Theory-to-Practice Grant, ‘Uncovering the Culture and Health Care Complexities of the Maasai People’
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Name: Jadé Giordani ’17
Majors: Chemistry and Black World Studies
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Experience: Theory-to-Practice Grant, “Uncovering the Culture and Health Care Complexities of the Maasai People”
In May, Giordani traveled to Tanzania with Jocelyne Munoz ’17 of Rio Rico, Arizona, and Ali Skandor, part-time associate professor of Black World Studies, to examine the culture of the Maasai people to understand how they continue to survive living a semi-nomadic life.
Lessons Learned: “One of the main reasons I went on this trip was so I could put my classroom knowledge of the Swahili language I learned for four semesters to practical use, in addition to expanding my knowledge about the culture and health complexities of the Maasai.
“What stuck with me the most from my time in Tanzania was no matter the time of day, the weather, the number of cattle a family had or shillings in their pocket, these people were happy with what they had.
“What we Americans call necessities to life are foreign to the Maasai, and the biggest necessity they don’t have that we take for granted is clean drinking water.
“As we taught in the classroom, I will never forget seeing one of the children pull a bottle from her backpack filled with brown water. The contaminants in the water that are most likely to blame for the health issues in the village are still unknown to them and to us, but even through the trials and tribulations, the Maasai remain happy with life.
“I learned that I can find happiness in myself, in my surroundings, and in nature. This trip was truly life-changing, and I hope to someday return and implement a water pumping and filtering system for the village that surrounds the school where we worked.”