Maa (Maasai)

Finding a Language Mentor

Resources to find a Maa Language Mentor:

Maa is an especially difficult language to find mentors for if you do not already have a mentor in mind or have connections to a Maasai community through which you may find a mentor. That said, there are some resources that may help you begin your search to find a mentor.

  • MS – Training Center for Development Cooperation (MS – TCDC) is a non-profit organization in Arusha, Tanzania that is designed to help (mostly) western development practitioners gain the necessary linguistic and cultural skills to be able to effectively conduct projects in East Africa. MS – TCDC has regular language courses for students with various levels of Swahili. They do not offer Maa classes, but they do have Maa people on staff at the organization that may be interested in helping a student learning Maa. They also have a wide-reaching network in the community, so they may have ideas about where a student might find a Maa tutor if not through MS -TCDC.
  • Natopiwo Project for Women and Children is a small, non-profit organization in Eluwai Village of northern Tanzania. While this organization’s purpose is not to provide tutors for Maa language learners, Musa Kamaika Mengarai (Maasai man), is the head of this organization, the chairmen of the Eluwai Village, and the primary mentor and research collaborator for many projects happening in the Monduli District. He is often available and eager to help anyone interested in Maa language or Maasai culture.

Here are some other websites to check out (though they may not always have a Maa speaker/ mentor available)

  • Consider posting an advertisement on the facebook page of the University of Arusha.


Tips for Fostering a Quality Mentor Relationship:

  • One of the most important aspects of a healthy mentor relationship involves setting clear boundaries of engagement including:
    • how frequently you will meet
    • what is expected of both of you during the drill sessions
    • what is expected of both of you outside of these drill sessions
    • what is expected of both of you behaviorally during these drill sessions
    • exchange ideas/information about how you both give and receive ideas/information
      • e.g., it is important for the mentor to know how to provide constructive feedback to the student, so the student is best equipped to thrive, and it is important for the student to know how to guide the mentor so the planned objectives are achieved
    • ensuring you both feel comfortable communicating with the other about what is working and what needs tweaking
  • Once you have clear boundaries set – try them out! Meet for a session or two and see how it goes. Adjust with your mentor’s input as needed. Be sure to communicate your needs clearly and gently and hold space for your mentor to communicate their needs as well.
  • Ideally, this mentor relationship is a mutually beneficial one where the student is able to achieve all of their language learning goals while the mentor is able to support and share their knowledge in a low stress/ high productivity environment.





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Resources for Self-Instructional Learners of Less Commonly Taught Languages Copyright © by University of Wisconsin-Madison Students in African 671 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.