In December of 2011, Laura Ash moved to Tanzania with her family in hopes to light the country with solar energy. A few months later the small family went on a safari and ended up at Kirurumu lodge above Lake Manyara in the Great Rift Valley. There, Laura went on a plant walk with a Maasai herbalist. After that walk, and a plethora of questions, the herbalist asked Laura to help him document his traditional medicine knowledge.
Laura was then invited to the Mesigyo village in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the Maasai’s boma has been for more than 100 years. Within one year of multiple plant and identification excursions, safari’s, sacred retreats, video documentation and the support of other Maasai herbalists, villagers, and the chief and his wives, the Maasai field work is complete.
In January, 2013 Laura moved back to the United States and continued to work on the Maasai project from afar. In August, 2014 HAP sent 100 Maasai Traditional Medicine books back to Sayanga and his village to support their endeavor in preserving their indigenous knowledge and increasing their use of traditional medicines while safeguarding their rights.
Sayanga has sold all of the books to safari lodges and tourists and donated a portion to the primary schools in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area for the Maasai children to learn about their traditional knowledge. The monies from the sales going to purchase a cow for their traditional Orpul ceremony, keeping their traditional foods and ceremonies alive. HAP will be sending over 100 more books by January, 2015.