Back in the day when the Maasai were practicing a nomadic lifestyle at large, they would stop over at Nairobi to make sure their animals have had enough water to drink before they went on looking for green pastures elsewhere. They referred to Nairobi as ‘Enkare Nairobi’ which means a place of cool waters.
Today, Nairobi is a big urban city known for its business and administrative functions as Kenya’s capital. It has a population of over 4 million people and is one of the most famous cities in Africa. However, even with all the developments, when it rains, it pours and floods. In the past weeks and months for example, residents of some parts of Nairobi have lost property and even their lives due to the dangerous floods. The overwhelming volumes of water might show why Nairobi was a preferred refreshing destination for the Maasai.
Since the urban development did not suit the economic occupation of the Maasai, they moved into towns that could accommodate their cows and other animals. One of the areas where Maasai can be found in their original cultural and economic status is Narok County. In Narok, the rainy seasons are usually followed by periods of drought where water for use in the households is scarce. Having no water in the house, women would be forced to walk for long distances to look for water points where they could fetch clean water to use back home.
EcoManyatta Afrika has improved the traditional manyatta to include a water harvesting system that stores rainwater and can be used during the dry season when the rains stop. Having accessible water means that the family has clean water to use which is healthy and the woman does not have to tire herself looking for water. The time saved when we don’t have to look for water can be invested into more useful socio-economic activities that improve the status of the household and makes life easier.
Looking at the bigger picture, using water that has been harvested right from the homestead usually reduces the inter-community conflicts that usually arise over the ownership of the water sources. Since everyone’s needs are met without rubbing shoulders the wrong way with neighbors, it is easier to live in peace and work together to ensure development.
Another benefit is the fact that natural water sources are left undisturbed by the community. This is a great joy as far as our ecosystem is concerned. Undeterred water sources are less prone to extinction and are able to flow for more years.
It is necessary to have water to use in households. Protecting rivers and our environment at large is also a priority. We can do both at the same time using innovations that offer sustainable solutions like Eco Manyatta Afrika.