I’m currently on assignment with ChildFund in Kenya working on a television spot that will air in the US. The video concerns solar panels that the NGO has placed in schools and dormitories in two separate areas of the country. These photos come from remote Maasai land, north of the Tanzania border – far from any tarmacked road or mobile phone tower.
The solar panels, which were of great help to me when charging camera batteries, are even more useful to the girls at Nanin’goi Girls’ Primary and Boarding School in Mosiro, Kenya. Here students can study in class and find their way around the dorms without relying on kerosene lanterns after the sun sets just after 6pm each day.
ChildFund continually works with the elders of the community to ensure that the girls of the school are not subjected to early childhood marriage and female circumcision, practices still very common in this and other Maasai communities. On my first night at Nanin’goi two girls from a far away village came seeking refuge at the school. Though many Maasai have ceased to live as they traditionally have for centuries, most in Mosiro have not.
Though their separate way of life is admirable and beautiful, many traditions of the Maasai hinder their development. However, the fact that Mosiro is home to an all-girls’ school is something that would have been unheard of in a Maasai community even ten or twenty years ago. Change may come slowly, but it’s not impossible.
ChildFund also installed a water system at the school which currently has around 500 girls enrolled. Where’s the footage of these solar panels, you ask? You’ll have to wait to catch the spot on TV.
all photos Copyright 2011 Jake Lyell Photography, LLC