The Maasai people of Kenya and Tanzania have a long tradition of living in harmony with nature. However, for the past century they have also seen their land and way of life targetted by encroaching intiatives related to nation-building, development, tourism, mining, etc. As a new decade begins the Maasai are once again being pushed off their lands and told their way of life must end in the name of “progress” or “development”. Today on the podcast, we hear from three members of that community who explain their way of life and the reality they face on the ground today. It’s the story of the Maasai and their struggle to survive.
This month I had the great honor of being present at the Video 4 Change gathering in South Africa. This meeting brought together indigenous activists from different parts of the continent, as well as allies and friends from the rest of the world. The topic: the struggle for indigenous rights in a globalized world where in the name of profit and development, people who have long lived in harmony with their environment are being forced to discard their identity and physically pulled from their ancestral land. How is this happening in an era of sustainable development goals and human rights? What can be done to help communities defend themselves and be heard on a national and international scale?
The Dubai to Shanghai Emirates flight is jam packed with people eager to get to the people’s republic. I’m in the aisle seat with two jovial middle aged men to my right. They’re joking about the food or the flight attendant who always ignores their requests for food or drink, they speak with different accents yet they seem to know each other fairly well. The jokes are funny and kind hearted- it is going to be a nice flight.
Along the way more jokes mixed with pearls of wisdom about travel, airplanes, doing business in China as well as life in Zambia. These two gentlemen live in Zambia. One is a native son of Zambia with a fantastic sense of humor and a kindness you rarely see on a long haul flight. The other, to my surprise, is Portuguese, working the last decade or so for a Portuguese construction company based in Zambia. Their destination, a construction vehicle exposition in Shanghai. Because as you should already know and these two gentlemen remind me, down in Africa, it is the Chinese that go for every contract and manufacture some of the most budget friendly vehicles for those big infrastructure projects.
Hacker Camp, which takes place every two years in Europe, is an event where creative, quirky, and passionate minds from around the world gather to form a temporary physical community where ideas are exchanged. The areas of interest vary greatly, as do the personal stories of those who participate. One area of interest that has long been present at camp is that of conflict resolution, quality of life, and development projects. Making use of tools or knowledge in and from different parts of the world in a effort to improve quality of life for those who desire change and access to technological solutions.