Tangent: The contrast of these days, from working in the computer lab to participating in more traditional activities in the rural areas has me increasingly excited about the possibility of Sereolipi's evolution. That it need not be a coup of modernism, or a fight against it. It feels like the very first hints at what a prosperous and diverse Samburu life might look like twenty years from now. The hope is not that the village overflows with computer engineers and PHD's. The hope is that the village overflows with choices.
And we are off. 26 miles of paths and a late afternoon arrival. We go immediately to the place where Thomas was raised. To visit his mother, his sisters and his brother in their manyatta.
Thomas and his brother Stephen. Also, Thomas' family looking at pictures of the school where he works.
Thomas' mother gives me this traditional Samburu "mala." This is a flask that holds milk, and is given to a woman as a part of Samburu marriage proposal. Thomas' mother gives it to me for "my future wife." (See the video for other gifts I am given.)
It is an amazing experience, to meet the people I have been learning about over the last four months of email exchanges with Thomas. His family is extremely important to him. His father died when he was just 15 years-old. In Samburu culture, the oldest male takes over responsibility for the family, is in charge of their well-being. Thomas takes this charge very seriously, a pressure that was compounded by tough decisions the family has needed to make along the way.
As Thomas and his family describe it, after his father's death, the family began working as "slaves." They worked for a more prosperous Samburu family, taking care of their livestock. After a couple of years they had saved up enough money to send one child to school. This child was to go off, get an education, and then get a job to support his family (and the education of his younger siblings). At the time, both Thomas and his brother were old enough to attend school. The Lolipuske's put their money on Thomas.
But perhaps it is better to let Thomas explain. Here he is, with his family, from our visit to Ndonyo Wasin.
Meet the Lolipuske's
View the Ndonyo Wasin Photo Gallery