Edwin Kisuto is Masai. He lived a life as shepherd and nomad and in simple, windowless huts. The fact that he was forced by the police to go to school changed his life. A report on the dichotomy between Traditon and modernity.


From the straw hut to the eMail

The Masai huts are simple: two beds of straw and skins and a fire pit. A small hole as a window and the entrance resembles a small labyrinth to ward off enemies.

Edwin Kisuto is 28 and grew up like that. Because Edwin is Maasai. Today he owns a cell phone, one eMailaddress and a driver's license. He be transferred Money with the mobile paymentSystem MPESA. And he would like to go to America travel.

Not much thought of education

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His life changed radically when one day men came to his village and decided that everyone Family to send a child to school.

Because the Maasai didn't think much of schooling. They lived on cattle breeding and moved around. Therefore, having to send a child to school was a punishment for them: "If a child left, it might never come back," says Edwin.

School as punishment?

So they had to force the Maasai. Edwin remembers well that the men came to his village with police officers to pick him up. Edwin was chosen by his father: "I thought they wanted to punish me," he says. He had to walk five kilometers every morning and five kilometers in the evening: "I was away all day."

Edwin resisted his punishment for a long time: "But at some point I understood that school is a good thing, that I really learn something here - and then I was really good because I wanted to achieve something."

Scholarship for high school

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So good that he was chosen to go to high school after elementary school: "My parents could only have done that if they had sold a bull or sheep," reports Edwin. But Edwin was lucky: he received a scholarship for particularly gifted students.

And even more: Scholarship holder Richard Bonham even hired him as a driver and financed the necessary driver's license. For this he had to go to Nairobi for a few weeks - the first time to a big city: "I had a cough all the time because the air was so bad," he says.

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Mattresses are way too soft

Even with a different normality in our everyday life, Edwin Problems - For example with mattresses: "At first I was completely shocked by how soft they are," he reports. And even today he prefers to sleep on fur beds in the village.

In general, he strictly avoids telling his parents how the modern ones are Welt looks like: "They shouldn't think they're doing badly," he says.

Life between tradition and modernity

In moments like this, you can tell how torn the young Maasai is between his original, traditional way of life and the modern age: On the one hand, he hunted lions as a rite of passage and you can tell that he is proud of his roots and traditions clear

On the other hand, he doesn't want to go back to the traditional way of life and he's not married yet: "I'm late for a Masai," he comments with a grin.


“My children should decide how they want to live”

Perhaps this contradiction is not unusual for his generation. As you can see in the area around Mbirikani, more and more Masai are starting from the traditional way of life, settling, planting plants and opening shops.

His children, says Edwin, should be at home in both worlds: he definitely wants to bring them up in a traditional way, but they should also go to school. "My children should one day be themselves decide can live as they want."


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