Some people are born to be movers and shakers. Without prompting, they happily devote themselves and their time to bettering themselves and in turn bettering their communities.
Somiani Ngaluma is one such person. A young Maasai man who grew up in Alailelai, he has become MP Partner Organization AMSO’s newest staff member.
Somiani, who also runs a store with his family, pursued a higher education after high school. An impressive accomplishment for someone from his remote village, he graduated from St. Joseph’s University in Dar es Salaam with degrees in teaching and mathematics. With opportunity now at his fingertips to pursue a career someplace easier, more modern or new, Somiani instead turned home.
“A big number of people are not educated,” he says of Alailelai.
“So it is important for us as educated people to come back, and maybe we can provide something like seminars, so we can let them know what is going on, what these environmental conditions are, what they have to do in order to produce something of quality, to join with them to join with other people, join with this ward. To collaborate instead of be in competition.”
To collaborate instead of be in competition.
We really needed an assistant for AMSO Program Director Mbekure Metemi, and after conducting interviews he immediately knew Somiani was a perfect fit. Adaptable to any environment, soft spoken and friendly, Somiani is immediately easy to work with.
As a population steeped in tradition, Maasai people respond especially well to those who know their life, their culture and their ways. Somiani appreciates this and says his ambition is to help those among whom he was raised.
“Myself when I was young, my plan was to help my society. I like to help them to be closer to them, so I can encourage them.
As a “mature and knowledgeable person,” Somiani says he knows how to address villagers’ issues respectfully—a key word in any culture but especially with Maasai.
“I know all the challenges and which problems face them,” he says.
So far, he’s been putting his education and passion to use helping Mbekure carry out projects already in place and plan for future initiatives. He is strongly interested in improving education and healthcare in Alailelai, which aligns perfectly with Maasai Partners’ main focus this year.
Paying it forward
Somiani didn’t get to where he is on his own. In order to help him complete higher education—as the first in his family to do so—his older brothers supported him financially through secondary school even though they themselves were not able to to.
Adding to this encouragement was a primary teacher he had impressed as a good, bright student in Alailelai. This teacher arranged for Somiani to stay with his family in Moshi while he studied, so he would not have to pay boarding fees and could have a family away from home.
Somiani has carried this group effort to help one eager student succeed with him and is now striving to do the same for those younger than him.
Charity begins at home.
Somiani is also on board with joining AMSO with other organizations, so more can be accomplished through partnerships.
“They say that charity begins at home. So what is our home now? It is AMSO. So a strong point is to collaborate—to make sure that we kueshimiana (live in a good manner.)”
Somiani believes in and aligns with AMSO’s mission.
…Our ultimate goal is to achieve a sustainable lifestyle while maintaining our traditional culture and way of life.
“AMSO is the first NGO that works in Alailelai. It’s just like a light, which may help to focus to help society,” he says. “So now the projects are very well indeed.”