People in Tanzania

Masai in Tanzania Interesting forum post about the Masai with two sides:

on the one hand:

The Masai, much like the indigenous Indians in the U.S. in the 1800’s, are resisting the changes that come with modernization. Tanzania, much like the U.S. in that same period, is fleecing the “poor natives” as it tries to force them from their current unsustainable pastoral and nomadic lifestyle into a more modern lifestyle, including education, improved diet, clean water, medical care etc. I’ve never seen statistics on the average life span of a Masai, but I doubt its very long, considering their diet, filthy water supplies in many areas, lack of education and medical care, and general poverty. In the long run, the Masai culture and traditions will live on only in “tourist” villages, because their current lifestyle cannot survive where both population pressures and wildlife conservation needs conflict with it. Progress, painful as it sometimes is, is inevitable. The Masai will eventually be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century.

And on the other:

Ellie, I can’t agree with you completely here. I would direct you (or anyone who is interested) to an article by Curtis Abraham (a science writer and author) who recently had an article published in SWARA.

He cites research by Professor Ian Scoones who demonstrated in 1995 that pastoralism is not only viable but the best option for arid and semi-arid areas. He also showed that African livestock systems can produce more energy, protein and cash per hectare than Australian and US ranches.

The last days of the Masai

Tanzania’s Masai are losing their land—and their way of life—to forces ranging from tourism to wildlife conservation. Joshua Hammer reports from the front lines of a battle in which Africa’s iconic warriors are fighting for their very survival.