My Intriguing Experience Volunteering in Maasai Mara

Did you know that some Maasai children only have one meal per day?

I learnt this fact on my recent trip to Kenya where I helped my dad volunteer at a dental clinic in Maasai Mara.

It all started on Tuesday 9th of November 2021…

The journey to the dental clinic, which started at 6am in Nairobi, was very wild because along the way we saw the magnificent Great Rift Valley (it’s thought to be 16,000 km long) and the roads twisted and turned without any warning. It went from narrow, dusty roads to windy, mountainous roads. That was fairly incredible.

Approaching the clinic was quite an exhilarating experience, since it was positioned in the middle of a safari park with wild animals roaming within eyeshot.

The volunteering experience

When I was helping my dad at the clinic, I felt a sense of elation, the experience was diverse compared to my life in UK.  Some of the most enjoyable aspects for me were, learning how to do a dental filling and watching molar tooth extractions. In addition, interacting with the Maasai people even though we didn’t speak the same language was fascinating.

The learning experience

Another unique experience was going to many local schools during our stay in the Mara. I was shocked to learn that the children were playing with a football made out of yarn. Isn’t that creative? I feel Kenyans always have a solution.

I spent some time in a classroom and realised that the pupils were very alert and listened respectfully to their teachers. They also all stood up to greet visitors making us feel very welcomed. Even though they have a very basic life, the children there are happy.

Some facts I learnt on my trip

Maasai Facts

In Maasai Mara the people and streets have many variations from the UK so I’ll tell you what I know. Did you know that Kenyan kids (even the 4-5yr olds) wake up and walk to school or work at 6 in the morning! Another unbelievable fact is that they don’t eat chocolate don’t play video games and don’t have footballs! Bet you didn’t know that they have to walk for water which would be unusual for us since we just have to turn on a tap.

Safari Facts

It is hard to tell the difference from a male and female animal in a safari park so let me tell you – I learnt this from our safari guide William.

A male giraffe has less hair on its horns than a female since they fight more.

A female elephant has a lumpier head than a male since the females do all the remembering.

A male buffalo has curvier horns than a female.

And finally the difference between a leopard and a cheetah, the cheetah is faster and has black lines down its face.

Without a shadow of doubt the whole trip has been remarkable. I have learnt so much from my interactions with the locals and their welcoming and happy nature.

Something that I gathered and will stay with me from this wonderful experience, is that our everyday items are for some kids’ luxuries.

Arjun Malde