Local art gallery owner Ann Bassarab and Nemarrau Ole Tome, an official representative of the Masai tribe in Kenya and Tanzania, have co-founded the Zebra and Wildebeest Foundation to develop microeconomic initiatives in Masai communities.

          Ms. Bassarab told members of the International Business Women’s Network during a luncheon last week that the foundation recently set up a cybercafe in a small community in the tribe’s homeland, known as the Masai Mara.

          They decided to establish the foundation, she said, after first meeting last year while Mr. Ole Tome was in Atlanta on a speaking tour.

          Solar panels power five computers at the café and provide enough energy for word processing and e-mail, but access to the Internet is not yet a reality. The foundation also has had installed a second phone line for the village of some 45 people.

          “The next step is to develop initiatives that generate money and to improve education to ensure that the Masai are used as guides and drivers for visitors to the Mara,” she said.

          The foundation, she added, is planning to develop a boarding school and set up a small building materials store for the Masai so that they will be able to purchase or rent items such as kerosene, tools and tinned goods.

          She said that she is planning a trip to the village in November with a tour group to work on the site plan for the school.

          Ms. Bassarab may be reached at (404) 788-6822 or annbassarab@mindspring.com