Sustainable Bonanza

February 16, 2010

In the Maasai Mara

Spending time in the Maasai Mara is amazing. You find yourself surrounded by lions, giraffe, zebra, and vast open stretches of land in a way not possible in the United States.

Despite the remote nature of this beautiful place, the Maasai people have made contact with the rest of the technological world. While the Maasai still dress in their beautiful bright clothing as they roam the land with herds of goats, sheep and cattle many of them also carry cell phones. While I was unable to determine whether this connection to the rest of the world was helpful or detrimental, I do know that i can now contact a wonderfully friendly man in his early twenties named ‘Dickson’ to chat.

While volunteering during a visit to Mara West, a side trip to the local Maasai village gave an inside view of the still viable semi-nomadic culture. The enterprising community which we visited or more like paid to visit gave us a warm welcome, a tour, and then laid out their hand crafted goods for sale. The community supports its chosen traditional lifestyle and a school for the village’s children with the proceeds from tourists. Who is behind this smart thinking? The college educated, handsome chief.

Yes, even after going to school and living with a ‘more civilized, modern’ group, traditional ways of life can be preferred.  In this case traditional life has been bolstered by the knowledge gained.Image of the Maasai people setting up their circular market

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