Caught with a Potato

On the way to Olbalbal on Tuesday I met a woman returning from the police station. The Ngorongoro police arrested her husband for growing some potatoes at his “boma” at Olmunyi in the hills above Olbalbal. Some time ago all cultivation was forbidden here in the Conservation Area of Ngorongoro.

Tearfully, the women, an infant on her back, talked of her meeting with the authorities at the police station. They demanded the equivalent of $150 to free her husband, a sum she does not have and has no hope of getting. If she doesn’t come up with the money in a few days, the man will be taken to the central police station at Loliondo a five-hour land rover trip to the North. There the cost of his release will jump to $300 or he will do some serious jail time.

It is claimed that the small plots of the Maasai interfere with the wild animals. Few remember that but for the presence the Maasai, who do not hunt or eat wild meat, the animals in Ngorongoro and the adjacent Serengeti would have gone extinct long ago.

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