He says, with a look of dismay, pointing to the populated valley below his “Boma”. As we look around us, from the vantage point of the hill, we see a growing tin-roofed urban expansion of the “Safari City”, Arusha. We take a moment to pause and reflect. Samweli continues his story:
“The climate was much better than it is now. The rain used to fall for months. At that time I was a “layoni”, a teenager. We grew up here. We used to look after the cows of our fathers. There was “amri”, an order to life. There were so many lions around and they used to hunt our cows at night. Down there, in the valley below our “Boma”, there were lions.
The rain used to fall in abundance and there was not a lot of businesses like now. People lived off the land. They planted maize and beans and they used to store the surplus for the following year. The rain used to fall for days. The town used to be small. There was “Heshima”, respect instilled in people, in children and in adults. Not like now where there is no respect. All elders were fathers to the children. There was no need for employment, our job was to look after our livestock.
There used to be Lions here, Leopards, Hyenas and we had lots of Buffalo in these hills. When the wildlife began to disappear, we had become men, “Morani’s”. The wildlife left because people moved into this area and cut all the trees down. We believe that the indigenous trees bring rain. If it has not rained yet, then these trees will bring rain. People started cutting the indigenous trees down to build their houses. People started moving into the town. Children stopped listening to their father, they stopped listening to their mother. Therefore, the land started to become desolate and the rain became less. We are responsible for climate change. This is the story of the past.”
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