One of my lasting memories of a recent trip to Kenya is of our visit to the local Masai village not far from our camp.
Satao Elerai Camp is situated about 10 kms from the south east corner of Amboseli National Park.
Overlooked by Mt Kilimanjaro, the camp is leased from the local Masai tribe. Their relationship is interesting. Apart from paying rent, Satao Elerai helps support the village and together they work towards conserving the land and protecting the wildlife from poachers.
One of the difficulties facing Masai tribes all over Kenya is to balance the needs of the Masai people and the protection of the wildlife. The camp helps the community by supporting ways that they can sustain their livelihoods but at the same time maintain this part of the country as a migratory path.
I was fascinated by life in this village and the struggle of the community. Guests donations go directly to a trust run by the village and it is then used for whatever the village is in need of. Our donations were to be used to buy pencils and exercise books for the school.
Our visit to the village is part of the camp’s support. When we arrived, the villagers greeted us with traditional Masai dancing and singing.
A walk around the camp gave us the opportunity to see inside their huts.
They are very simple huts with a separate sleeping area for everyone as well as a cooking area. At night, the cattle are kept in separate enclosures surrounded by thorn bushes to keep out the roaming wildlife. During the day, the older boys are their shepherds whilst the younger children go to school.
One of the camp’s staff members is employed to liase with the local community in regards to the children’s needs in schooling and health.
Malnutrition had been a huge problem here so it was arranged that the lodge would provide a nutritious lunch for the school children every day. Since this has started, the level of malnutrition has dropped. Health was another issue but now that the confidence of the children has been established, this is proving easier to manage though the parents still remain skeptical that these new medicines are no better than the traditional ways
The children quickly gathered around us, wanting their photos taken.
We then had the chance to support the village by buying some of their jewellery.
I was fascinated by the men and women’s neckpieces and ear decorations that had, over time, stetched their ear lobes.
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