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April 2007

Endulen Diary
Vol. 22, #4
April, 2007

April 12, Tusker trouble…

Here in the Ngorongoro Conservation area, the Maasai people are permitted small fields to grow their corn and beans. The size of the plots that people are allowed to cultivate are strictly regulated. There is an ongoing lobby by conservation groups dating back many years to deny the Maasai all cultivation. The Maasai hang on, and sometimes only by a thread, to their small gardens. The small harvests that these plots produce make a significant contribution to the Maasai food supply, since the coming of the dry season always involves hardship for the pastoralists. The very limited produce from their small “shambas” helps a lot. This year elephants are a major problem. Here in the Endulen and surroundings areas of the Conservation Authority many corn fields have been destroyed. This week elephants completely destroyed a number of the tiny fields adjacent to Maasai villages within sight of my house. These great mastodons brook no opposition to their search for the sweet ears of corn, stalks and leaves. No amount of noise deters them. Not a surprising development but one that makes an already precarious existence more difficult for the pastoralists.

April 13, Osotua Maasai Education Program alive and well…

Our secondary and technical school students are now returning to their schools after the Easter break. Our Maasai Education program supports seventy plus Maasai boys and girls in government and private secondary and technical schools throughout Northern Tanzania. Maasai girls constitute more than half of the students we assist. I strongly encourage our students to spend their vacation time at home helping their families. The boys take their turn tending the herds of their folks and the girls help their mothers with the chores of going for water and firewood.

April 16, Sad death…

Our twice monthly cattle market took place yesterday. As the cattle auction and marketplace of corn, beans, clothing and household goods wound down in the late afternoon, a Maasai elder started for home. His Maasai village was far and the sun was already beginning to sink toward the horizon. It was clear that he would only arrive home long after dark. When he didn’t show up at home by sunrise, warriors from his village set off to look for him. They found the old man by the side of the path some distance from his village. He had been gored by a buffalo and was dead. These days, with all the green grass in the Ngorongoro highlands due to the rains, buffalo are much in evidence. They, together with the elephants, are decimating the small plots of corn.

April 23, Lion hunt goes bad…

A band of warriors went off to hunt a lion in a place outside the Conservation area. They found a big male and chased him into a thicket deep in a wooded area in the direction of Ndutu. They surrounded the thicket and made a lot of noise so that the lion would break for his freedom. He did and sprang landing on one of the warriors directly in his path. The lion racked the boy across the head tearing a great swath of flesh from the side of his face and the top of his head. Having cleared the band of warriors out of his path and badly injuring one of them, the lion made off into the forest. Fortunately a car was passing on a nearby track and took the injured warrior to hospital. The young man is recovering slowly but will be left with some very serious scars.

April 25, Power Shower…

I was in the states for a month two years ago to get a medical checkup. During my stay with my brother and his wife in St. Albans, Vermont, I visited a marine supply outlet and bought a small 12volt bailing pump. People attach these tiny pumps to their outboard motor batteries and drop them into the bottom of their boats to get rid of the water that collects there. I finally have gotten around to attaching one end of my bailing pump to my solar system and the end to a shower head. I heat up a bucket of water, drop in the bailer and presto, a hot shower. It works great!

Till next month,

Ned

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