Thursday, November 25, 2010
The Story of Joseph Lekuton
Choosing the plight of the marginalized to taking the next flight out; story of MP Joseph Lekuton
For many they would kill for an opportunity of studying in one of the most prestigious university in the world – Harvard but not the Laisamis Member of Parliament who has instead choose to continue representing his people as an MP as preferred to going and do a doctorate in the United States.
Representing one of the marginalized community in the country, this was a God send opportunity for the youthful MP but after hearing the cries of his people who do not wish him to go, he is staying.
For many, in Laisamis area, accessing education is a privilege of a few. Coupled with lack of schools and the regions culture education is a pipe dream for many.
Many boys had pictured their lives as Maasai warriors and cattle herders. If you are among the lucky few to get education, one had to walk for hours to get to the nearest school and toppled with lack of money discouraged many.
This was the case of the now area MP Lekuton, a man who defied all odds and pursued education to the highest level in the best of the best universities in the world.
Lekuton who did his degree in Education at Harvard University has now got a scholarship to do his doctorate at Harvard.
The Maasai born Joseph Lekuton shot at education was by ‘accident’ after his older brother who was chosen to go to school but he did not want.
At the age of 6, he had already started his education at the missionary boarding school in Laisamis.
8 years later, Lekuton finished his primary education but he could not continue his education due to lack of school fees. But fate as fate would have it, former President Daniel Moi happened to know about the young Lekuton and offered him a scholarship at the Kabarnet secondary school.
He then cleared his A levels doing well in his final exams and got a job at bank as a clerk. The young Lekuton then received a letter of admission at St Lawrence University in the US under the scholarship for the African Students.
After telling his mother who still leaves at a cow dung hut about the news she promised to do whatever it takes to get his ticket so that his son could get education he needed.
His family then sold most of his cattle’s and the rest of the villages helped and he got his ticket to the United States. In four years, Lekuton graduated from St. Lawrence with both a bachelor's in economics and government and a master's degree in education at Harvard University all under a scholarship programme.
He then worked as history teacher in Washington DC at one of the schools in the United States. He was then named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer for his work in sharing the culture of Kenya with America, including efforts to share educational resources with nomadic children through the BOMA Fund and Cows for Kids.
“He was then sponsored by the National Geographic to write a book called Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna which was used to educate about the challenges of Nomadic community in Kenya.
Its in 2006, that he made up his mind to come and run for political a position he says he would be able to serve the people who helped him pay for the tickets to get his education.
After the plane crash killed the area MP died in a plane crash, he vied for the position during the by election and he won. As a first timer in the 10th parliament he has recorded impressive record building boreholes in Loyangalani, Merile and in Laisamis town.
His passionate actions have led to a number of accolades and prestigious awards, including Kenya's Order of the Grand Warrior, a presidential award for exemplary service to his nation.