Esilalei is a village in Northern Tanzania located in the heart of Maasai land. Situated on sloping hills overlooking Lake Manyara National Park and the Great Rift Valley, the Maasai’s livelihood still largely depends on cattle herding. With a per capita income of about $1 a day, the primary focus of families is on providing for the basic needs (food and shelter). For many, providing education for their children is something they simply can’t afford.
In 2007 ARF founders started looking into the needs of the Eselelei community in cooperation with the community leaders and local residents. Though there already is one primary school in the village, built by the Government, a clear need was identified for a community (learning) center which can be used as a kindergarten, a community library, tuition center for students as well as a place for the provision of adult education and community workshops.
Eselelei has a number of tourist attractions; the village has its own natural beauty with hills and wide-ranging vegetations and Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Park are just a few miles away form the village. A bit further away you can find Lake Natron and Ol’donyo Lengai (mountain of God). Around the settlement it is not uncommon to see eye to eye with a passing giraffe or zebra.
These together, the identifiable needs of the community and the possibility of eco-tourism and wild-life research make Eselelei the perfect place for the involvement of ARF. A piece of land was allocated and a community centre built. Assisting the community with the daily running of the projects are groups of volunteers, who have their own accommodation in the area and combine their stay in Tanzania with community support work through ARF.
Income for the projects in Eselelei is generated from a combination of eco-tourism and project-based funding. An integral part of the cultural experiences that Bush2Beach Safaris offers to its clients is a visit to one of our project sites where you will not just look at other cultures from a distance but instead engage with the community; from a medicine walk with local guides to an unforgettable evening with Maasai dancing and traditional food and practices.