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July 2007

Endulen Diary
Vol. 22, #7
July, 2007

Leave time program for secondary school girls…

When our Maasai girls are chosen for secondary school at the end of primary school, their parents have no choice but to send them, although most would rather they stay home and get married. During the past year six of our Maasai girls have gotten pregnant during their vacation time at home between semesters. Frequently they have little control over the situation and most families are happy to see their daughters get pregnant and therefore not return to school. Now I want to hire a woman teacher and have the girls here at Osotua Prep during leave time. She would also provide them with tutoring in English. Our typing and computer teacher here at Osotua Prep would give them classes in typing and some basics in using a computer. This new program means that they will be out of their own culture even more than they already are due to their secondary education, but I don’t know what else to do. The pregnancy thing is really out of control.

“Olmilo”…

Sitting here on the front porch of an afternoon and watching a couple of Maasai warriors drive a sick cow to the Endulen shops to be sold for slaughter, prompts me to wonder if I’ve mentioned the cattle disease “Olmilo” in my letters. A good milk cow can be perfectly healthy and producing milk on a particular day. That evening she is evidently in trouble, dizzy, disoriented, wandering aimlessly around with a high fever, and bumping into things. By the next morning, she is dying. It is a plague that has gotten into North Maasailand and destroys a significant number of cattle each year. At the time I came to Endulen 21 years, it was still a new thing; people weren’t too concerned about it. They figured that there must be a medicine to cure it, and if the medicine were available in Arusha or Nairobi or wherever, it would become available. This complacency has long since dissolved. It turns out that it is a tick born disease and very destructive.

In recent years, “olmilo” is less of a problem, but people must buy the very expensive dip medicine to wipe down their cattle each week. They carefully dilute it to the prescribed ratio of water to medicine and then carefully, with a cloth, wipe it on to the parts of the animals most prone to tick infestation, the ears and under the tail. Fewer cattle die in the herds of those people who have the wherewithal to treat their cattle each week. But even their cattle continue to die, since it is the only sure way to get to all the ticks. Among the majority of herds, which have no access to the medicine, the situation is much more difficult.

Bee attack…

Some time ago I was attack by bees while filling the Toyota Land Cruiser with diesel fuel. In a tin sheet house which serves as a store there were two “hives” of bees living in the walls between the outer tin sheeting and the inner fiber board walls. They had been a problem for quite a long time, stinging me and others when disturbed, but there was never any question of a full scale attack. It may have been their stage of honey-making or maybe the weather which was very muggy. Who knows what caused them to come after me in a swarm. The people say that strong unusual smells cause them to become excited and angry. I was near the bottom of my barrel of diesel and so was no longer able to siphon it with a plastic hose, and so poured from the drum into a bucket, and then was going to siphon from the bucket into the car. I never got the final stage of putting it into the car. Coming out of the store with a bucket of diesel, I heard an ominous buzzing; it must have been the large open surface of diesel in the bucket giving off a strong smell. After the first sting, I dropped the bucket, tried to cover my head with my shirt and ran for the house. It was a long thirty yards. By the time I got inside and slammed the door, I had been stung about fifteen times. And after a couple minutes of frantic activity, found about ten more bees dead or looking for me in my clothes. I don’t know whether the bees here are any different from those at home, but I’m acquiring a lot of respect for ours.

Shocking development…

A few years ago Mbarway Government Secondary school was built here in the Conservation area of Ngorongoro. It is located some three miles from Endulen. Two weeks ago two of the Indian students, one from Endulen and the other from Karatu, a town located about a half hour’s drive outside the Conservation Authority got in a fight over the ownership of a blanket. The boy from Karatu stabbed the boy from Endulen. The injured student was taken to the major hospital in Arusha for surgery. He is recovering slowly. I guess Ngorongoro has now joined the rising tide of school violence everywhere. Like everywhere where such things have happened, the people here are left saying things like “How could this have happened in such a peaceful and friendly place as Ngorongoro”. Our Osotua Maasai Education Program supports 24 students at Mbarway.

Wind generator up and running…

Some will remember that my new wind generator turned out to be an interesting but useless sculpture in the back yard. I had set it up where the house was blocking the wind. Now it is on the roof supported by a frame made by Indian metal workers in Arusha. It now works fine making a noise like a wind blowing through the trees and it generates electricity too. I’ve posted a photo on this diary entry on my web site http://osotua.org.

Till next month,

Ned

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