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A Perennial Problem

It has happened again. Two grade school girls here at Olbalbal are pregnant. It happens every year in many of our Maasai schools. The problem, of course, is not unique to Maasai country or to Tanzania. It is a worldwide problem happening in America as frequently as it does here. I guess it has such a local impact here at Olbalbal because we are a small community far off in the bush and our primary school is small. Here getting pregnant has really bad consequences for the school girl. Although theoretically she is allowed to continue her education, usually her chance for an education is finished. Often it is not the girl’s fault. At home peer pressure is very strong. The girls spend time with the warriors and there are very few girls who can take a stand and, in effect, isolate herself from her friends and their activities. The picture is not all dark though. In recent years, the government has taken ever stronger measures to deal with the problem. Although in the past, the girl has been blamed and the boy ignored, now there are some good laws and they are enforced. In the case of our two girls here at Olbalbal, the girls were questioned and they gave up the names of the boys. Police came yesterday and arrested the boys. Hopefully, there will be successful prosecutions that will act as a deterrent for the future.

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