Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna, by Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton, is a wonderful introduction to the culture of Kenya, and a fascinating memoir of a talented Maasai boy. Mr. Lekuton tells his boyhood stories and tells how, with the help of his tribe, he was sent to study in an American college, St. Lawrence University in New York.
from the publisher:
Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton gives American kids a firsthand look at growing up in Kenya as a member of a tribe of nomads whose livelihood centers on the raising and grazing of cattle. Readers share Lekuton’s first encounter with a lion, the epitome of bravery in the warrior tradition. They follow his mischievous antics as a young Maasai cattle herder, coming-of-age initiation, boarding school escapades, soccer success, and journey to America for college. Lekuton’s riveting text combines exotic details of nomadic life with the universal experience and emotions of a growing boy.
After graduating from St. Lawrence, he taught middle school in Virginia for many years, and then was accepted at Harvard University where he earned a Master’s degree in International Education policy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
He returned to Kenya in 2007, and was elected as a representative in the National Assembly of Kenya. He was reelected in 2013. His work has been dedicated to improving the lives of young Kenyans through education.
“To bridge cultures you must mix people together,” he says. “Education and travel are the best teachers.”
This was a very enjoyable book, a wonderful introduction to Kenya and to a young boy who grew up to be an inspirational man.
Click here to listen to Joseph Lekuton’s TED Talk, “A Parable for Kenya.”
I chose to read this book for my personal challenge, “Wanderlust,” an effort to read books that are from or take place in each country of the world. This was a book about Kenya.
A not so enjoyable but very important book is Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh.It is set in 1952 colonial Kenya and gives you a serious look at what that was like. It is well-written and informative just not a cozy read!
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Marlo, that sounds very interesting. I’ve also been thinking of reading The Flame Trees of Thika, which I liked so much on Masterpiece Theater ages ago. More on colonialism.