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Moving for Maasai

Updated: 3 days ago

(Note: The entire text starts at the bottom and continues upwards in sections. So the most recent is at the top)


Sigrid has an idea...


The flow of donations stagnates, the school building stands. Sigrid is aware: more people need to know about ERAMATARE, true to the motto "Do good and talk about it!". - But how? It has to suit Sigrid AND the Maasai community. And suddenly a clear picture appears that makes Sigrid herself smile: she sees herself in Maasai clothes, walking through Austria with a donkey. That fits! It suits everyone! For Sigrid, because she likes to walk. To the Maasai pastoral people anyway. The Maasai walk long distances on foot. With their herds, to the fields, to the water, to distant neighbors, to the weekly market. They use donkeys as workhorses.


When Sigrid shares the idea with Kaira, he is hooked. He wants to take part in this promotional tour for ERAMATARE. - If that is the case, then Sigrid puts on her Austrian Dirndl dress and Kaira his Maasai shuka.


"Two cultures - one vision", that is our message.

But questions arise: Going from where to where? How do you get a suitable donkey? How far can you get with a donkey per day? Are donkeys really as stubborn as they are said to be? Who organizes charity events during the tour? How do you find the media to report on it? - Whew, all new territory! But Sigrid has already created a reality by telling lots of people she knows about the idea. There is no turning back!


And indeed: new ideas are coming from different sides, one door after the other is opening.

  • The route clearly leads from her old home in Gmunden in Upper Austria to her new home near Innsbruck in Tyrol.

  • It starts at Gmunden High School, where Sigrid started school 40 years ago. The final will take place at Sillgasse High School (Innsbruck). Both schools are organizing a charity run to help build a school in Engaruka, Tanzania. Pupils running for pupils, that makes sense.

  • Sigrid learns from a friend that someone in the neighboring community has a donkey. At some point, she takes heart, drives there and introduces herself to Laura. Laura IMMEDIATELY agrees to lend her beloved donkey Pauli for this good cause. What trust in a stranger! Life is big!

  • Radio Tirol agrees to an interview that will be broadcast in the Saturday afternoon series "Bei die Leut'!" will be broadcast. ORF Salzburg will broadcast a short TV report on the news. The Innsbruck section of the Alpine Club is prepared to link to the blog on its website. - Who knows, maybe other media will follow. 

It's time to train with Pauli the donkey. Laura builds a carrying saddle, material is tested. Waterproof bags, a tent and advertising banners are purchased. The hooves have to be trimmed, but the farrier has to wait a long time. The training is interrupted and Sigrid is nervous because time is running out. Then the time finally comes: we go on a three-day trial tour! And it's going to be really exciting...


To be continued above




Kaira is Maasai. He wants to go to secondary school, but his father forbids him to do so. At 14, he runs away to Arusha, 150 km away, and returns seven years later with a school-leaving certificate and a vision: to build a school, empower women, end female genital mutilation and reduce the birth rate.

The Maasai are a pastoral people, extremely bound by tradition. Genital mutilation of girls is seen as normal and customary. Also by the women. The birth rate is very high because the level of education is very low. The connection has been scientifically proven. Education is rudimentary because the state hardly spends any money on the Maasai. The food situation is often difficult due to long dry and drought phases. Agriculture and horticulture are in their infancy among the semi-nomadic Maasai.

Turning point:

In 2021, Kaira meets Sigrid and they travel through Tanzania together. Kaira talks about his vision, Sigrid identifies with it, she starts fundraising, looks for and finds partners, founds an association.

Courage is at the beginning of action, happiness at the end (Demokrit)

The plan: Build a school. To professionalize agriculture in a sustainable way. Strengthen the Maasai community economically.

The start is successful. Classes and teachers' accommodation are built, teachers are employed, volunteers arrive. More and more children come to school. They need to be fed, because they can only learn well with a full stomach. This costs a lot of money in Tanzania. Families spend up to 50% of their monthly income on food. This also affects the school.

In 2023, 4 hectares of land can be purchased to grow food for the school itself and generate surpluses for sale. The German association Char2Cool comes forward to help with soil improvement.

In 2022, Kaira and Sigrid found the company Eramatare-Experience to use Kaira's tourism profession to strengthen the Maasai community and secure an income for himself. In addition to the usual destinations (Kilimanjaro, Serengeti...), "walking safaris" and stays with the Maasai are offered. 30% of the company's profits flow into the project.

The IOG - Engineers without Borders Austria will take care of the water supply from 2023. They will plan, finance and build a water pipeline from the water catchment 7 km away.

So far, everything is going well. But the flow of donations stagnates, and so does the school construction. What to do? Sigrid has an idea...

To be continued...

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