Noorkishon grew up in a very poor and troubled family. Her father, Simel, was a heavy drinker. By the time Noorkishon was old enough to be married, had drank his way through the small herd of cattle inherited from his own father. Noorkishon’s mother, on the other hand, worked hard to feed and cloth her three children. Sitalu gathered firewood to sell at the Olbalbal trading center shops. Somehow Sitau and her children survived and Noorkishon grew into a very beautiful young woman. Sitau was happy when Lepilal, the oldest son of a Maasai elder with many cattle showed interest in marrying her daughter. As is customary, the marriage process took a number of years, but all the preliminaries were finally accomplished and Noorkishon was taken to the “boma” of her husband. For some years, things went well. Noorkishon was given cattle to care for her house and future children. She was well liked by her husband. Soon, she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. Things couldn’t have been going better. Then things began to go down hill fast.
Many of Lepilal’s cattle died of “Oltikana”, a cattle disease widespread in this part of Maasai land. At the same time, her husband took a second young wife. When Lepilal’s new very young wife came to the “boma”, there were not enough cattle left for the new wife to comfortably take care of her house. The husband then took more than half of Noorkishon’s cattle and gave them to his young “siangiki.” On top of that, it soon became evident that the new wife was barren and would never have a child. Still Lepilal favored her over Noorkishon, who now did not have enough cattle to feed herself and her son.
Finally, the new wife’s resentment and jealousy grew to the point that she prevailed upon Lepilal to chase Noorkishon away from his village. He sent her away back to her father and, in line with Maasai custom, kept Norkishon’s son to be raised by his second wife. Noorkishon, now destitute and alone, returned to the boma of her alcoholic father. That is where she is today. Women have little claim on justice in Maasai country. Noorkishon, with no one to take up her cause and speak for her, lives with her mother and together they cut and gather firewood to sell to the shopkeepers at Olbalbal.