Community-based sustainable reforestation project
In 2004, Kitumusote started a community-based sustainable reforestation project focusing on culturally and economically valuable indigenous species.
Since its inception, over 800 trees have been planted by Kitumusote members, volunteers, and the community of Eluai! Recently, fruit trees were planted in order to provide a source of food for the Maasai.
The tree planting program is extremely beneficial to the Maasai because the environment provides them with so much of their livelihood. Without the reforestation program, the supply of tress would be depleted due to constant stripping for farm purposes and illegal coal making. Trees and plants are an important part of Maasai livelihood because they provide natural shelter, food, medicine, religious and healing needs.
With the recent building of a rainwater harvesting system, Kitumusote has been able to provide enough water to ensure the growth and sustainability of the newly planted trees and vegetable garden. Of course, the harvesting system is dependent on the rains of the area's bimodal rain season that occur October to December and March to May. In the past, Mondulli Juu and much of East Africa suffered from a terrible drought that caused the death of people, livestock, and many flora and fauna. There is always the threat of a drought when the rain season does not provide enough water. Mondulli Juu is only serviced with one local water source at the moment, a resevoir built 30 years ago that is shared by people, livestock and wild animals.
Trees and their purposes
The Oltarakwai tree has several purposes. It is used for firewood and is used as a blessing tree. When someone wishes to bless someone else, they bring a branch of this tree. Its wood is also used to build Maasai bomas because of its strength and distaste by termites.
The Olerai tree has several purposes . Its wood is used for firewood and its branches used to make cow bomas. The sharp thorns on the branches of this tree provide an effective deterrent against predators when used to build cow bomas. The bark is also a sweet snack for the Maasai. When Maasai are thirsty and there is no water nearby, Maasai chew the bark. The bark is similar to sugar cane containing a watery liquid that provides hydration to weary Maasai during long days of cattle grazing.
The Oloirien tree branches are used in a cleaning solution that Maasai make to clean the cow milk containers that are used to milk cows. The wood from this tree makes excellent firewood for Maasai bomas because of its low smoking point when burned. The branches are also used during ceremonies for male circumcision. When a male Maasai is circumcised, the branches from this tree are laid around his boma and left there for 4 days.
The Orkiloriti tree is very important because of its medicinal purposes. The roots of this tree are mixed with cow or goat soup. This soup is used to treat Malaria. The dried bark is used in a tea that is used to build the immune system and helps protect against colds and viruses.