The Maasai people of Ngorongoro continue to be resistant to educating the girls in their families. This is the case, although upon finishing their studies and getting a job, I don’t know of a single girl that does not substantially help her family.
I guess a lot of the reason can be put to the economic situation of most Maasai here at Ngorongoro. As time goes on, everyone seems to be getting poorer. Some years back, the people received a major blow when cultivation was forbidden in the Conservation area, No one had much of a farming plot, but the acre or less of corn and beans helped a lot, providing a cushion of food for some time into the dry season. That “cushion’ disappeared with the loss permission to have small plots of food crops. Now most families struggle to find the equivalent of seventy-five American cents to buy the small amount of corn flour to mix with whatever amount of milk they might have for the evening meal. During the rains things are better as wild spinach and more milk become available.
The immediate possibility of some cash and a couple of extra cattle is hard to resist in these circumstances. Especially when that immediate windfall is compared to the possibility of help from their daughter years down the line. Most fathers want to marry their daughters off soon after they complete grade seven, the last year of primary school. The father of Fabi is no exception. Four years ago, I was fortunate to find a place for Fabi at St. Joseph Secondary school. It is a very good school run by a group of sisters. Once a young girl has a place in secondary school and is assured of support for her education, the parents can’t refuse that she continue her studies.
Fabi has done well. She is smart and has worked hard. Her results for each of the four years of high school have been good. If we able to continue to support her in her studies, Fabi wants to go to college.