8, July, 2016. Hundreds of local Maasai people, representatives of the tourism industry, elected officials, Prescott College students and representatives, visitors, and MGA members gathered in Sekenani to celebrate a great accomplishment of the Maasai community, the launch of the Mara Guides Association! The MGA is the first union ever of Maasai workers. Maasai field guides, traditionally discriminated against in the tourism industry that takes place on their land, have been working toward this moment for the past four years. The celebration reflected the final official registration of the association, and the commitment of 83 dues paying members!
Surely, all those who attended had a backstory to getting there. For MERC staff and friends, it was great difficulty finding vehicles to accommodate the size of our group, a flat tire while traveling through the reserve, and then hours spent trying to organize a brochure and the consequent printer problems. For some it may have been walking very far, turning down an important job for the day, securing permission to leave work, or any number of ordinary challenges faced by workers with little job security and privileges. So coming together for this gathering was monumental in itself!