Volume 14, #3
Nono, one of my girls, crippled in one leg, went home during mid term leave when she heard that her brother was sick. Her brother arranged secretly to marry her to one of his age mates and have her taken by force to her husband’s village. She got wind of the plot and ran away in the night, walking two days on her bad leg to get back here to Endulen. Her brother showed up half a day after she did, and demanded that I give her to him so that he could marry her to the man who came along with him and had promised ten cows for Nono. I immediately put her in the car and took her to our local constable, who had us wait while he went and found her brother and erstwhile husband to be. He came back with them after about an hour and set about warning them that if they made any more moves to take Nono before she finished her education, he’d see that they both went to prison and that the key was permanently lost. Nono has two and a half years to go at her agricultural and homecraft school run by sisters not far from Ngorongoro. Win a few, lose a few!
Some of you have asked about the leadership of our recent seminar for the girls on women”s issues. The team for our recent seminar was made up of two people. Ben and Mase. The three sons of Dean Petersen, a Lutheran Pastor who was a friend of mine in the sixties, now operate a safari company here in Tanzania. They are very interested in the voiceless plight of the Maasai people, especially the oppressed condition of Maasai women in particular. Ben is a Yale graduate in Socialogy and has come to Tanzania under the auspices of the Petersen’s. The Petersen’s are very interested in our efforts to train Maasai women leaders here in Endulen, and agreed to have Ben come to lead discussions we orgainized for our girls. Mase is one of my own girls now grown up, married to one of my boys, and has two children. She is very convinced of the need for the Maasai people to be making the decisions about their land, water, and everything that affects their lives. Mase is intensely interested too in initiatives to enhance the lives of her fellow Maasai women. She worked with Ben to put on the two day seminar. It went very well. We will have another one in late June when all the girls are here for their mid year leave. They number almost thirty most cannot go home during leave because their fathers and brothers will force them to be married and that will be the end of their education.
Mesic Tomislav is a Spiritan seminarian just finishing a year of pastoral experience at the mission on the lip of the crater here in Ngorongoro. Tom and his family fled Serbia when Tom and his brother were threatened with death unless they agreed to serve in the Serbian army during the Bosnia war. After his family settled in Croacia, Tom continued his studies in Ireland. Tomislav is here in Endulen for a couple of days. We are having a goat roast for him and inviting the friends he’s made during his time here at Ngorongoro. He will be spending a week on the island of Zanzabar before he finally leaves Tanzania at the end of May.
Four young Maasai women, graduates of our Education for Leadership program, are now working with women’s groupes aimed at improving their economic situation and raising their awareness as to their rights. One is working in the Loliondo area of North Maasai country, two in the Ngorongoro area and one in central Maasai land. They have all just recently begun this work.
Kosiande, one of our prep school students has had a very difficult experience. Her father, a man with five wives and many children, came to our school and demanded that Kosiande go home to their village, since he had arranged for her to be married immediately. In fact, the bride price cows had already been brought to his village by her prospective husband. She refused and we backed her up, telling him that she was now registered with the government as a secondary school student and had the right to finish her education before marriage. He was very angry and cursed Kosiande, telling that she was dead as far as he was concerned etc. etc.. Kosiande held firm and her father finally got tired berrating her …and us, and went off home. On his arrival at his home villiage, he found that one of his sons, a boy of eleven or twelve had died in his absence. The boy was not ill when his father started out for Endulen some twelve hours before and died for no apparent reason. Kosiande has had a very difficult time of it the last few days, but remains firm in her desire to get an education.
Please help me to continue the work here in Endulen. Sandi Grey will receive your contribution and let me know so that I can write to you.
Ms Sandi Grey
47 Berkshire Ct., #3B