Published: Maasai turn to tourism in face of drought

Freelancing has been slow going. I have several stories finished still with no takers.

But in the April issue of the Caravan, a political and cultural journal in Delhi, you can find my story from Kenya about drought hitting pastoralists near the famous Maasai Mara reserve. It also features one of my best photos from my days down by the Mara.

You can read the whole story here or see the PDF version here. And the audio slideshow of my photos is here.

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Multimedia re-cut: Tourism, friend or foe to Maasai facing drought?

You haven’t watched this one yet. Re-cut and reposted with new audio, photos and narration to make it better, faster, stronger. Longer, too.

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Kenyans to Obama: Stick it to our idiotic government

I fully expected Kenya’s honeymoon affair with America to end when the Obama administration dropped the threat of a travel ban on numerous Kenyan politicians alleging they had stood in the way of reform. Here was the superpower trying to dictate local politics.

Instead, according to most of the locals I spoke to, Obama had won points, rather than lost them.

Kenyans for decades have labored under corrupt regime after corrupt regime since independence from the British in 1963. Even the country’s celebrated first leader, Jomo Kenyatta, is considered to have been corrupt. And don’t get me started on Daniel arap Moi. His legacy of gutting the constitution lingers today; so does his plundering the treasury (and really the economy).

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Maasai face hard times with drought

Maasai pastoralists

Maasai pastoralists

The Maasai, perhaps the most famous of the Kenyan tribes, live in southwestern Kenya, mostly herding cattle and making what they can from the tourists. They largely still live in traditional villages — mud and dung huts and fences made of forest brush.

(A minority have integrated into more modern societies, but they almost always wear the traditional red patterned shawl.)

However, given East Africa’s prolonged drought, the Maasai are having an increasingly difficult time feeding their cows and goats — the lifeblood of their tradition. The grasses they own communally are mostly exhausted, driving more and more Maasai into the game reserves for grazing pastures, which are protected for the benefit of tourists.

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