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November 2010

Endulen Diary
Vol. 25, #3
November, 2010

Maasai girls at risk as high school closes for the year

A number of the girls have come to stay with us here at Endulen. They are in danger of being forcibly married off during leave time. Also there is the danger of getting pregnant since young girls often end up sleeping with the warriors and there is little they can do about it. Peer pressure is as much a factor here as it is in Europe and America.

Spiritan Maasai missionaries meet in Endulen

Good discussions took place when Tanzanian and expatriate Spiritans met in Endulen. It was a meeting of the twice-yearly gathering of Spiritan Maasai missionaries. There were good debates as to the best ways of welcoming the Maasai people into church life. Things like using Maasai language, music and prayer forms received a mostly unanimous thumb up. Other things like blessing with milk during church celebrations were more controversial. During the gathering, we celebrated the mass in the Maasai style that we use here in the Conservation Area of Ngorongoro. The reaction seemed to be mixed. We are working toward a meeting of the minds so that eventually we can have common ways of doing things. There were shared meals and an evening of good talk. I think that all of us are looking forward to our next meeting.

Water tax burdens the poor

Just this week the water committee of the village has looked into the deteriorating state of our water point at the village spring. A couple of years ago, with the help of Ngorongoro Conservation, a water point was constructed with water taps gravity fed from the Oldagum spring below the village of Endulen. This has worked out pretty well. All the people of the village go to the water point with their buckets to draw water and wash their cloths close by. We have a trailer and twenty plastic containers of six gallons each that I load on our trailer behind the land cruiser and fill up at the spring three times a week. The faucets get a lot of hard wear and usually last only a few months. Our water group has determined that the faucets now need replacement and have decreed that each of us in the village pay 2,000/= shillings to underwrite the repairs and new faucets. Since the levy represents only about $1.75, it is no hardship for most people. This is not the case for a significant group of single women and widows with children, whose only income is from the firewood they cut each day in the forests, carry a number of miles and sell in the village for less than a dollar. Paying the water contribution represents two days wage. This is very hard for them, since food already takes most of the little that they earn.

Yawning, hiccoughs sneezing, and illness:

When Maasai yawn, they are said to be about to doze off and in the case of small children, they are held lest they fall into the fire. If a small child yawns, his mother grasps his mouth between her fingers to prevent it stretching and become permanently big. Big wide mouths are not prized among the Maasai.

If a person has hiccoughs, it is believed he will have the good fortune of soon eating some succulent meat. When person sneezes, he might say to himself, ÒSomebody is calling me. Someone might is likely to say, ÒMay God make your head hard. When a person falls sick, it is said to be GodÕs sickness.

Goat got into the outhouse and OOPS!

The rains have come with some very heavy downpours weakening the foundations of our outhouse. Our mission here sits on some very porous volcanic soil. Whenever it rains our roads in and out are reduced to a quagmire and nothing moves. The wood floor of the outhouse has shifted in the mud and the hole has widened. An unlucky goat found his way into the outhouse and fell down the hole. He has been extracted no worse for the experience except for a clinging smell that doesn’t seem to want to go away. Even other goats are avoiding the unfortunate one. We have now renewed the outhouse floor with logs that we have cut in the forest on the mountain above Endulen.

Till next month,
Ned

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