Vol. 22, #3
During recent weeks we have had serious problems with Maasai cattle in the area. Although, at least for the time being, rift valley fever seems to have mostly past us by and the inoculation of cattle for this disease is almost completed here in the Conservation area of Ngorongoro, another sickness is causing major trouble. There is a kind of three leaf clover called Endapipi by the Maasai. The plant is growing in great abundance in all the open areas around Endulen and nearby areas. When cattle eat a lot of this plant they swell up and many die before anything can be done. The remedy that the Maasai use is to puncture the hugely bloated in the side releasing the trapped air with a great wooosh! This treatment takes care of the problem and the animal is no worse for having been punctured. Last week I met an Irishman with a farming background in his home country and told him about this. He responded that they Irish stockmen sometimes have exactly the same problem with their cattle in the spring of the year. And, much to my surprise, he said that their treatment was exactly the same as the Maasai practice. The Irish farmers puncture the sides of the cattle and let the air out. He assured me that the cause of the Irish problem is also a kind of large leaf clover.
There has been a third selection for secondary school by the government. A number of new secondary schools have been opened here in North Maasai country and they are in the process of filling up the places for very late entry into the first year. The normal school year began in January. We had fourteen students in our Osotua prep school here at Endulen and half of them are among those chosen to enter Form I in the various newly opened schools. These include the two Maasai girls in our program. This is great news for our Maasai young people and I am helping them as much as I can to assure that they will be able to take advantage of this opportunity. We are left with seven students and three teachers. Given this teacher student ratio our remaining students should be well prepared for entrance exams for secondary or technical schools at the end of the year. With the large numbers of Maasai student, both boys and girls, now being chosen by the government each year to enter secondary school, there is less and less reason for a prep school program here at Endulen. When I started the Osotua Prep School program over twenty years ago, few Maasai boys and no girls were being chosen to enter secondary school. Our program provided much need remedial English and Math study to enable Maasai young people to be accepted into secondary school. The situation has dramatically changed over the years. It is great to see that the education of Maasai and especially of Maasai women is becoming a genuine focus of the Ministry of Education.
Till next month,