Since 2005 I’ve been a committee volunteer with the Maasai Cultural Exchange Project (MCEP), a non-profit group under the umbrella of Frog Pond Productions, a 501(c)(3) educational organization in Point Pleasant, Bucks County. We advocate for a Maasai tribe located in Kenya, East Africa. They receive support from Americans in Bucks County and surrounding areas who sponsor children’s education and donate funds for water well projects. This success is due to MCEP’s partnership with an NGO in Kenya: The Simba Maasai Outreach Organization (SIMOO).
In February 2015 I traveled to Kenya with two other volunteers for a fact-finding tour. One of the sites on our itinerary was a trip to the Oloshobor Dam, shown above. Every day herders brought their livestock to drink the water. On this particular day we sat along the bank above the dam. With the sound of livestock splashing in the water, we cherished this time watching herders as they took turns leading their goats and cows to quench their thirst.
The Maasai is an indigenous tribe that from one generation to the next passes down awareness of their environment. They live with a “Dry season” and a “Rainy season”. In conversations with them they are most concerned about the fluctuations that have occurred to these two seasons. The “Dry” season is extending by months; the “Rainy” season has almost ceased to happen.
Two weeks ago we received an email describing the dire situations brought about from this extended drought. In this newspaper article from February 2017 this parched land on which they are gathered is a similar dam to the one I photographed in 2015. Both of these dams are now dry.Fortunately MCEP’s seven wells sited across their village, have quenched the thirst of 5,000 people and their livestock. Funds from donors also helped to install pipelines at the wells that snake across the terrain to cisterns located throughout the village. As the land dries from the drought, these seven wells with potable, disease-free are saving lives.
The Maasai attribute these extended droughts to climate change. Water has become so precious that an emergency decision was put in place. Water for the most vulnerable is the priority. As important as livestock is to the Maasai, they’ve made the decision that the elderly and the youngest will have priority for water.
Many areas of the African continent have already morphed into desert-like landscapes because weather patterns are no longer “normal” to what many of these countries experienced in the past. Populations in other parts of Africa are dying because there is a lack of potable water. In Kenya’s Rift Valley the people are eating poisonous plants and their livestock are dying.
This severe change in Africa’s weather cycle is happening around the globe, even here in America. As I write this the United States Senate is debating whether or not to place Scott Pruitt as Secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt does not believe in climate change.
Earlier this week Doylestown citizens packed the regular meeting of the Central Bucks School Board after learning the board was considering adjustments to text books regarding “climate change”. I am a product of the Central Bucks school system from Grade One through Twelve. I thrived in an atmosphere that encouraged the pursuit of knowledge. I’m disappointed that the Central Bucks School Board may have members elected to that body who dismiss science and/or climate change from the curriculum.
The tinkering of climate change is not exclusive to the Central Bucks district. Across America elected school board members approve text books with suppressed or altered facts related to science, culture, history, geography and others. School boards have the power to shape our children’s minds. Yet when election cycles for school board candidates are scheduled, the voter is MIA at the polls. Who is running for school board in your community?
Climate Change is real.