Visiting a Massai School

Trip Start Jun 30, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Kenya  , Nairobi Area,
Monday, July 5, 2010

We visit a Massai School today, and the students here welcome us with songs. I visit each classroom one by one, talk to children, sing and dance with them.  I wish the village had been near where we stay to offer some volunteer work.

To reach here we had a long journey in dusty roads full of rocks and pits.  It took us 4 hours to reach.

Here in Kenya and in similar countries with these bad dirt roads the distances should be considered differently.  One can believe that a distance of 20 kms can be covered in 15 minutes or 20 the maximum but the truth is that one needs more than 2 hours to reach this distance because of the very bad condition of the dirt roads. The people now who don't have big cars and use the ordinary family cars I am sure they have to take their cars for service at least once every week.

The word 'safari’ for an African means drive, so our

 safari is interesting, because we see zebras and gazelles in the fields on our way to the school.  Many ‘wild beasts’ as the locals call them here which in reality are the male cows, very different from ours.  They look like buffalos. Giraffes can be seen in the distance, and wild pigs.  We are told that you can be attacked by a leopard if you walk in the evening in these fields. The Massai people who live out in these fields are able to protect themselves and from a young age they are trained how to kill these animals.

The Massai tribe is found mainly in the southern part of Kenya. They worship cattle because it is their main source of economic survival.

They prefer to remain nomadic herdsmen, moving as their needs necessitate. Many Massai believe that education is not important for the herdsman to search for green grass to feed the cows.  They have not strayed from the traditional basic ways of life.  Farming for the trading of crops such as corn and vegetable is done by some of them.  They reject the cash economy and refuse to settle or become farmers.  This has made life difficult and harsh. This is becoming more difficult in modern times as their open plain disappears.

The students of this school walk for miles to attend classes.

Their school is in a much better condition than the one I visited some days ago, and the students here, even wear uniforms.  Of course it is a poor school, and not all teachers here get paid.

Most of them do volunteer work as I am informed, and the salary of a teacher who is paid from the government does not exceed the $190 U.S.

We have brought rice and maize for the students today, soap, many pencils, copy books and candies.  I notice that the students in the orphan school had more smily faces than these children of the Massai here.  The students tell me that they do all their homework at school because it is not possible to study at their homes.  The moment they return home they help their parents with the cattle.

In the drier regions of the north, they subsist on a diet of cow’s blood and milk, which they mix together and drink.

A cup of such milk mixed with blood was offered to us when we visited the small Massai settlement  3 days ago, but we politely refused to have. (I am so sad that by the time we got to that Massai settlement I had no space in the camera for more photos) !

I am interested to see where the children’s food is prepared, and the principal of the school takes me there.  (See photos).

They tell us that the older students are responsible for the school’s daily cooking

At the back of the school the students learn how to create a small garden, and some students grow different plants.  There is lack of water in the area.  It is a place with very little rain and for this reason they keep a big reservoir at the back of the school.

There is a very cute little girl of about 4 or 5 who is very scared.  The moment she sees us she starts crying.  Probably it is the first time she has seen a white person but little by little her attitude changes.  By the time we leave she is smiling and she even gives me her hand and I hug and kiss her.

The best way to greet children is to touch them on the head I am told. In return the kids bow to show their respect.

In a senior classroom I start chatting with the students, and the atmosphere is really friendly.  There is a very handsome boy who is really clever and friendlier than the rest. I cannot remember what we were talking about but in an instant I decide to go near him and hug him.  I put my hands around him and give him a kiss on the cheek.  The young lady sitting next to him puts her palms on her face and she is laughing and I cannot understand the reason for her laughing.

When we leave the class the principal tells me that because the boy had had a circumcision it was not right for me to hug or kiss him and that was the reason why the girl acted like that.  He is supposed to be a man now and he is no longer a kid as I thought!

Before we leave, the bell rings and all students by class are gathered around the place where their country’s flag stands.  There are a few announcements made, and they stand around the things we brought them. They thank us, and there is some singing and praising to the Lord.  They seem to be very religious, but this can be seen throughout the country.  There are no atheists here.

We greet them goodbye and we get in the jeep and drive off.

It is already quite late in the afternoon but the trip does not end here.  We visit a couple of other houses and distribute clothes and gifts (I am thankful that we brought many) and by the time we get home it is really late. 

It has been a tiring, yet very interesting day with new experiences again today!

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laorfamily on

What a great adventure Popi.

lil thapa on

it is really informative about the people of Nigeria.
Reading your article i really enjoyed. Thank you very much.

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