A Maasai Scholar

Education has the capacity to relieve poverty and disadvantage. The more and the higher educational standards, the greater the options and opportunities for indigenous communities to maintain their cultures and generally improve their economic circumstances and status.

Esther and Francis

Creative cowboy scholarship to Maasailand 2011, Bachelor of Science in Medical Microbiology

The importance of education to indigenous peoples around the world is increasingly significant because of the speed of the economic and environmental changes that help create the numerous pressures that now face indigenous communities. These pressures include encroachment of traditional lands, loss of traditional food source, loss of vegetation and biodiversity, climate change, population increase and changing economic structures and opportunities, to name a few.

While the approach to education by indigenous peoples around the world may vary (and often does so because of unfortunate past experiences), a non traditional education is likely to be regarded as an important ingredient in defining the future and a necessary addition to traditional education and knowledge.

In this blog FRANCIS NKODIDIO, a recipient of a Creative cowboy tertiary scholarship, writes about why he believes university education will benefit him and his Maasai community.

Empower to power

Written by FRANCIS NKODIDIO, Kimuka Village, Rift Valley, Kenya

My name is FRANCIS NKODIDIO and I am from Kimuka Village, in the Rift Valley province of Kenya.

I have applied for a course in the field of medicine, medical micro-biology and was successfully admitted into the school at Jomo Kenyatta University of agriculture and technology (Karen Campus) Nairobi. I am the first Creative cowboy scholar Maasai student. Maasai are one of the most oppressed and marginalized indigenous communities in terms of education, social and economic development.

I promise to work extra hard in attaining a first class honors degree.

I came to being one of the scholars when I met PETER and ANDREA HYLANDS in the Olmaroroi area when I was taking part in the beautiful Maasai dance. Introduction to them led to a deeper discussion about my academic background, my family background and my future in education. They promised to communicate with me when they went late in the year 2010.

The moment I qualified to be a scholar was very important to me, since I am like the head of a fully abandoned family. Dad left us 13 years ago and mum has been taking care of us since then.

After completion of primary school in the year 2005, I had to stay at home and went back to school to redo my primary school course since I had no financial support to go back to school. The following year 2006 I sat for my KCPE exam again when I was 16 years of age and emerged the best overall.

A group of good Samaritans from the Nomadic Kenyan children education fund based in Virginia USA introduced me to the organization and I applied for their scholarship which allowed me to undertake a full high school course. Let me say my education has been based on scholarships from well-wishers. I went to Narok boys high school, adjacent to the Maasai Mara game reserve in Narok County and was enrolled in form one on 9 Feb 2007.

My big dream to go to university started in high school and I worked hard and harder until I graduated on the 10 November 2010 with a qualification to attend university. Since my high school, I never lost focus on my education. I worked hard until I made it to pass well.

After school, I joined mum to look after our eleven goats, which gave us a little milk for morning and evening tea. All in all I never lost focus until I applied for a volunteer job in my former Kimuka primary school, where I am currently working as a volunteer teaching mathematics and science. I believe community service is a good job with miraculous results.

I am motivating my younger brothers to work hard in school. My younger brother William Rempeyian did not go to school until I had completed high school. The little money I left in high school as a prepaid fee is what is keeping him in school now at Kibiko day secondary school. Now that the school is cheap and the ksh.13000 has paid for his for year course. I am happy he is working hard and harder now since he has no problem in school fees.

Why I want to pursue a course in Bachelor of Science in Medical Microbiology and the importance and benefits of the course to the Maasai community

It’s a scientific course which is open and relevant in working towards the ‘2030’ Kenya industrial development vision. Studying in the field brings a lot of opportunities for me and to my community, the Maasai people.

The course is important because of the reasons that include:

  • I will be a role model to Maasai children in schools and motivate them to work hard
  • I may have the opportunity of bringing into the community, medical donations and support where people have been neglected
  • Work with education bodies to go round teaching the least educated Maasai people about education especially those in Saikeri, Nchoroi and Mosira which are the Maasai regions in most need
  • I will have the opportunity to be a direct link to government institutions such as, the National, Social and Security Fund (NSSF) and the national hospitals that may create the opportunity to raise the living standards of the Maasai people by saving money for their old age use. At the moment, no Maasai person is aware of saving in these institutions and the benefits this has
  • I will acquire enough knowledge through brainstorming with other students from the most favoured communities like the Lou, Kalenjin and Kikuyu on how to acquire grants and scholarships to education, assisting more Maasai youth to attend university
  • Create or join bodies like the current Maa University Students Organization (MUSO) that enlighten Maasai people on the importance of education as a means of empowering young people
  • In the future I hope to be able to establish a medical and private educational center for Maasai children and parents

My sincere gratitude and thanks go to my mum, VIGINIA, the Creative cowboy directors ANDREA and PETER HYLANDS, and not forgetting the supportive Macconet director EMMANUEL PARSIMEI, for their support in making my dream a success towards this golden chance of education.

May God bless you abundantly.

FRANCIS NKODIDIO, Creative cowboy scholar 2011, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Karen Campus) Nairobi.

Progress report

Francis Nkodidio describes his first year at University (March 2012)

I am happy to report that my first year of study went on well with a wonderful start, joining a public varsity from Maasailand is not an easy game; a high school graduate must have quality grades to satisfy the various faculties.

I am impressed that I am heading somewhere in life under Creative Cowboy. I can now see light and shout “YES I CAN”.

From scratch, I had hopes that I would earn a varsity’s degree. In the medical course, I am currently the only Maasai in a busy class of 82 students.

Living in Nairobi and away from home was the most funny part. I had to meet a number of students from all over East Africa and the 42 Kenyan tribes.

My course is purely science and medical microbiology is principle to three subjects which are maths, chemistry and biology. I enjoyed chemistry the most and scored distinction grades in physical chemistry & atomic structure. I performed well and had marvellous semester one results.

I also enjoyed the practical bit of the course now that I can take part in hospital’s disease diagnosis in the Laboratories.

In my second semester I just did my continuous assessment tests and I did well in bioinformatics and information technology applications in microbial medicine.

For now, let me congratulate all the creative cowboy’s followers under the blog A Maasai scholar for your interest in knowing my school progress.

I take this opportunity to thank the following: ANDREA and PETER HYLANDS, I am proud of you and I will make you proud of my performance. Your support has helped me to realize my dream and I am pursuing it to my best of knowledge and ability. EMMANUEL PARSIMEI and Macconet, you are always there as guardians and representatives on behalf of my illiterate and lovely Mum VIRGINIA.

Thank you all and I treasure & honour your hard work towards realizing my potential dream. May god bless you abundantly.

Francis Nkodidio