Loodariak is situated in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley in the district of Kajiado, 60km south east of Nairobi Kenya. It is a vast rural territory of approximately 10,000 persons, the majority being from the Maasai tribe. There is scarce access to electricity and water in the region. The lack of water is aggravated by climate change.
The Maasai are pastoralists. Cattle play a major economic, cultural and spiritual role in their lives. They require cattle herds for substance, trade, marriage, inheritance and community status.
The Maasai have been marginalized from main stream Kenyan economy and discriminated against by officials and policy makers who see the Maasai way of life as outmoded, unproductive and backward. Their ancestral grazing lands and traditional way of life are under threat from others who wish to exploit their natural resources for game parks and tourism, and from the commercialization of agriculture and cattle ranching.
As their lands shrink, mainly male youth seek additional sources of income from larger towns and cities. The Maasai wish to protect their vast land resources and wildlife, their livestock and traditional way of life, while entering the 21st century.
The Maasai have a traditional division of labour based on age and sex. It is a polygamous culture. Men are responsible for the cattle herding, protecting their land and trade. Young males assist their fathers and herd cattle far from home. Older men make decisions around land and negotiations with other communities.
Website: J Golden
Research Asst: H Sadkowski
& P Haastrup
Site Design: W Cudlip
Photos: J Golden, Ryerson University
& N Cole
Professor Jean Golden Ryerson University
Site Designer: Walt Cudlip