Harriet’s East African Journey Continues!

Harriet is well into her 3 month journey evaluating our projects at Maasai Academy and Mercy Primary and we are pleased to say we have not one but two updates this month from her travels!

Maasai Academy, Safari and the journey to Mercy Primary!

My final 2 weeks in Olorte have been very busy. I’ve been working to finish off all of my reports and collect data which COCO can use in the future. I spent a week carrying out basic health checks on all the students at Maasai Academy. I looked at their height, weight, BMI, condition of their teeth, eyesight, how many meals they have a day and if they have anything to eat or drink before the leave for school. Although trying to measure the height and weight of 140 very excited children was pretty hectic it was also a lot of fun and was nice getting to talk to each child one on one (via a teacher for translation).

Maasai Kids

The results proved to be very interesting and painted a very good picture of daily life for many children growing up within this remote Maasai community. The first difficulty I encountered was that many children didn’t know how old they were. Births are rarely officially recorded and birthdays aren’t celebrated so your real date of birth is not seen as important. Those that do have a birth certificate will often say they are a few years younger than they really are so that they are legally able to work for longer before retiring. Some children knew the year they were born in so we were able to work out their age give or take a few months, but there were definitely some who improvised! The statistical data I collected will be sent back to the COCO office where it will be analysed.

Maasai Guy

I was shocked by how many young students had had teeth removed due to cavities. I spoke to Florence, the local nurse, about the reasons for this. She says that from birth children are given sugar to lick if they are crying and they also drink multiple cups of Maasai tea a day to which they add huge amounts of sugar. As toothbrushes and toothpaste are too expensive for many families to afford, it is commonplace to take a small branch and split the ends and use this as a brush. All of this sugar combined with the fact that many parents are unaware of the connection between sugar and cavities means that teeth extraction is common. During my visit Florence went into the school to deliver an oral health lesson to the older students. It was great to see the clinic and the academy linking up and to see how one can benefit the other.

Group smiling kids

During the week I was also speaking to