the maasai tribe
The Maasai are a semi-pastoral tribe of Northern Tanzania and Southern Kenya with a very strong sense of identity and community. They are known for their strong traditions, their distinctive and colorful attire and their characteristic rituals. Global warming, land rights and the increase of unpredictable rains have caused the Maasai to struggle to maintain their traditional way of living. Although the Maasai are traditionally nomadic cattle herders, historical land grabbing by the national government and multinational corporations has caused the social and economic marginalization of Maasai people. It is increasingly difficult for communities to maintain their traditional ways of life, which is dependent on mobility and access to grazing land.
A Maasai experience
Spending time in the village will not only let you experience the Maasai way of life; it will also allow you to develop strong bonds with the people and children of the community.
A TYPICAL VOLUNTEER'S DAY
Every day living in the community is different, but here is an idea of what most of your days will look like as a volunteer:
The day starts at daybreak. You will have traditional Tanzanian ginger tea and breakfast at the school before heading out to work. You’ll need all of those calories so you can get through the morning’s work! You will either be helping on one of our building projects, running workshops at the school, working with the women’s jewelry project or planting trees.
Lunch is held at the day’s worksite. It usually consists of rice or ugali and a meat dish with beans or potatoes. Don’t worry, if you’re a picky eater you’ll get used to the taste of the food after a few days! After lunch volunteers return to work for a few more hours before heading back to the school. By now most men and some children will be returning from herding their cows and will probably want to help you out with some work. So go ahead and enjoy the company!
This is your down time. You can have a bucket shower (or not, if you don’t mind the dirt), catch the sunset and rest before dinner. Or you can play with the children. There is lots of time spent bonding with the other volunteers and the villagers, playing games with the children, doing laundry, carrying water, and helping to cook dinner. No matter what the activity or the time of day, many hours will be spent repeating simple words and teaching English to the children. We will organize one half-day to observe some classes and even offer some one-on-one tutoring. The bonds we form with the students during these moments are just as important as the ones we create at the work site.
Nighttime activities may include a group reflection, time to read or write in a journal, and hanging out with your fellow volunteers around the fire. Dinner is held at the school and shared between volunteers and community members. You will be tired from the day’s work, so we recommend you get an early night!