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Where are the cows?

October 31, 2010

La Chica is delighted to be back in Tanzania with her Longido friends, however she’s quite surprised at some of the changes that have taken place in her seven month absence.  Usually Longido village is full of cows – grazing, being herded by young Masai boys in their bright checked cloths, scaring La Chica at night when she has to walk past them to get to her mud hut to sleep…  This time there are no cows in Longido.  The three year drought followed by a miniscule amount of rain has meant that the water situation is worse than ever. Longido’s remaining cows (the 10% that survived the three year drought) have been brought to other areas of Tanzania.  So the young Masai boys looking after the cows are missing months of school at a time, and there is no fresh milk in Longido.  Usually La Chica drinks chai made with fresh milk, or sometimes a cup of fresh milk, when she’s hanging out in her boma.  Now, for the first time in her life, La Chica’s best friend Namnyak is having to buy milk from neighbouring villages – crazy!

For the first time ever in the village, the sporadic water sources which at best might offer dirty water for a few hours a day, or at worst no water for days on end, are drying up so much that water is now being sold for between 500 and 1000 Tanzanian shillings a bucket.  A$0.80 may not be alot of money for Australians, but for the Masai this is expensive.  For example, a Masai woman will walk for hours, collecting a large bundle of firewood which she will try to sell in Longido town for 1500 shillings.  So for many Masai, it’s now a choice of food or water, but not both.



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