After one month I’m here I realised I did not tell to much about Mkuru, although something can be read in the dedicated page. Maybe I should have done from the beginning, but I did not, so here I am.
Mkuru is a Maasai village in a district mainly inhabited by Wameru people.
A Maasai village is a community of people under a chief and common rules. There is not a localised congregation of houses, a central square, main streets or something similar. People live in bomas, a boma being a group of hut surrounding an enclosure for livestock and then fenced by thorny bushes.
Bomas are scattered in the “village area”. (That’s why if are looking for Mkuru on GoogleEarth you cannot see any proper village, but only green or brown according to the season)
Each boma is inhabited by a family, which normally include a man with 1 to many wives, each occupying a different hut, and their children. Sometimes men do not even remember how many children they have. Now things are changing slowly, because Maasai are settling down to a stable life. Then they are facing the problem that they cannot increase the number of cows indefinitely, and so the number of children should decrease, because they cannot afford to give cows to any daughter when she gets married. Moreover, many Maasai became Christians, because discovered that praying God they could heal some diseases (?) and some women are starting to say that they prefer to be the only wife. Although not openly taught by priests, there is also a concern about HIV spreading due to promiscuity.
In Mkuru area, then, there are a Lutheran church and a primary school. Scattered around, also few small shops selling sodas, rice, maize flour.
One of the bomas is the Cultural Boma, where Maasai women gathered to prepare jewellery to sell in town and at the markets.
Then there are the two camps, the Training Camp and the Camel Safari Camp. The Training Camp is my place now!!
It is composed of different buildings: the management office, the kitchen, the dining room, the manager house, one training room, two dorms for trainees, 8 stable two-bed-tents, bush toilets.
What about facilities?? we are very lucky!! We don’t need to walk two hours to get the water for daily need, as it happens in some other villages, but we have access to spring water coming from M.Meru. Which is also not too rich in fluoride, differently than other water coming from the mountain and causing serious problems in teeth and bones to most of the people living in the area. Moreover, there are two tanks for collecting rain water from the roofs, to use during dry season.
For electricity, we use sun of course!! I cannot imagine how it is possible that in many African countries most of the people do not have electricity, and the governments decide to build huge DAMS, when there is such solar power available. Of course, the problem is the cost of installing solar panels..and sometimes they can be stolen.. but also a matter of attitude.
Yes, you are right, maybe it’s just that people don’t need electricity, and we want to give it to them so that later we can sell them electric appliances.. but when I see how happy Maasai are of having a cell phone and being bale to recharge it at our camp or at schools equipped with solar panels… well, they could even start to sell one or two cows each and buy panels..but this is a very complicated matter, and I cannot say, so far, what should or should not be done.. This is their life and their land, in the end..
But anyway, Mkuru Training Camp is a separate entity and here we’re trying to reach a sustainable use of resources. We are also starting to separate garbage, ..well.. I’m doing that!
At the camp there are also beehives for honey production, an enclosure for chickens, and finally we are going to start a kitchen garden near the hafir!
Entertainment are: going to the dam to spot animals, reading, listening music..there is also a television, if you speak Kiswahili. I’m improving in that..
But the best is ..watching stars!!!