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While AMSO has been busy developing and growing its projects within Alailelai, AMSO’s family has also been growing. With young babies joining Mbekuri and Somiani’s families earlier in the year the newest addition comes with the newest member of staff. John Nguruko is working with Maasai Partners to assist with the development of AMSO’s internet and social media presence. He and his partner Jess Broughton live in the town of Karatu, a short drive from Ngorongoro National Park. Jess is currently working a Fellowship with another of AMSO’s US partners, Women’s Microfinance Development and managing their Tanzanian group Gnako Women’s Community Organization (GWOCO).
The couple met while Jess, from Scotland, was in Tanzania on an independent research project for her dissertation with the University of St Andrews. John, of Maasai decent, was living and working in Arusha at the time, spending his free time looking for ways to supporting homeless children living on the city’s streets. They shared a mutual passion for community development and a dream to one day found their own organization for the community.
Having both found development work in Karatu town in the Arusha region they moved and have been living and working there from then. As of August 25th this year (2017) their small family, that had grown into the two of them, their cat, dogs and a rescued squirrel, welcomed a new member, their first child together. Baby Sammy Michael Nguruko was born at FAME hospital in Karatu, where AMSO sends many patients from Alailelai to get treatment. He was born with an impressive 3.6kg and good health to the ecstatic new parents.Now, at 10 weeks old and 7kg Sammy is a fully integrated member of the Nguruko/ Broughton household. The pair are getting ever better at juggling new parenthood with their work responsibilities and while it has had some challenges and a great deal of sleep deprevation they are both doing a fantastic job and remain healthy, happy and absolutely in adoration of their young boy.
Welcome to AMSO baby Sammy. We hope that in the future you will join John in contributing to our organization.
While visiting a nearby village in October of 2015 Somiani met and fell in love with the wonderful Mary Philimon. Shortly after they met he ask her to marry him. Before a couple are able to marry, in Maasai culture, the man must first agree upon a Bride Price to pay the parents for their daughter. Somiani agreed to providing nine cows to his future wife’s family before the wedding and a tenth cow to be delivered on the wedding day. This is a high price but the couple are truly in love and Mary was certainly worth the cows.
The happy couple delayed their wedding until after the birth of their first child.
Now eleven months old, baby Vivian lives with her parents in their family Boma “I love her so much” Somiani declaired, “she is our first baby, that is why I spend most of my time with my family, playing with my daughter”.
After time settling into parenthood and working to raise money for the wedding, the couple eventually decided to hold their wedding day on the 29th of September. They had a traditional Maasai wedding which consists of some unusual events. For one long week before the wedding day Mary had to stay inside her parents’ home. She was unable to leave, see or talk to anyone but her parents. After this week Somiani was able to come to her family home and collect her, leaving behind the final cow, of which was previously agreed upon. On arrival at Somiani’s boma Mary then spend a full day inside his home. This day is the official wedding day. Mary stayed inside, only to be visited or seen by Somiani. The boma hosted more than 150 guests who came to dance, sing and eat outside with Somiani in celebration. After this 24 hour period the couple officially became husband and wife.
Mary’s family gifted her several goats and calves so that she could have her own small business and contribute to her new household. Now, while she is looking after the livestock Somiani is either manning his small shop or doing work with AMSO. The couple are extremely happy together and expressed their joy over the success of their wedding day and their future life together. While it is accepted that Maasai men may marry more than one woman Somiani insists that he is more than content with his family as it is.
Right now, there is a big challenge of needing toilets at Alchaniomelock primary school. There are more than 400 students for only 4 toilets and according to the government, more must be added.AMSO is trying to find money to help construct the toilets, if it is possible. The estimate to build a 6-stall toilet building is 10 million TZS (~$5,000 USD)
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Maasai is the among of the tribe keeping their culture still standing strong over the influence of tourism.