Published on Indigy.org: https://indigy.org/tribes/maasai/please-support-water-development-in-rural-regions-of-tanzania
Written by Jaclynn Chiodini, Founder/Coordinating Director of the Napokie Foundation in November 2012 during the drought in Mrandawa:
While staying in Lendikinya, you rarely see many people in the village; everything looks deserted and quiet, periodically you may hear a giggle from one of the children or a grunt from a goat trotting by. The women don’t appear to exist during the day and only a few elders sit idly by their homes. Outside of the Community Director’s home, on top of a small mountain, is the open-air nursery school of the Mrandawa Initiative of the Napokie Foundation. Around forty-five students sit under an Acacia Tree or cram into the Baha’i church when it’s unoccupied to learn basic Swahili, English, Reading and Writing and Mathematics.
You would never assume there was any crisis of water in this village where every person who sees you exchanges friendly greetings and hugs with you, and invites you to their homes to share tea. You would never assume that the women arriving to the village at around 2:30 pm who energetically shake your hand, greeting you with a “Takwenya,” (the Maasai greeting for a woman), and who pull you into a tight, warm hug when you answer with the correct reply, “Iko,” had just come back from a journey that began at 5:00 AM to search for water at a far-off water hole, carrying heavy containers on their heads for over 50 km. You would never assume that the warriors (young men) who sat with me for over an hour, giggling at my attempts at speaking Maa with beaming smiles on their faces, were behind the scenes watching their cattle die from lack of water.
But unfortunately, that is the reality. The elderly are becoming sick, children are becoming sick, and cattle are dying off at such a rate that most warriors have left the village all together to search for water for their cattle elsewhere in Tanzania until the crisis is over. But community leaders are warning that the crisis will only escalate. As the West still debates over the reality of climate change, communities in Mrandawa and most of the area of Monduli are seeing their family, friends, communities, and way of life being threatened by increasingly periodic droughts.
This lack of water jeopardizes any attempts at developing the school in Lendikinya. If there is no water, there is no life. We, as a global community, must act together to provide Mrandawa with a water system that will save the Maasai people and way of life in Mrandawa. Only when every person in the community is properly hydrated with clean water can we truly envision our dream of developing a community-centered school system in the village.