Naha Shuaka was in one of the first groups of students who came to Emusoi in 1999 when the Center opened. She comes from a village about 90 miles from Arusha town. She had finished primary school and had been â€œbooked to be marriedâ€. The parish
Naha Shuaka was in one of the first groups of students who came to Emusoi in 1999 when the Center opened. She comes from a village about 90 miles from Arusha town. She had finished primary school and had been “booked to be married”. The parish priest, in her village, had preached often about the need for the Maasai Community to educate their girls. Naha ’s father took these words to heart and decided that she would go to secondary school instead of being married. Her fiancé was very angry and threatened that his grandfather would put a curse on the family. Naha ’s father was frightened by this threat and almost gave in but her mother was steadfast. Naha was only 13 when we came to visit and learned that her father had given a deadline for us to appear or he would marry off Naha . Fortunately we came just in time and Naha , a short time later moved to Emusoi. Everything was new to her; electricity, running water, our bunk beds, but she adjusted well. She brushed up on her Math and English skills at Emusoi and then went on to Secondary school and has done very well. She is now graduating from Form 6 and is ready for University. Long ago her ambition was to become a pilot. Her aims have shifted now as her interest in science has blossomed. She would like to be a doctor whose specialty is pediatrics. She will take the national exams in February and then will look forward to higher studies.
These girls who pass through the educational system will be models for other Maasai girls. Even now they bring their sisters, cousins and neighbors to the attention of Emusoi, some “escaping” to come. Naha helped her cousin, Maria, to leave her village secretly at 5am to come to Emusoi. Maria’s marriage had been arranged as soon as she finished grade 7 of primary school. She wanted to continue her studies, but her father had other plans for her.
Following Naha ’s directions, Maria walked 2 hours to reach the main road, through the bush. She boarded a bus and went to Arusha, where she had never been, all with the faith that Naha would meet her. Naha was at the bus stand and brought her to Emuosi. Naha risked the wrath of her father and the curses of her relatives. Naha ’s mother supported both Naha ’s and Maria’s desires to study. At one time she was sent away from her “boma” (her homestead) as a punishment for giving her daughters these “untraditional ideas”, but she believes it is all worth it for the future of her daughters.
UPDATES on Naha:
Naha currently works for a Non-Government Organization as the Assistant Project Officer.