Maasai Primal Solution
It’s difficult for us to imagine how it must feel to see your family and friends hungry, thirsty and dying. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to see one after one of your precious animal’s die of thirst. But after being thrown into a drought of unprecedented severity this is exactly what Dalmas and many of his Maasai community had to endure.
Having practised his traditional rites as a Maasai young man, Dalmas went to a local rural primary school and then continued on to Moi University to complete Bachelors and Masters Degrees. He then worked at a public university for seven years but it wasn’t long before he felt a loss of identity and a deep longing for his old home and life.
He recounts: ‘I love my culture, I love livestock, especially cattle and sheep and I felt the only life for me was to go back to the village and be a herder. This is a life of peace and fulfilment.’
The Maasai people of East Africa live in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania along the Great Rift Valley on semi-arid and arid lands. The Maasai occupy a total land area of 160,000 square kilometres with an estimated population of 841,622 people. Dalmas is from the Kajiado County in Kenya.
The Maasai, are pastoralists which mean they graze animals for both income and food. Their grasslands have long supported a semi-nomadic lifestyle that provides a healthy diet of meat, milk, herbal soup, some honey and occasionally fresh blood – the perfect ‘primal diet,’ This nutrient dense high protein diet has produced some of the world’s finest human physical specimens. Maasai people are renowned for being very tall and muscular, practically disease free and definitely win the prize for biggest warm smile full of perfect pearly teeth!
The traditional Maasai sense of community is incredibly strong, is well organised and functions harmoniously. The women are responsible for the homes – simple ‘kraals’ of mud, sticks, grass and dung arranged in a circle surrounded by protective thorns – collecting water and milking livestock.
The men offer protection and security as warriors or wisdom and organisational structure as elders. Boys are traditionally responsible for herding the cattle, sheep and goats with the help of the warriors when droughts of trouble take them further afield or if families decide to send the boys to school.
Dalmas says: ‘The leader of each age set is selected by elders who scrutinise family background and genealogy to see whether the potential candidates’ families are people who love peace and justice and show qualities of braveness.’
As a healthy people medical intervention is rarely required however highly effective treatments even for fractures and tumours – come in the form of herbal remedies; the skills of healers are still highly valued above and beyond more Westernised forms of medicine.
So Dalmas started a plan to leave his employment and return to be a Maasai herder and raise grass-fed beef cattle in the traditional pastoral system. He took a bank loan and managed to accumulate enough money to build a herd of 127 cows, he resigned from his job and returned to his Maasai community.
Dalmas remembers: ‘The community was so happy and our elders really loved that, after getting a University degree I was coming home and investing in our village. I become a role model for our young people and was highly respected for understanding what is really important in life; community, good health and a sense of identity.’
But after several dry years the ultimate disaster struck, the drought became so severe that everything changed. The watering holes, rivers and wells dried up and the animals – the main source of nutrition for the Maasai – started to die. Eventually, 90% of all the livestock belonging to the community died; Dalmas was left with only 14 cows.
Image of dying livestock in Kenya’s Droughts from the Guardian.
Dalmas remembers: ‘my community were reduced to beggars who depended on food relief to survive, this food was poor quality and a very different from what we were used to so made us sick. I saw children die of malnutrition and lack of water and old people dying of starvation.’
‘People started coming to me for help, I had a little money so helped buy food, but the food was being sold expensively by exploitative business people who hoarded it in order to raise demand to increase their profits.’
Even though Dalmas lost his livestock along with it his dream, he has vowed to help his people protect themselves from future droughts that a changing climate will inevitably strike.
Dalmas has created a non-profit organisation called ‘Ildalalekutuk Maasai Action for Development.’ His organisation looks for partners to solve the problems and bring about a liberated, independent and prosperous Maasai society. One of the core objectives of the resilience measures being investigated is the use of ‘holistic planned grazing’ which has been shown to regenerate grasslands that are turning into desert. Watch this short video below. Holistic planned grazing makes grasslands more resilient to drought and flooding.
I have been passionate about Alan Savory’s work and holistic planned grazing for four years and over the last year have been training to become a Professional in Holistic management and planned grazing. I want to be able to help farms in the UK to move towards a regenerative model.
Primal web and Primal Meats will be campaigning and raising awareness in support of creating a ‘Centre of regenerative pastoralism’ for Dalmas and his Organisation. The Centre will develop and train Maasai pastoralists in a more regenerative approach to herding and grazing their livestock. It will also act as a research centre on Maasai pastoralism, traditional knowledge, ethnobotany of the Maasai etc.
Stephen and I will be visiting Kenya in December to offer our services in holistic management and sustainable building to put together plans for the development.
We hope to raise funds to:
1) Purchase a four wheel drive vehicle to transport experts and trainees to the centre and across the vast terrain.
2) Build a classroom suitable for training the Maasai pastoralists in holistic planned grazing.
3) Build a basic accommodation facility to accommodate visiting scientist and experts and generate self-funding through conservation tourism.
4) Buy 60 acres on which to conserve climate resilient breeds and demonstrate holistic planned grazing on a smaller scale.
Not only will regenerating the grasslands of Kenya help provide food and water security for the Maasai, the carbon captured in the process of building soil and biodiversity will reduce the atmospheric Greenhouse load for the rest of the world.
As farmers and consumers, we all have a part to play in the climate change that is destroying the lives of these people and will eventually destroy our lives too if we don’t act soon.
I can think of no better cause than to support a ‘primal culture’ through farming their own ‘primal meats.’
So we need YOUR help.
We are pledging a £1 to this cause for every sale we receive through Primal Meats.
YOU can make a donation below if you also want to help get this cause off the ground and of course, we will keep you updated on our progress.
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