Some good news and some bad news

The engineers from Bridging the Gap Africa (http://www.bridgingthegapafrica.org/) have sent some good news: they might visit Dareda Kati Village in less than a week in order to plan the footbridge that villagers and Karimu (http://www.karimufoundation.org/) volunteers will build this June and July.

Harmon Parker, founder of Bridging the Gap Africa, reports from Kenya that the flooding there has already caused a lot of destruction, misery, and even death.  Although the conditions in Dareda Kati do not seem to be that extreme, its people are nevertheless thrilled to know that the rainy season of 2013 will be the last one in which rising waters swallow their existing, tiny bridge and slice the village in two, keeping some teachers and many children from going to school and making it impossible for many sick people to get treatment.

However, some very bad news seems to be coming out of a different part of Tanzania, more than a hundred miles directly north of Dareda Kati.  The central government of President Jakaya Kikwete may be preparing to evict large numbers of Maasai from their land in the Loliondo District, which links the two crowning jewels among East Africa’s priceless wildlife treasures, the Ngorongoro Crater (visited by Karimu volunteers every year) and the Serengeti Plain.

Apparently, the Kikwete government purports to justify the evictions as a conservation measure that will prevent overgrazing by the Maasai’s cattle.  But the Maasai themselves, along with representatives of NGO’s active in the area, challenge the government’s assertion that their traditional pastoral lifestyle poses an environmental threat.  With the Maasai out of the way, the Ortello Business Corporation, an organizer of luxury safaris based in the United Arab Emirates, would profit from unrestricted access to one of the world’s most abundant hunting grounds.  Both the Maasai and the NGO’s insist that the Kikwete government is merely seeking a share of that profit, at tragic and incalculable costs to both the human and the animal residents of the Loliondo District.

There is strong evidence that the Kikwete government can be forced to back down in the face of international pressure.  An article that appeared last week in The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/30/maasai-game-hunting-tanzania) explains the crisis at greater length.  The article will also point you toward the international advocacy group Avaaz (http://avaaz.org/en/save_the_maasai/?slideshow) in case you want to help exert some of that pressure.

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About Don Stoll

Don and his wife, Marianne Kent-Stoll, are co-founders of the Karimu International Help Foundation. They established Karimu in 2008 at the request of the people of Dareda Kati Village, in the Manyara Region of northeastern Tanzania. Karimu is devoted to working with the residents of Dareda Kati in order to satisfy their development needs, as defined by the villagers themselves.
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One Response to Some good news and some bad news

  1. Hamis Maginga says:

    How are you today Mr. Don?
    I am terrific. I am very sorry to see that some members of societies in our county are not valued their humanity compared to animals who are found in their localities. I agree that the natural resources found in our country are very useful in our National economy and should be exploited to the maximum, but the Government should consider human rights by cooperating people to discuss about utilization of resources found in their localities. For the case of Loliondo,Maasai people can be allowed to continue living their because their traditional way of life and norms does not allow them to destruct their environment and they are friendly to animals. So there is no harm between Maasai people and wildlife. Maasai people respect environmental conservation whereby you can not see them cutting down trees like other tribes do in our country like Sukumaland people. To me I think, the action taken by the Government about Maasai to vacate the area is not fair. In the first place it is their mother land and hence they have the right to be their. Maasai people should be involved in the discussions where they can air their views about what should be done for their development and the Nation in general. Overgrazing by Maasai should not be considered as a threat but a development and the Government should listen to them and work cooperatively to find the best way of keeping their cattle to reduce the danger which could be caused to wild animals and the area be conserved for the National development. Government leaders of different levels should not contradict Maasai people by their statements about this issue. Some are talking in favour of Maasai people and others against Maasai for their own interest. I would like to advice our Government leaders to be together in solving this problem by considering the rights of Maasai and not use force to remove them.
    Maginga, H
    Dareda Sec. School

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