Vol. 19, #4
Latang’amwaki Ndwati graduated from high school (secondary school) in December of 2003. This month it was announced that he has placed among the top ten secondary school graduates in the country. There will be an award ceremony in Dar es Salaam. (See a picture of Latang’amwaki and other pictures of our Osotua Maasai Education program at:
Latang’amwaki tells his story:
My name is Latang’amwaki Ndwati. I am a Maasai boy from Malambo in the Ngorongoro district of Northern Tanzania. Malambo is a small village north of the Ngorongoro conservation area. It has a semi-arid climate which is accompanied by high temperature and low rainfall throughout the year. Its inhabitants are the Maasai people who are mainly pastoralist.
I completed my primary education in 1995 and I was selected to join secondary education, but due to poverty I was not able to pay school fees and outfit myself for secondary school. I stayed home for three years until 1999, when I joined Osotwa Maasai Preparation School in Endulen. The Osotua program has been able to pay my school fees which are very expensive and obtain other necessities like clothing, health care and whatever I required at school. I have completed my O-level secondary education at Makumira high school on Mount Meru near Arusha.
I have been performing well academically both in primary and secondary school respectively. In primary school I was among the pupils with the best grades. In secondary school I managed also to get the highest marks of any student in my class throughout the years of high school. Now I am at Osotwa Maasai Prep School as a temporary teacher waiting my form four national examination results. I am expecting good results.
Our Maasai society is backwards in the sense that they are illiterate. There are several factors for illiteracy among the Maasai but the major ones are poverty and cultural practices. Poverty has been a major obstacle for the Maasai young generation to get education. Most of those who are willing to get education find it difficult because there parents cannot pay the large amounts of money required.
Cultural practices have also become a threat to our education especially to Maasai girls. Such practices as circumcision, very early marriage and heavy domestic jobs have exposed our young Maasai girls to a lot of problems. Our parents are not aware of the changing world so they still hold traditions and customs which prevent Maasai girls to acquire education. Luckily Father Ned being aware of these practices has tried to take them to school. Now many of them are completing secondary schools and continue with further studies.
Due to changing climatic conditions, nomadic pastoralists are suffering a lot. Poor rainfall in 2003 has caused of them to suffer from hunger. Young energetic men with poor education are running towards big towns to look for casual jobs such as watchmen. This is because the dependable part of there lives is diminishing at a great rate. I believe that if these people had education they would have been able to adapt to changing conditions. Therefore I appeal to you and many others who feel committed to serve my society to strengthen us so that our future can improve.
April 23… Latang’amwaki is in Dar es Salaam waiting for his honor student ceremony. He writes:
I’m sorry for being late to inform you the situation of my journey to Dar…The reason behind is that I was not able to find an internet cafe easily since the environment is very new for me. All in all nothing went bad though there were some problems in identifying my hosts in the bus terminal. I managed to get them by phoning and telling where they could find me. It’s my hope that you’re well progressing. Dar-es-salaam is actually complex compared to Arusha. It has a lot of slums built randomly and its weather conditions are accompanied with high temperature. I’m still learning more about it. I don’t know how long I will be staying here since we are still waiting other students to come. Pass my regards to Lememakwa, Lesikar, Mokotio and Naishorwa.
Maasai Proverb of the month:
“Pooki olaiyoni oloinosa osina.”
(The best man is the boy who was eaten by trouble.)
Till next month… Ned