Quest for equality

Maasai culture is one of the most chauvinists of our planet. In Arkaria, Carpio-Pérez Foundation tries to change it through the education of the next generation.

The day dawns over the corn fields of Arkaria, a small maasai village in north Tanzania, forty kilometres west from Arusha.

Ninai is the first one to wake up. She wakes her eldest son, Leposo, to go to school, and fixes something to eat for breakfast while her son washes himself up with some water in a bucket.

Later on, she goes outside to milk the cows with the youngest of her children loaded on her back, since the father is not there to help.

At the boma, not a single man is seen; that’s because maasai culture is traditionally patriarchal. Men are the leaders and the women are responsible for taking care of their home, fetching water from the pond, building the huts, looking after the children and collecting firewood to cook.

Furthermore, it is a polygamous society, thus, men have more than one wife. Moreover, in maasai society, when a man dies, all the family’s belongings pass on to the man’s part of the family, so widows are left with nothing.

In one of her voyages to Tanzania, Maria Carpio Perez met Mibaku Mollel, so

In one of her trips to Tanzania, Maria Carpio Perez met Mibaku Mollel, son of a widow, who had suffered the consequences of a sexist society. Moved by his story, Maria decided to found Carpio-Perez Foundation in order to help the most disadvantaged maasai social group: the widows and their children.

Although Maria knew it would be difficult to change habits so highly attached to their culture, she trusted that as Mibaku was one of them, it would be easier. However, though women listened to him, it wasn’t an easy job, since he had several problems with men helping women.

Little by little, they tried out several different projects to increase the widows’ source of income. However, through time, they realized that in order to make a real change in the situation, they had to raise the following generations through values of equality and respect. hat’s how Eretore school was born.

Thanks to Carpio-Perez Foundation, many children from Arkaria can seek their right to an education. The school provides them with Swahili, English, Maths and Physical Education classes, and is accessible to more than one hundred children between five and ten years old. hat’s how Eretore school was born.

While their children are at school, women must attain to their traditional responsibilities. Nateera, for instance, goes to the pond to fetch some water. Originally, Nateera had to carry twenty litres of water on her back for seven kilometres, so her grandson and her could drink, wash themselves up, and do the laundry. Now, thanks to Carpio-Perez Foundation, she’s got a donkey that helps her carry double the amount of water, giving her the chance to share a part with the women of her boma who aren’t lucky enough to have this facility.

In the late afternoon, when children finish their classes, they go back home and pick up firewood to cook on their way. Once at the boma, they all change into their shuka. After playing for a while, Leposo is in charge of bringing all the goats back into the pen. Finally, when night falls, there’s complete silence. A silence that remains until the rooster’s crow, with the first light.


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