The Maasai (Masai) originated from the Nile region, they are semi-nomadic cattle herders who now live Kenya (841.000)  and  Ngorongoro Crater of Tanzania (800.000) .  According to legend, the rain God Ngai entrusted the cattle to the Maasai (Masai) people when the earth and sky split, and wealth is measured in number of cattle. People of the Maasai (Masai) tribe live in small settlements of 8-15 huts per village; the kraal (a traditional house or hut) is surrounded by a thorn bush fence, which acts like barbed wire, protecting the tribe and animals against enemies. Since the 1980s,  the lands were sold by government to property developers and the Maasai way of life has become uncertain.
"It takes one day to destroy a house; to build  a new house will take months and perhaps years. If we abandon our way of life to construct a new one, it will take thousands of years", Maasai belief  In the early 1990’s  the Kenyan Minister for local authorities, William Ole Ntimama, created the Maasai market of Nairobi to allow his people to gain from their indigenous knowledge and cultural arts and crafts by creating a market principally for their traditional products.  no sooner had the market started near Nairobi’s central business district than it was “hijacked” by outsiders on the pretext that they as well had cultural artifacts to sell and would complement the Maasai and enhance diversity.“But all they did was copy our art and craft and embark on a vicious competition with the rightful owners of the products. They have fabricated stories  to convince the tourist clientele and it should not be allowed to thrive in a modern state,” says Margaret Saitoti one of the pioneer traders at the Maasai market." The Kenya Federation for Alternative Trade (KEFAT) is network of Fair Trade producers in Kenya. https://www.culturalsurvival.org/  kakuta ole mai mai
Kakuta Ole Mai
was born and raised in Merrueshi, a small remote village at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro, southern Kenya, three hours away from Nairobi.  With the help of his village he pursued a western education in the US and received a Master of Arts degree in Sustainable Development from The School for International Training in Vermont. He decided to return to Kenya and give back to his community. Kakuta is a man with a foot in two worlds; in his village in Kenya, he is a respected warrior and leader who have champion socio-economic development initiatives for the Maasai people. He also lives in Seattle on semi-annual basis working at the Woodland Park Zoo. He educates and inspires Zoo’s visitors to learn more about his homeland.
Kakuta is also the founder of the Maasai Association – a local non-profit with a mission to empower the Maasai people so that they can make better-informed decisions affecting their future. We’ve enjoyed a wonderful partnership and friendship with Kakuta and his village over the years. Merrueshi village is thriving because of his leadership. The village has a unique approach to development; while they embrace improvement of social services such as education, health, and water they also strive to retain their traditional ways of life. http://www.maasai-association.org/


3,559,000 people live in Moldova, a small wine-growing country covering 33,846 km2. Its language is based on Latin and closely related to Romanian. In the early era, Moldova's territory was inhabited by Dacian tribes. Between the 1st and 7th centuries AD, the south was intermittently under the Roman and then Byzantine Empire. Due to its strategic location on the on route between Asia and Europe, the territory of modern Moldova was invaded many times in late antiquity by nomadic tribes including the Goths (East Germanic), the Huns (Volga River), the Avars (Caucasus), the Bulgarians, the Magyars (Hungary), the Pechnegs (from Central Asia) , the Cuman (from Hungary), the Mongols and the Tatars (from Crimea). The Principality of Moldavia was established in 1359,  and ruled by Prince Dragos, according to legend he had a dog called Molda.  Moldavia territory comprised the present-day territory of the Republic of Moldova, the eastern part of Romania and  the region ofBessarabia (now Buhjak/Ukraine) and was known to the locals as Moldova.  After further invasions by the Tatars and the Turks, the principality became a region of the Ottoman Empire while retaining its autonomy. In 1600, King Michael the Brave of Romania  united  Moldova and with the two Romanian principalities of Wallachia and Transylvania. This union was shortlived because of internal conflicts, finally,A Polish army led by Jan Zamoyski drove the Wallachians from Moldavia and defeated Michael. Moldavian prince Ieremia Movilă returned to Moldavia's throne under vassalage of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In 1621,  Moldavia was returned  to the Ottoman Empire. During Russo-Turkish wars in the 1770s and 1780s, the  Tatar population was expelled. In 1812, the Ottoman Empire ceded Moldavia, Khotyn and Bessarabia to Russia and The Muslims were expelled. The Moldovan proportion of the population decreased from an estimated 86% in 1816 to around 52% in 1905.

The new Russian province became known as the Oblast of Bessarabia  and initially enjoyed a large degree of autonomy.
The Western part of Moldavia united with Wallachia to form the Kingdom of Romania and there were some more territorial changes and over the 19C.  After 1871, the Russians tsars undertook a policy of Russification which banned the Moldovan language from official use and Russia encouraged colonization of the Southern area by  ethnic minorities and allowed Jewish settlements. However,  In 1905, anti-semitic riots lead to an exodus of thousands of Jews to the United States.  During The First Wold War 300,000 Bessarabians were drafted into the Russian Army  and  "Moldavian Soldiers' Committees" were formed. After the Revolution of 1917, a Bessarabian parliament was elected and declared the independence of the Moldavian Democratic Republic. In 1918, it agreed to enter a union with the Kingdom of Romania, yet the Soviet Union challenged the decision In 1924, the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Republic (Moldavian ASSR) was formed. As part of the 1941 Axis invasion of the Soviet Union,   Romania seized  Bessarabia, and, working with the Germans, deported or exterminated about 300,000 Jews, including 147,000 from Bessarabia and nearby Bukovina - approximately 90,000 died. The USSR recaptured the regions in 1944, and drafted 256,800 inhabitants into the Red army, 40,592 of whom perished. During the Stalinist period (until 1953),  54,198 people were deported and 8,360 political opponents were executed. In 1946, as a result of a severe drought and excessive delivery quota obligations and requisitions imposed by the Soviet government, the southwestern part of the USSR suffered from a major famine as 216,000 deaths  were reported in  Moldova alone. In the postwar period, the Soviet government organized the immigration of working age Russian speakers (mostly Russians, Belarusians and Ukrainians), into the new Soviet republic, especially into urbanized areas, to compensate for the demographic losses. In the 1985, amid political reforms in the USSR,  a Democratic Movement of Moldova was formed - later it became known as the FPM . InAugust 1989, the FPM organized a mass demonstration and  Moldova gained its independence in 1991. The country became the first post-Soviet state where a non-reformed Communist Party returned to power. The communists were challenged by a coalition in 2009 and the current president Pavel Filip belongs to one of the coalition parties. In 2014, investigations into activities of three banks uncovered a theft of 1 billion US dollars by means of fraudulent loans to business entities controlled by oligarch, Ilan Shor.   The money now believed to be in offshore bank accounts, is unlikely to be recovered. This scandal is thought to be affecting the country's politics in favour the pro-Russian socialist party.
Moldova's Thanksgiving Candle is a different kind of monument as it commemorates all the cultural monuments destroyed in Moldova. The 13c Monastery Orheiul Vesti is hidden in a remote part of the country and was carved into the limestone cliffs. It was inhabited until the 18C and since 1996, a small group of dedicated monks has been restoring it. Moldova is also home to the largest wine cellar in the world: it contains two million wine bottles.