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November 2002

Endulen Diary
Vol. 17, #12
November, 2002

November 8th…

The primary school leaving exams took place on the 25 of September. On that day, as we have every year for the last 16 years, we went around and picked up the Maasai girls that expressed a desire to continue their education and were endorsed by their head teachers for intelligence and a firm resolve to go on. Their determination has already been severely tested. The parents did not want any of the girls to study and complained to the local leaders. All of the initially stood up before their parents and brothers and spelled out decisively, their desire to keep on with their education…something that took considerable courage for these Maasai girls from the bush. It is the law of the land here in Tanzania that if a girl chooses to go on and has the opportunity to do so, neither parents nor anyone else cannot stop a girl from continuing her education. All but two of the eight girls that came on the day of the exams have left. Although they had the gumption to stand up and affirm their right to go to secondary school, their parents have since threatened to curse them and disown them if they did not return home to be initiated and married. Six were not able to stand up to these threats and have left. Two girls, at least for now, are still hanging in there.

November 10th…

Good news! Seven of the Maasai boys that graduated this year from our Osotwa Maasai Prep School are assured of places in secondary school. They have passed the examinations for schools in the Arusha and Kilimanjaro areas.

November 15th…

In the past two weeks two women have been attacked by buffalo near the mission. One, very seriously gored in the stomach has been flown out by Fr. Pat Patten’s Flying Medical Service to the major referral hospital in Moshi on Mount Kilimanjaro. The other woman sustained a broken leg and other injuries and is recovering at our hospital here in Endulen. Our Cape Buffalo are totally unpredictable, especially the lone bulls. These are often old bulls, rejected from a herd by the dominant bulls. They can be young bulls too, again chased away from the herd by the herd bull. People are as yet unsure whether it was a single individual that attacked both of the women or if they were different animals.

November 28…

The day before yesterday I took four of my Maasai girls that have finished a year at our Maasai Prep School to take the entrance exams at a new high school on the shores of Lake Eyasi at the base of the rift wall. I got back with the girls this afternoon. We were very successful. All four girls passed the entrance exams that consisted of English, Math and Swahili. They will begin their freshman year on the 20th of January 2003. It looks to be a wonderful school. The buildings are fantastic…class rooms, dorms, dining room and so forth. Also they have put in a biogas system with cows that will live in a beautiful cement block house. The manure and urine go automatically by means of a slightly sloping floor into the fifty cubic meter fermentation tank. The gas is then drawn off for cooking and lighting. In addition to that they will have a huge 1800 watt wind generator with 12 massive batteries to store the electricity. The school will be run by African sisters. I met them and they look to be very capable and committed. The situation looks so good that it is pretty overwhelming. The project is just one of many put together by two Spanish priests that run the mission down there by the lake. The school fees will be formidable but I’ll find them somehow.

Immediately on our return today I bought two goats and three crates of soda. Tomorrow is the cattle market so there are plenty for sale. This evening we will celebrate our four girls being accepted into secondary school. It is not easy for Maasai girls to get a place in secondary school. For example, last year Diana Alois was one of 1700 girls that took the entrance exam for 175 places in high school. She was accepted. Two years ago Somalian Saning’o was one of 1500 girls that took the entrance exam for 150 places in Ngarenarok high school. She also was chosen; we were lucky. As you see, there are no guarantees. I am very relieved; their acceptance at such an excellent school is just great.

November 29th…

Our cattle market had a major casualty the other day. A man was found dead along one of the footpaths leading away from the cattle market area. People are saying that he was poisoned by the home brew raw spirits. These are distilled Maasai and others living in the area of the shops here at Endulen. Especially on market days there is a lot of drinking and many go for the almost pure alcohol that is cheap and very powerful.

Till next month…

Ned

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