My name is Kanaaeli and I was born in Tanzania on 3 February 1982. Growing up as a nomadic Maasai. I was born in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) in a village called Olbalbal. My father is Maasai and his tribe is thought to be a hybrid of Nilotica from the river Nile. My mother is Meru and has five daughters and 3 sons including me.
My family are pastoralists keeping animals such as cattle, sheep, goat and donkey. Because of drought I grew up accustomed to a nomadic lifestyle, moving from one place to another in and out of the NCAA looking for green pasture for our animals. As a nomadic Maasai our main main diet was meat, blood and milk but nomadic life can at times be very difficult trying to get enough food and water. It was also almost impossible to get an education because of our nomadic lifestyle.
Leaving life as a nomadic Maasai to get an education
Since my family were pastoralists and needed much help to care for the animals they were not keen for me to attend school. Fortunately in 1990 my uncle took me into his home where I got a chance to go to primary school and secondary school. Within our family of 8 children I am the only one to get a chance to get an education, so my brothers have remained pastoralists and some of my sisters are married.
After leaving secondary school I was able to find a foreign sponsor to support me through Vocational Education Training (VETA) where I trained as a vehicle motor mechanic for three years. Unfortunately just before my third year my sponsor passed away. I was very sorry for his death and it was also a difficult time for me but I was able to find some work in local street garage repairing vehicles. But my heart was always back amongst the wild life I had been surrounded by as a small boy. So using the money I saved at the garage and loans from friends I made the decision to put myself through Tourism College in Arusha where I succeeded in getting a certificate in tour guiding.
I then worked as a safari guide for a number of lodges and companies trying to gain more experience. But in order to make the next step I needed study in a well recognised college. Perhaps through some luck but also a desire to improve my knowledge I was able to convince some new foreign sponsors to fund me through the College of African Wildlife Management (MWEKA).