I’m flying out July 27th to live in a Maasai village about an hour and a half south of Nairobi to teach at Kimuka Primary School. I’ll be in Kenya for right at a month, although it may seem a tad longer with no electricity or running water.
Thanks to the Rivers Institute at Hanover College, I received a grant that covered my flight, visa, and program costs. The Rivers Institute provides grants to students interested in doing research at home or abroad. I proposed to study the water crisis in Kenya from an anthropological context. After months of deliberation, I decided that my best bet was to volunteer while doing research; I would be able to find a program that would provide a place for me to stay as well as food, plus I wouldn’t be completely alone in a country I know very little about. The Maasai will be great for my research because they are one of the tribes most affected by global warming and the lack of water in the region.
Traditionally, the Maasai are a pastoral group whose wealth is dependent upon how many cows they have. Cows are meant to roam throughout the Great Rift Valley in search of water and food sources, but today those are limited because of climate change. It will be interesting to see how the Maasai have already been impacted and in what ways their culture has evolved due to the changes. Needless to say, I’m super pumped.
If you like to read and are in need of a good one check out The Worlds of a Maasai Warrior. Part ethnography, part auto-biography, the book provides an excellent glimpse into the life of the Maasai. There’s also a really great blog on here that tells stories from right around where I will be. Go here: http://oracleroulette.com/ and scroll down a tad and you’ll find it.
Things for you to Google: Maasai, Ngong Hills, Water Crisis in Kenya, Great Rift Valley, Pastoral groups