Vol.: 16, #10
Interrupted by Buff:
During this past week, as I sat talking with people under a tree at a
Maasai village, we heard some snorting off a ways. Looking up, a
herd of buffalo emerged from the bush not more than a hundred yards
away. They stopped and stood alert, watching us. Noone was
seriously concerned. Buffalo, in herds are fairly harmless, if one
doesn’t get too close. For a moment everybody was frozen in
surprise. Then the women and children made for the houses and the
men grabbed their spears and began to yell and clap to scare the
animals away. The buffalo promptly turned tail and ran off into the
bush. This is the time of year for buffalo and elephants to be in the
Endulen area in some numbers. During the wet season buffalo and
elephants stay in the deep forest and in the heavy bush found in some
places in the lowlands. They move into our area in large numbers
during the dry season when the grass is finished in the lower country
and water becomes scarce in the forest. The grassy places along the
stream that winds it’s way through the valley here at Endulen
provides great places for them to graze, drink and rest in the shade
during the heat of the day. This year is very dry; elephants and
buffalo are much in evedence, taking advantage of the lush grass
along our stream and in the forests close in around Endulen.
Maasai Girls for Osotwa Prep 2002
These last weeks have been very busy. It is the end of the school
year for the primary schools here in Tanzania and the time to swoop
in and help girls who want to continue their education. It has taken
a lot of preparation. We wrote letters to the head-teachers of all
the primary schools in our area some weeks ago. We asked them to
talk with their students and determine which girls want to go on and
are capable. We made follow up visits to the schools to talk further
with the teachers and students. This week the final exams take place
and is the time for many parents to quickly marry their daughters
off, making further education impossible. I have people from here at
Osotwa at each school ready ready to receive the girls that wish to
go on and have been agreed to by their teachers as having potential.
It looks like we have ten or twelve Maasai girls for Osotwa Prep:
Four girls have arrived and the eight more seem to be on the way for
2002. We are taking every precaution so that their warrior brothers
and friends will have a hard time stealing them away. These are
girls who made the choice to continue their studies. Now we must work
at firming up their resolve by having a good program here.
Contributed by Mike Jemmett, Canadian volunteer here at Osotwa Prep.
Mike will be leaving at the end of the year after three years with
us. Mike has made a great contribution to our program, bringing a
high level of creativity and dedication to his work with our
students. Mike writes…
In 1999, for their annual project, Osotwa students moved boulders to
form a directional compass. In 2000, they built better rat-traps
aiming to reduce the usual infestation. This year, 2001, it’s all
fun and games.
For some time, our students were taught, in English only, how to play
the board games SORRY, CHINESE CHECKERS, CHESS AND BACKGAMMON, and
the card game UNO. These involved reading or listening to overall
game rules or instructions for each move; weighing two or more given
options to find the more advantageous; or seeking an original
solution or strategy to attain a goal.
The follow-up project had two objectives:
A: Invent an original toy that can be used more than once.
B: Design an original board game that can be used more than once.
1. Set a game goal; outline the rules clearly.
2. Test with children; modify.
3: Re-test; finalize.
4. Demonstrate the game with primary school children playing.
Durability 10 10
Originality 20 20
Interest 20 20
Swahili demonstration 20
English demonstration 30
Total possible points 50 100
Bonus points were awarded if the children playing used English words
during the game. This required Osotwa students to teach using
English, as they were taught, and prepares the younger ones to use
English in a playful medium.
Osotwa students working in teams of two called on cooperation;
problem solving involved creativity; designing toys and games
incorporated fun; donating the products to the children promoted
In their various primary schools, many of our students had not used
items like glue or felt markers; and several had never handled
scissors. Have you ever watched a teenage warrior use scissors for
the first time? For these generous material donations to Osotwa and
more, we thank you.
Stay tuned for project results in the October edition of the “Endulen
Till next month…