Welcomes in Loliondo

We started the 2014 Directors’ trip by flying from Arusha to Wasso, in Loliondo, where we were met by a large group of Maasai who wanted to welcome us to the area. The group who met us included local elected officials, traditional elders, teachers from local schools, and a large group of women. They accompanied us to our first stop on the trip – Orkuyene Village. Orkuyene is a newly-formed village in this area; the community wanted to show us the primary school that they have started to build but have not yet been able to open. After a brief visit to the nicely-built school buildings, we attended a meeting with over 100 members of the community who wanted to meet the FoTZC board, tell us about their community’s needs and priorities, and learn about FoTZC’s priorities in the area.

We had a delicious lunch at Orkuyene (served out of the back of a station wagon!), and then went to visit Oloipiri Primary School. One of the many remarkable things about Oloipiri Primary is the sense of ownership and pride that the students take in their school. Small groups of students each plant a tree in the schoolyard and are expected to water and nurture it. Not only does it teach the students about preserving a valuable resource – wood – it encourages them to participate in the actual upkeep of the school. Our next project is a 2-in-1 teachers’ house at Oloipiri Primary; we plan to break ground soon, so it was a pleasure to be able to visit the school and deliver the news that we are ready to move forward on the teachers’ housing in person. We are excited to share photos of the construction as it gets started!

Stay tuned for more posts about the Directors’ Trip!