A New Call to Mission Among the Masai People of Simanjiro, Tanzania
October 1, 2011
In 2005, the assistant parish priest of Njiro, Fr. Karduni, invited the Sisters of Notre Dame from Tanzania to Simanjiro, a remote Masai village, 140 km from Arusha. During the initial visits to Simanjiro, the Sisters were very touched by the welcoming spirit of the people and their eagerness to have them stay and minister in their village. The villagers shared with the sisters about the great need for educating their children since for generations they have been excluded from education and other benefits of development.
After much discernment and study as well as repeated visits to the village, we decided to accept the invitation of the Masai people to “pitch our tent” among them in Simanjiro. The villagers gifted us with 70 acres of land with the hope that we would live among them and develop ministries that would address their urgently felt needs, especially education and health care. The people of Simanjiro are illiterate. Socio-economically, they live on the margins of society. However, their difficult situation has not tarnished their beautiful human qualities.
We continue to visit the village and build good relationships with the people. We are becoming more familiar with the unique Masai culture and practices as well as their felt needs. Knowing the Kiswahili language has been a great help in feeling at home with the village people. As an expression of the wonderful acceptance of the people, they already built a boma (Masai hut) for us to stay and to start a kindergarten. Meanwhile, God’s providence became very evident in this whole project. The Dialogue Project from Germany promised to make our dream for the Masai people of Simanjiro become a reality by helping us build a necessary structure for the kindergarten and a convent for the sisters. In all this, the wholehearted participation of the people gives us much hope for the future.