Samburu Mixed High School
Rhodia Mann’s association with the Samburu people of Kenya’s arid north began as a small child, and has shaped her life to the present day. A family she met in 1972 formally adopted her in 1990. Through them, she was able to attend all their major ceremonies and rites of passage, and to meet all the healers, diviners and spiritual leaders of the people.
She is a well known as an expert on their culture, and in 2000 was elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in recognition of her work. She has written several books about them and made a documentary film, shown on MNet Africa TV in 2015.
Having recorded their culture for posterity, there is a concern as to their future. Their traditional way of life is threatened by climate changes, formal education, and exposure to outside influences such as religion, tourism, technology and so on. They are being forced to give up their pastoral lives, and to become sedentary, and in many cases, urbanites. Education will help them now.
She has located a High School just outside Maralal (the District capital). The Principal is an honest, dedicated and incorruptible man (a rare thing in Kenya!). Due to his fine reputation, the school, which began with 13 students, now has an intake of over 300 (both boys and girls). Because he refuses to pay bribes to get the necessary equipment for his school, facilities at the Samburu Mixed High School are seriously limited.
The focus for the school is to provide, water system, build a laboratory, library and assist with a sustainable model.