Vol. 20, #2
My name is Ngaur (Helen) Muyandet and am Maasai by tribe. My father has one wife and six children so we are eight in my family. I’m the third child in my family. I entered primary school in 1988 and finished in 1994.
When I finished primary school, I was not chosen by the government to enter secondary school. In addition to not being on the government list to go on to secondary school, my parents were strongly against my continuing my education. They wanted me to be married and to get the bride price cattle. During that time other Maasai girls were being helped to go on to secondary school by Fr. Ned. I talked to him and the leaders of our village about my desire to continue in school. They were able to overcome the objections of my parents and enroll me in Osotua Maasai Prep School at Endulen, Ngorongoro.
After the year at Osotua Prep, I entered secondary school in 1997. During my time in secondary school, I came to realize the importance of getting an education. At the same time my parents renewed their efforts to force me to leave school and return home and be married. They wrote letters and sent relatives to convince me to run away. They told me that education for a girl has no meaning and that I should forget about this foolishness of wanting an education. They told me that I should be ready to get married so my father could get some cows. My father was pushing me so hard to leave school and accept the elder that he had chosen to be my husband that many times I was ready to give up myself.
I didn’t give up though and finished secondary school. After that I returned home to Ngorongoro, I see how much good my education has done for me. The other girls in my village that had not been to school are often taken advantage of in so many different ways. They are cheated when buying things at shops and have no idea of their rights. Many think that whatever their husbands, brothers and fathers say comes from God, no matter how foolish or crazy. I decided to become a teacher and went to a one year Teacher training school. Now I have finished my basic studies to become a teacher and am waiting for the government to post me to my first teaching position in Maasai country. I want to help other Maasai girls get the opportunity to open their eyes as I had mine open by education. I am married now to Ndoros, a Maasai who also received his education through the Osotua Maasai Education Program. We are beginning to build our life here at Ngorongoro among our Maasai people. We want to use our education to help our people have a better life.
Maasai Games (from Hollis, 1905)…
Small Maasai children collect pebbles or berries, with which they play at cattle and sheep. They also build huts and kraals in the sand, and they make spears out of bulrushes. Little girls make dolls of the fruit of the sausage-tree.
Big boys play about in the herds of cattle. They choose a quiet animal and pretend it is a hut. One boy stands by the cow whilst the others go and hide. When the later return, the one standing by the cow chases them away. If one of the boys who is driven off is caught, they say the enemy have killed him; anybody who manages to escape and touch the cow has won. This game is called Sambwen.
The old men likewise have their game. This is played on a board containing many compartments, in which they move pebbles called ‘ndoto. This game is called engeshei. The warriors also play this game, but they do not care about it much. They have no boards and make holes in the earth.
Till next month…