The year was 2005. I was in class four. I have always been a church going girl. We were in church…When I saw her. She was beautiful…very beautiful. She was the only girl among a group of men. But she was undeterred.
She had very beautiful attires too. And decorations on her necks. Ooh. I admired her. I wished to be her.
They had been invited to my then church crusade. They were singing and dancing beautifully. It was a Maasai traditional dance-Gospel. . Oh… how she danced beautifully. And her smile… She had this smile that literally lit the the room. I was happy because of one thing. She was my skin color.😝 But I still so much wished to be her.
I was a young girl aged few years. But I fell in love with the Maasais. Or rather how they looked dazzling in their attirea.
She later came and stood next to me when the pastor was preaching. And she greeted me. She smiled widely. And asked for my name. I told her my name was Kasyoka. She tried to pronounce it. She told me her name. I cannot remember clearly. It was something close to Lorion, or lemayan. I can’t remember. I was too young to master foreign names. Or maybe my brain wasn’t yet developed because I have a very sharp memory😁
But I remember her smile. She patted my head and told me I was beautiful. I asked why she was the only girl among men, she told me in her culture women were not supposed to be in the limelight or lead. That women were supposed to do domestic work . But she had refused to be accustomed to that. That as a young girl she was rescued from childhood marriage and circumcision , and that’s why she decided to spend her entire life serving God, even if it meant why joining a male band. She said that she did not regret and it felt good to be the only one to spice up the voices and get all the attention. ‘My friends think I am weird to walk in a group of men, but to me I am proud to be different, if that’s the only way to serve God I will and what people say don’t count’
Then she laughed. It was this laughter that I stil remember years later.
Years went by and I forgot about that encounter until I joined campus and I found myself in politics and the only girl in almost every political occasion.. I occasionally thought of her and how it was important for me to see her stand out during my formattive years and realize it was okay for someone to and not to fit. Most of the time I made decisions that people did not approve of (liks my hairstyle😁) and a lot of people would talk to me to change but I did not because everytime somebody dictated how I should look like I would always look at the person and her words ring in my head ‘You don’t always have to fit in or be approved by the community’ then I would walk away head high.
If only I could meet her today. I would applaud her. She was a hero. She had refused to fit in. And thus she had stood out. She was the definition of a strong woman and the woman I would want to be and my daughter in future to be.
I wish I could see her today and tell her that I am mostly the only girl in a group of men and I don’t feel embarrassed because she taught me practically it was okay to walk with a group of men.
Children learn better from interactions, I practically saw her not knowing it was God’s way of preparing me to be always following not the so popular route and to be okay with standing out.
I may never see her again. But she birthed in me something so strong. My choice to do things from my perspective and my love for Maasai culture.
Throughout primary I was embarrassed to be a Kamba because of the prejudice that ‘Kambas ni wachawi.’ It was made worse given I was always number one in class and a particular kid said it was not possible for me to be the youngest yet that bright naturally and that I was using ‘Kamuti’ Since then I would say that I am a Taita or Maasai. Till today some of my friends still believe I am. But the name Kasyoka always betrayed me😂It still does anyway and recently I have been contemplating of changing my name from Brightstar Kasyoka to ‘Princess Brightstar’. Laughing out loudly…..
Throughout I always wanted to own a big bangle or bracelet from the Maasai and find out something about the Maasai in memory of her
Then I met Saitoti. Peter Saitoti Salaon.
We never talked much with Saitoti from in the beginning but he would always call me and remind me that I was ‘The star’ Always
Then with time we got used to each other and we became close friends
He is a member of the crew where they are 5 phenomenal and ambitious men and one girl. I have learnt basically everything in campus politics and borrowed most of my perspectives about life from the crew. The crew has mentored me from a shy girl to a strong girl who is not afraid to speak her mind. It’s not for the faint hearted to have debates almost everyday with the five of them because they are so radical and sometimes I find myself having to be a no nonsense woman because some of the things that are said or done from the men angle leaves me with no option but to defend the girl child. The most memorable memories that I have growing up will be with the crew they take care of me and protect me as if I am an egg (I clearly understood what the Maasai girl meant, Hehee)
Saitoti got to know my love for his culture and he got me my first Maasai bangle all the way from his village but unfortunately Samba took it from me few days after with the promise of giving it back and I have never seen it again. Guess it was given to a girl who was playing hard to get and he never saw it back again as well.😁
Sometimes Saitoti will wear a Maasai attire to class. And he instantly becomes a tourist attraction because everybody wants a photo with him. I get lucky sometimes to have his shukaz and Makajos jokes that we look like a couples.
‘So Saitoti I think it’s time you tell me more about the Maasai for the sake of mt article’ I told him the other day jokingly.
‘Maasai are proud of themselves. They are willing to be themselves. And to be identified as themselves with their culture. That’s why you can see me walk around university premises in this attire and not be embarrassed.
They are friendly people and people of integrity. That explains why a Maasai can walk with a sword in any part of the country and no one is scared. They are less irritated they respect you and they demand respect in return.
They are conservationist and conserve the nature of their land and that is why upto today the land is in that domestic set up.
They have been patriachial and women not allowed to hold leadership positions but with time they are gradually moving away from that. That is why we now have female leaders like Nominated Senator Naisula Lesuuda from Samburu, Peris Tobiko the first elected Mp from Masai Land, Sarah Lekorere the nominated M.P among others.
The Maasai’s are gradually eliminating practises like Female Genital Mutilation and early marriages. They are slowly embracing education though still not open to Western Culture’
Star I think you should think of getting yourself a Maasai man. You are one sweet girl I know you will enjoy being with A Maasai man because we know how to love and treat our women right. All I hope is you don’t have someone who will leave you or come looking for me after seeing our photos!
‘ He concluded with a big laughter.
‘No Saitoti, but even if he was there friendship is very important and I expect him to understand we have a life outside the relationship. ‘ I joked back.
And surely who knows where my love for Masai culture will take me. I am soon getting myself a full attire and the bangles and bracelets and wear them often.
I even have favourite artist from Masai Land who is called Lemarti who I listen to His song Oyeee almost everyday. For those who haven’t seen him he is very handsome btw watch his Oyee Video.
And oh yeah, in future in case somebody forgets what part of the country I come from, Just call me a Maasai and if possible buy me a bracelet or a bangle as a surprise gift. Or how about a a full attire or even shuka?😇 Yes Yes?