An Evening with the Maasai Chief Ole Maito

This was an evening organized by the Allerwelthaus Köln together with Chance e.V. an organization in Köln that works with Chance International based in Kenya. Chief Michael Ole Maito was visiting from Kenya to give an overview and indepth explanation of the projects that are being run by Chance e.V in Kenya.
The event was held at Forum Volkshochschule im Museum in Köln with both the Kenyan Ambassador HE Nyauncho Osinde and the Bürgermeister, Bartsch from Köln in attendance. The attendance was great but the Kenyans were very few considering the location. Watu wa Koron mlikuwa wapi? (People from Köln where were you?)
The evening started out with short, tasteful speeches followed by an answer question session. Memorable statements of the evening:
Manchmal muss man etwas ändern um es zu behalten” 
(Sometimes we have to change something inorder to keep it)
– Bürgermeister, Bartsch
The diversity brought by 42 different language groups is our Strength. We might speak different languages but our Warmth, Hospitality and Friendliness cuts across all groups” – Amb. Osinde
“Some cultural practices are hindrances to health and well being of those practising it, e.g. FGM and the government is working together with NGOs and networks to stop it, but some traditions die hard
– Amb. Osinde
“The change might be slow, but we (kenyans) shall overcome” – Amb. Osinde
Kenya not only offers a destination for tourists, but also an investment hub” – Amb. Osinde
We should work towards quality education, eg by increasing the number of teachers in public schools”
– Chief Ole Maito
Though they (children in the area where Chance works in Kenya) live in poverty, they have a dream
– Jens Bergmann
” If you want to eat for 
3 months plant beans
1 year plant trees
100 years then educate the masses
– Chief Ole Maito
As you change with time, maintain the positive aspects of your culture and do away with the negative
– Chief Ole Maito
Development goes hand in hand with maintaining culture, you can’t do one without the other and remain wholesome
– Chief Ole Maito
When asked what the Europeans could learn from the Maasai, Chief Ole Maito encouraged the germans present to live as a community and not as individuals then encouraged Kenyans to learn stuff from the Germans that would be helpful to our communities back home eg about Infrastructure.
Ofcourse, the issue about the infamous book and movie “The white Maasai” came up and Chief Ole Maito assured us all that it was a misrepresentation of the maasai people and those who are still doubtful were invited to visit the maasais and see for themselves.
It was a lovely evening full of laughter and encouragement. Chief Ole Maito was hilarious as he shared about his life and how he had wished to become a chief with 5 wives and hundreds of cattle like his father before him; his confusion when his father instead of encouraging him to persue the Moranship by killing a lion as is tradition instead converted to christianity and forced him instead to school.
Another thing that stood out was a group of 3 girls from Köln aged between 10-12 yrs who had organized a fundraiser for the Olereko project by Chance e.V. As one of them told about how their idea came about she recalled “My sister told my mum that she wanted to help Africa but mum told her that Africa is very huge and you have to choose a country”. At their age, it was nice to see them think of someone other than themselves and try to help out without trying to garner any attention or celebrity status.
Chance is doing an amazing job in Olereko and I liked what Jens said about not encouraging the kids in the village to think that the white man is the solution to their problem; and that they work TOGETHER. They plan and take ideas from both sides and build on those. Chance also works in Peru.
Scroll down for more pics of the event. To read the summary by Chance e.V. visit here and here.
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