Language barriers (video – Koikai speaks English)

Most people think that being a Kenyan you must know English or at least our national language Swahili. But in Maasailand few people, probably less than 30% can speak Swahili. Our mother tongue is Maa, and unless someone has been to school they will not have learnt any languages apart from this, not even Swahili.

We mentioned a while ago that Lion Guardian Koikai is trying to learn English and practises it all the time on anyone he can! When we interviewed him a few weeks ago it was another opportunity for him to give his English a go. Here he is trying out some of his language skills!

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Except for Koikai, none of the Lion Guardians speak English, as it is only taught in schools, and few people can speak it in this community. A few of the Guardians speak a little Swahili which they have picked up because they need to communicate with the non-Maasai that they live near to. As you can probably tell, my languages come in handy quite a lot, and I often find myself translating between Maa, Swahili and English!


  • sauwah says:

    learning another language is so challenging for an adult ( unlike a child whose brain is yet fully developed ), therefore I admire any man/woman in doing so. english is one difficult language for sure. keep going! it will only get better and earlier.

  • Sonja says:

    Kolkai speaks enunciates very precisely (something notoriously easy to be sloppy about). Great job, and keep up the good work!

  • sherman webb says:

    may the lord our god protect theses precious animals.

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