable. In Tanzania, they were grazing already overgrazed land that was the domain of other farmers and there were growing resentments. One of the reasons I like the ‘FT’ is that it covers the news stories that others ignore. I would be worried for the people featured in the report.

  3. The price of ‘progress’ is a heavy one. These nomadic peoples much like our own aboriginals have maintained a balance for centuries and now we’ve made it untenable for them to return to traditional ways with land ownership and mis use of the land. It’s so depressing. Here, some farmers ‘lease’ their land from the Government which allows our indigenous people to roam onto the properties and maintain their traditional hunting and gathering ways but these are few and far between. War, exacerbates these difficulties to the nth degree. So sad in a country that has been so stable for so long. The ‘traditional’ practices, seem here, to be along the coast and in Islands such as the Tiwi where white encroachment has been minimal.

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