Songali and Loio are from the Ngorongoro Crater area, their village is located in the in the second crater, Empakai (Empakai village). Neither of them were able go beyond primary school. I met them on Kilimanjaro hike January 2013. At that time they were loaded porters straggling to reach the last camp through Machame route, Barafu Camp. I happen to talk with Songali and Loio when I assist them their jerry can of water for few meets. It is not common to see Maasai work as porters so I was interested to hear their story.
We spoke brief that evening and met again the morning when they were bit recovered. They told me where they were from and how they end up working as porters. They have managed to overcome many challenges, being from pastoral community they were aimed to pursue different way of living but things have changed; population growth and climate change have forced these community to halt some of their traditional practice. Songai and Loio are among many other youth who are forced to change their traditional way of life. Knowing the nature of working as Kilimanjaro porters because of my own experience. I know this is very difficult job even for those who are accustomed to manual labor. I was impressed by determination of these young fellas.
Loio and Songai still have the plan to return to their home villange, buy cattle and live like their fathers. When I asked them based in the acquired experience what they would like to do in the home village. They thought for a while and say ‘tourism’ I have worked in the Ngorongoro highlands as naturalist and guide, this is pristine natural area although huge percent it designated as conservation area it still need great participation of it in habitants to make sure the conservation and it development will be sustainable. I see this possibility in Loio and Songai. There are good chances for these youth to realize their potential by becoming naturalist and guides in their respective area which attract hundreds of tourists as well as students and researchers. Based on their knowledge which start from early age as boy header to Kilimanjaro porters now when they will receive wildlife management course and tourism I believe that they will drive the change they wish to see in their community.
Chile to Kili is proud to support Songai and Loio to study at Pasiansi Wildlife Training Institute.