Susan’s journey as an Early Childhood Education teacher begins in 2000 after her graduation from high school. She volunteers at a primary school where for one year she teaches children in the Pre-school Nursery, whose ages are under 5 years. Wanting to continue her education she enrolls in a computer training class.
Then in 2002 and for the next five years Susan’s education and teaching are interrupted after learning she is pregnant with her first child. When her son Larry Lemitei is a year old, she marries his father, John ole Sakuda. Susan becomes the second wife in a polygamous household, a custom often followed in Maasai culture. The second child of Susan and John is born in 2005–another son: Alex Lenayia.
Still yearning to teach, in 2007 Susan enrolls at a technical school and receives her first Certificate for Early Childhood Education. Gaining a salaried position in the Kenya school system remains a bureaucratic obstacle but Susan decides she won’t allow her new learned skills to go idle. She chooses to volunteer at the Olosho oibor Primary School, again taking responsibility for the care of Pre-School Nursery children. Her third child is a daughter Lisa, born in 2009.
In 2012 Susan enrolls at Limuru College for Early Childhood Education in an advanced Child Development course. Some of the 24 required units involve Language, Math, Psychology and Curriculum Activities. Even as she juggles her classes and looks after her three children Susan continues to volunteer at Olosho oibor Primary School.
By the end of 2015 Susan is confident she will receive her Certificate from the Kenya National Examination Council which could lead to a salaried teacher’s position.
Susan’s youngest, 6-year old Lisa now attends Olosho oibor Primary School. Lisa’s annual school tuition is paid in part from Susan’s beading income and from John who struggles to pay the education fees for all his school-age children from the two marriages. Often girls are the first to be left behind in gaining an education. Some may start school but usually after a few years they’re dropped from the roles. I ask Susan if her volunteering at the school could be bartered in exchange for Lisa’s annual education fee. Susan responds that under the Kenya school system, this would not be allowed. I tell Susan I’ll sponsor Lisa through the MCEP education program. With Susan as her mother, I’m confident Lisa will use her education to become an asset in the Maasai community.
(John’s first wife, Leah Lato will be featured in the next and last post about these five strong Maasai women)