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Another Great Summer Begins!

It’s baby season in Maasailand and there’s little sheep with umbilical cords hanging from their bellies, walking with fresh legs, all bowed out. We spot a baby zebra nursing on our drive to the Mara. New life accompanies a revival of energy with another year of collaboration and many projects for the summer.

 Mary and Meitamei are in the depths of reflecting upon the past 14 years work. They are writing a book generated from the Maasai community’s understanding of their own history. They talk of hope and resilience, cultural survival and possibility. Meitamei shares updates on what community organizing and successes have happened in the past year, more to come soon (I assure you, you will be very excited so hang in there for another update).

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We have a dining hall!

At long last we are proud to say that the exterior building of the kitchen/dining facility at the MERC education center in Maasai Mara is complete! We now need decorators to descend! The finished space will have tables and chairs, cabinets for the kitchen, and a veranda for outside dining. The facility also includes four cottages for researchers and other visitors. We are very excited! 

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We are interviewing Maasai elders about their knowledge of land loss

We had a wonderful meeting with an important community leader, Ole Nkuyaiyu, who was instrumental in the fight for Maasai land rights, especially in negotiations around the time of Kenya's independence in the early 1960s. We traveled to Ole Nkuyaiyu's home and were graciously welcomed by his family who slaughtered a goat and shared some deep history, what Mzee Nkuyaiyu himself described as "emotionally painful." That meeting is pictured above. We also visited the home of someone who has become a hero to those of us who spend hours with archival documents that trace the history of the Maasai land rights struggle. Justice Ole Tipis is known to be a community leader, but little has been known of his deep and committed involvement in the fight for land rights for the Maasai community. We were honored to be welcomed into his home by his son Eric Ole Tipis and to see where the great man lived. 

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Water is coming to Eorr Emayian!

We spent a wonderful day at Eorr Emayian, the site of the current Rotary/MERC water project. The Prescott College class and MERC researchers joined community leadership and the children of the community to share news of the progress of the construction of the distribution system which will bring clean water to several thousand. This place exists between two rivers that are about 20 km apart, and women walk every day with gerry cans on their backs. The worst part is that the water they bring home is polluted by agriculture further upstream, and the entire community suffers from preventable illnesses. The water should be flowing in as little as a month. So this was a day to celebrate! In this picture, Meitamei is addressing the community. The meeting focused especially on updating the children, as they are the ones to whom we are all accountable. 

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Our new digs in Narok!

This summer for the first time, the Prescott College summer program is living in a house big enough to accommodate all of us and it is wonderful! We are grateful to our hosts and to Meitamei who gives so much to this program and our collective experience. Isn't this place beautiful? Monkeys play in the yard...

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