My name is Mary Lemunga. I was born May 12th, l986 in a village called Kombo, in Same District. I am from an extended family, whereby my father has five wives and twenty-nine children. My mother is the first wife and has six children. My mother h
My name is Mary Lemunga. I was born May 12th, l986 in a village called Kombo, in Same District. I am from an extended family, whereby my father has five wives and twenty-nine children. My mother is the first wife and has six children. My mother had 8 cows, 5 goats, 3 sheep and 6 children alive but 2 passed away because of malaria. My first step-mother has 6 cows, 6 goats and 5 sheep, and 8 children. My second step-mother has 5 cows, 6 goats, 3 sheep and 6 children. My third step-mother has 4 cows, 3 goats, 5 sheep and 6 children and the last one has 2 cows, 5 goats, 1 sheep and 3 children. They all live in their own Maasai houses (huts).
According to my culture, we have age groups and division of labor. That means young boys that are 5-15 years go to find areas for pasture and water for the cattle. They include “morani” who are about 15-35 years old. Since I am the first born of my parents, who don’t have young boys and I was in primary school I had the duty of school and grazing the cattle. It meant I was going about 30 kilometers per day. Finally I exchanged the duty with my young sister.
Now my sister is married. Another one is in Form I and is sponsored by Emusoi. Another one does not go to school and my mother told me that this year she will be married although she is 12 years old. My youngest sister and brother are still young. Lucy is about 6 years old and Meshack is about 3 years old.
In my family, a woman does not have any right to speak out about things with her husband and when she does wrong, my father usually beats her. All in all, this is my life and my family.
My parents, especially my father were against my education because my father had already received twenty cows for my dowry (in Maasai Culture, a girls child has no right to be educated. She is considered as a commodity to be exchanged for cows). But my cousin and friend, Sifa, who was being sponsored by Emusoi, helped me request sponsorship at Emusoi to continue my education. I was able to join Emusoi in 2003. I finished my advanced level studies in 2007.
"My goal to work and to help my indigenous community which as been marginalized in all spheres of life; economically, socially and politically. I especially want to address gender balance issues which are not considered at all in my Maasai society. Women have no power to voice anything."