BASC welcomes Maasai tribe for cultural exchange

Maasai visit

Members of a Maasai tribe swapped the plains of Kenya for the banks of the River Alyn in Rossett when they visited BASC as part of a cultural exchange.

The Maasai spent time meeting staff at BASC’s head office, discussing issues affecting shooting and conservation. Also in attendance were students from Coleg Cambria in Wrexham who came along to cook a range of game canapes for the Maasai to try.

The visit came about after a call for help issued by BASC member Jason Ingamells, trip organiser and director of the Woodland Ways Bushcraft Foundation. Jason had asked for assistance to transport the group around the UK and BASC sponsored a minibus for the duration of the two-week trip.

Jason explained that the aim of the trip was to raise funds for the development of a school in Kenya and to further develop and nurture “a cultural exchange of help, assistance, ideas and raising awareness of what it is to be a Maasai and what it is to work in partnership with people who are trying to make a small difference in their own part of the world”.

Jason’s organisation had been working with the group for about 10 years. He said: “We have been helping a community to help themselves by providing financial input and logistical help in order for them to undertake projects that would be much harder to achieve without that assistance. It’s a group of friends we have been working with for years. They lead on projects, we just provide assistance to make them happen.”

Garry Doolan, deputy director of communications and public affairs at BASC, said: “When we saw a post on social media we knew we had to help. The visit gave us a fantastic opportunity to get together to swap knowledge and ideas and enjoy the company of likeminded conservationists.”

A memorable day for a local school

Later in the day, the Maasai group visited Church Drive Primary School in Port Sunlight on the Wirral. BASC staff accompanied them to help build birdboxes which will be put up by members of the school’s eco and conservation clubs.

Keen to absorb some of the tribe’s culture, one of the children had learned some Swahili to speak to the Maasai. Before leaving the school, the visitors were given Sunlight soap, which has been being made in Port Sunlight since 1888, as a gift from the children.   

Helen Godfrey, eco lead at the school, said the children had thoroughly enjoyed forging new friendships and finding out about the Maasai way of life and traditions at the “once in a lifetime” event.

She said: “This was an amazing experience and fantastic opportunity for the pupils. They will never forget it.”

Year 1 teacher Jen Hughes added: “That was one of the highlights of my career. With the demands of the curriculum, it is easy to forget how valuable and memorable experiences such as these are for our children. Incredible.”