Sunte Ole Ndeke – Our Wise Mzee

Sunte holds up the bucket ravaged by Ronjil

Sunte Ole Ndeke grew up in Inchakita area, Olgulului group ranch. He currently works with Lion Guardians as a security Guard. Sunte regrets that he never got a chance to go to school. During a team bonding event, he narrated a story from his childhood about how his father denied him that chance he longed for. When he saw his elder brother going to school, he decided to confront his dad and asked him when he would get to go to school. His father said to him – “You are too ‘bright’ to go school’. The old man insisted that his boy should take care of his livestock. Sunte gave in to his parent’s demand, albeit grudgingly.

During those years, education was nothing in comparison to livestock – especially among the pastoralist communities and more so the Maasai.  Sunte was a good herder. That is the reason why Ndeke wanted his ‘bright’ boy to be the one in charge of his livestock. Sunte tried to convince his father. “I will buy more cows once I complete my education”, Sunte told him. The old man was not convinced. Going by his father’s rigid position, Sunte ruled out the possibility of ever stepping into a classroom. Thus, he decided to focus on what he does best -herding his father’s cows. His father had 200 cows. He would herd the cattle and bring them back home safely in the evening. Occasionally, Sunte would move with the cattle in such of pastures during drought seasons.

During his teenage years, the unexpected happened- there was a bad drought that killed most of his father’s cows. Only five, out of the two hundred cows were left. Out of the five cows that were left, Sunte had only one. The other four cows belonged to the other members of the family. The young Sunte told his father that he wanted to be circumcised – his father obliged. Immediately after healing, Sunte decided to travel in search for a job. For under Kshs 1,000, he travelled to Mombasa. Within days of his arrival, he was lucky that he got a job as a security guard.  Sunte worked hard and bought many cows and shoats. However, during his tenure in Mombasa, Sunte was a sad and lonely man. This is because Mombasa is a far-off area and thus he missed his family and the happenings in his village.

Sunte is now happy as he has a job closer to home. He said he will ensure that none of his kids will ever miss a single day of school school since he values education so much.

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