Vol. 21, #7
My name is Sitau Lekitony and my father has three wives and many children. I am a daughter of his older wife. As a little girl I helped my mother to cook and sweep to wash the dishes and to milk the cows, I went also to herd the cattle and goats. One time when I was herding goats with other children of my village, a lion attacked us and killed two goats, dragging off one large pregnant ewe. We all ran back home and raised the alarm. By the time warriors gathered and reached the place the goats had been grazing, the lion had long gone with the goat. These two goats did not belong to my family but to a neighbor. It was very scary for me and the other children.
Another time two lions jumped the thorn bush fence of our village and strangled one of our cows dragging it outside the village away into the bush. The dogs all began to bark furiously and my father woke up and went outside and began to shout and all the neighbors began to gather and my father told them of how the lions had grabbed a cow and dragged it away. All the elders decided to follow the lion and to kill it. They followed the tracks of the lion some distance but lost the tracks and returned to the village. This was hard on my mother because it was one of her milk cow that was taken by the lions.
When I was in the third grade I began to get the idea that I would like to get an education beyond primary school. After finishing seventh grade I asked my father and mother if I could continue school and they agreed if I could find someone to pay for my education. When my brothers heard that I was going to continue school, they became very angry and look for ways to block me. They told me that if I went to school no one would pay for school fees and uniforms and then I would get big trouble. My father told me to go and ask Padre Ned. So that is how I came to Osotua Maasai Prep School at Endulen. My brothers followed me to Endulen and tried to take me home by force but I refused and went to the village leaders to have my name written down officially as a school girl. My brothers wanted to take me and trade me for a wife for one of them, but once I was written down, they would be caught and sent to jail by the police if they made trouble for me.
I have the idea to continue my education because I would like to have a better life for myself and be able to help my family, especially my mother who is always having trouble finding enough food during the dry season and seems never to have nice clothes. I have been enrolled in Simanjiro Animal Husbandry School and hope to gain the knowledge to help the people of my village and of all Ngorongoro to have more healthy cattle. Cattle and the food that they provide are the foundation of our lives as Maasai.
One of the graduates of our Osotua Prep School went home to be married seven years ago. Sendeu had decided not to continue her education. Reluctantly, I agreed to her decision. During the following year she gave birth to a little boy and was happy with her life. This week she came to tell me terrible news and ask for my help. Her little boy and gotten hold of a bottle of dip medicine. This is the stuff the Maasai buy by the bottle to wipe their cattle down with, killing ticks and preventing various diseases carried by them. It seems that the child had found the bottle at the back of the skin covered bed in the house of his mother. Thinking it was orange soda, he drank some of it and became very ill. Now Sendeu needed money to take her son to the hospital. I helped her and she went off to take the boy the hospital. We have not heard how things worked out.
Till next month