The Maasai Community
Whistling Thorn Camp has forged a priceless relationship with the people of the Olasiti community, which is situated around the northwestern tip of Tarangire National Park. The Maasai call the region Elwai, after the whistling thorn, hence our own name. Just as many of the migratory animals are threatened in the area from an increase in farms and other development, so are the Maasai. They have lost access to hundreds of thousands of acres of ancestral lands where they moved seasonally to ensure their livestock had plenty of water and forage. Development has caused them to resort to a sedentary lifestyle, in a landscape that is not good farmland. Hence, the community is a very poor one and there is little or no help from the goverment.
Daudi Melangori is the village chairman, and Olais Lekoi is the village executive officer. They are both very supportive of the Whistling Thorn project, and anxious to see it grow and expand both in what it can do for the community and how much land can be protected as part of the wildlife corridor.
As we continue to build this website, please check back for more historical and cultural information about the Maasai.
In the meantime, we recommend the following resources for excellent information on the Maasai, in their own words and in the eyes of others:
The Maasai Association's website is a fantastic resource - written by Maasai, for the benefit of the whole world. http://www.maasai-infoline.org/
For readings, some of the most interesting books written about the Maasai are by Tanzanian David Read. As a boy, David (who is now in his 80s) grew up with only Maasai children as companions. His stories in his books are amazing, and they are full of information about Maasai customs, with no sugar-coatings. http://www.serengetimasai.com/index.html