Visitor offers students a glimpse into Kenyan culture
Classroom studies of the faraway African country of Kenya were recently brought to life for a group of Washougal students.Gause Elementary School second-graders caught a glimpse into a vastly different culture thanks to a visit from Maasai Warrior and Elder, Sabore Ole Oyie, from the Ewaso Nyiro region of Kenya. Students in the classrooms of Lisa Haskin, Christina Russell, Julie Taie and Erin Darling participated.
“We have been busy studying facts about Kenya and its culture,” said Haskin. “The students have been preparing for Sabore’s visit by learning about the animals, geography and customs of Kenya, as well as studying the Kiswahili language and creating mock passports. They have been very excited for him to come.”
Dressed in traditional Maasai clothing, Ole Oyie spoke to the students about life in his village and the different challenges they face.
“You must learn to recognize the footprints of many animals,” Ole Oyie explained. “You need to know when there is a dangerous animal like a lion nearby so you can take your herd of cows the other way.”
He sang a song to the class typically performed prior to hunting a lion, and asked the students to join him in the jumping dance that celebrates a successful lion hunt.
Another challenge is the village water supply. The women and girls in this region of Kenya have to walk 6 to 8 miles one-way to collect water from the river. According to Ole Oyie, the same water is used for washing clothes and bathing and it is where the domestic and wild animals drink. The water is full of contaminants and creates many health issues for both humans and animals.
“And because fetching water consumes most of their day, many girls don’t have the opportunity to attend school,” he said.
The issue of clean water and education for girls is a major part of Ole Oyie’s work. He is raising awareness and funds to complete two wells in the region which will allow for clean drinking water for the nearly 9,000 residents. And by bringing water closer to the village, it will free up the young girls’ time and allow them to get an education.
Ole Oyie’s visit has opened up the world to the students at Gause. Emilia Warta would like to visit Kenya, now that she knows more about it.
“I would love to see a herd of running giraffes.” she said.
Will McDaniel was impressed that Ole Oyie is a warrior who helps keep his village safe.
“I’m surprised at how much more dangerous the elephant is than the lion,” he said, adding, “And the warrior ritual for ear piercing was cool.”
Ole Oyie’s visit was made possible by his work with the Blue Planet Network and the Sabore’s Well project.
“We feel very fortunate to provide the second-grade students with such a unique cultural learning opportunity,” Haskin said.