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Maasai warriors tell PECI students about leading change in a community

Prince Edward Collegiate Institute students learned how two young Maasai tribesmen became warriors, scholars and leaders for change in their community.

As a way of thanking PECI for its contributions to Free the Children and Me to We programs in support of Enelerai Primary school in Kenya, “Wilson” and “Jackson”  were welcomed to the school to speak about their disappearing culture and how young people can make a difference in the world.

PECI, through its Make Poverty History club, started in 2005, has donated almost $20,000 to help pay for teachers and educational supplies at Enelerai Primary school.

Wilson Meikuaya and Jackson Ntirkana recently published a book called “The Last Maasai Warriors”.
They represent the first generation to earn university degrees and the last generation of Maasai warriors to be involved in traditions they feel no longer hold value.

“They are living testament to a vanishing way of life on the African savannah,” said Greer Koutroulides, PECI’s Canadian and World Studies teacher. “While intensely proud of their traditions and legends they strive to preserve a disappearing culture, protecting the sanctity of their elders while paving the way for future generations.”

The Maasai society requires everything to be approved by male elders guarding old traditions, but Wilson and Jackson have come far with introducing progressive values.

Gone, is the lion hunt, a rite of passage for young men becoming Maasai warriors. Wilson and Jackson said that now, instead of killing the lion, “maybe they will go to school and get a degree.”

The two explained how they faced resistance from their parents and community about going to school. Finally, Jackson explained, as he approached manhood at the end of primary school, his parents offered to sell some of their cows to pay for tuition if he would complete the ritual to become a warrior by killing a lion. Wilson also killed a lion to go to high school.

Today, the two are role models for progressive change but they also uphold traditional values such as respecting elders and the land. Today, they report, the families want their children to go to school.

PECI students were able to meet the two warriors and have their photographs taken with them attired in their red plaid shuka and ornate beaded necklaces.

At the presentation, a donation jar at the door encouraged $1 or $2 donations with all funds going directly to Enelerai Primary.  As well, the students brought items for donations to the Picton United Church County Food Bank.

Meet Wilson and Jackson here:

Filed Under: Featured ArticlesHastings & Prince Edward District School BoardPECI - It's a Panther Thing

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  1. fed up says:

    What a fantastic opportunity. Too bad the entire student body didn’t have a chance to listen and interact.

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