According to CNN “Despite free primary education being mandated 10 years ago by the Kenyan government, educating girls is not a priority for Maasai culture. According to the Kenyan government a very low percentage of Maasai girls in Kenya finish primary school” (Toner, 2013). This is a piece of an article I recently read about a young women named Kakenya Ntaiya. Ntaiya was a young girl with a passion for learning, but sadly as a young child she was suppressed by societal roles and rituals of her culture and forced to follow ceremonies seen as a rite of passage for all Maasai women. But Kakenya was different, she dared to tear away from her society’s culture and social norms to achieve her dreams of becoming an educated women. Dreams like hers are so uncommon in the town of Enoosaen, a small village in western Kenya. In this culture women learn from an early age how to serve men and be proper housewives. They are allow to attend school, but sadly most of them are pulled out before they even reached the fourth grade. They practice these skills beginning as early as 5 years of age. As I slowly read through this article I began to understand the pain these young girls felt. I’m appalled at the things these young girls have to go through. To stifle a person’s education is beyond confusing and disturbing. Reading this has definitely broadened my understanding of the world and what people go through to receive an education. Women on the other side of the globe in Kenya don’t go to school or don’t even have the opportunity to finish. For someone to completely cut a person off from learning is so surreal, not giving them a chance to grow and develop their own opinions and grasp of on life, it’s like clipping an eagle’s wings or blocking a sunflower from precious sun light. These poor women aren’t even given a chance to succeed or even have an opportunity of their own. To even think of being independent is looked down on. It’s terrifying, but that’s normal in other parts of the world.
While I’m here in the United States, where public education is practically handed to us now, from my personal perspective. This story makes me have a new found respect for education and urges me to take advantage of every opportunity I’m given. People around the world have such a deep desire to learn then here in America where some would look at college as a rite of passage and where most don’t squeeze every bit of knowledge they can receive out of it. I guess it goes to show that we as a society take so many things for granted. And personally that makes me cherish my education more.