Corn is the staple food among the Maasai. Most people don’t have enough cattle to depend on milk, so milk becomes a supplement to the daily meal of corn porridge. The corn is ground and mixed with water, a little bit of milk and some cooking oil and sugar if one has them.
Now corn is ever more scarce. Since no cultivation is permitted here in the Conservation area of Ngorongoro, all the corn eaten by the people must come from the outside. In most parts of the country there has been little or no harvest for at least a year and now the shortages of this basic food have become critical. Prices have skyrocketed doubling in the last few months. Now the only shop having corn to sell here at Olbalbal is asking the equivalent of ten dollars for a five gallon bucket of corn, an impossible price to pay for all but very few people.
The Maasai women had a meeting a couple days ago and decided to boycott this shop until they lower their price of corn. Everyone is waiting to see what will happen, since there is no other place to find the stuff.
Two days last week saw no water coming from the pipe fed by the spring on the mountain above us here at Olbalbal. The young men of the warrior age groupe went up to see what the problem was. It turned out that elephants and Cape buffalo were using the spring area as their mud bath and had totally blocked the pipe with muck. The men cleaned the pipe and did what they could to block access to it by the wild animals. We have water again.