Female Safari Guide: ‘I Am A Lady But we Am Telling You, we Am Capable’

Lucy Nabiki Takona of a Maasai encampment is a womanlike safari beam in a male-dominated profession. Men don’t always consider she can hoop a pursuit though she usually forges ahead.

Ginanne Brownell Mitic for NPR

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Ginanne Brownell Mitic for NPR

Lucy Nabiki Takona of a Maasai encampment is a womanlike safari beam in a male-dominated profession. Men don’t always consider she can hoop a pursuit though she usually forges ahead.

Ginanne Brownell Mitic for NPR

Ever given Lucy Nabiki Takona was a immature lady flourishing adult in a encampment not distant from a Maasai Mara diversion haven in Kenya, she knew she wanted to have a career in education.

So when her father told her during age 14 that she would have to dump out of propagandize to marry a son of her father’s friend, she ran away. It took her 3 days to transport by a brush to her aunt’s house.

“I was used to walking — removing H2O is distant and collecting firewood is distant — so for me it was not something big,” Takona, 26, says. “It was some-more frightful to get married than transport on your possess in a bush.”

Schooling for many Maasai girls ends in their early teen years. Many bear womanlike genital twisting and are married off for a dowry of cattle.

But Takona’s aunt talked to some successful elders in a encampment who were means to remonstrate her father to let her continue her drill — while another sister of Takona’s was married off to a immature man.

That was usually Takona’s initial barrier on her trail to apropos a safari beam — a male-dominated profession. As a woman, she’s fought an ongoing conflict for preparation — and opposite harassment.

As a child, Takona says, she suspicion her usually career choice as a lady was to be a teacher. She didn’t see women operative in any other professions — and few, even, were educators. But during a outing to a Nairobi National Museum in her final year of high school, she satisfied there were other possibilities.

“A lady took us around a museum and she unequivocally had knowledge, so from that day brazen we knew girls could be something some-more than teachers,” Takona says.

So she went to investigate during a Koiyaki Guiding School for dual years on a grant from a proffer transport classification African Impact. She afterwards worked for a organisation for 18 months in lapse as a guide.

Takona has given left on to work for a series of safari camps dotted opposite a southern Mara.

“There is still an component whereby women are mostly looked down on among a [Maasai] encampment with a notice that they can't perform as good as men,” says Lincoln Njiru, a plan manager with African Impact. “I would contend [Takona] is a purpose indication in a Maasai community.”

But on a highway to success, she’s had to make personal sacrifices. Takona is a singular mom of a 4-year-old child who lives with a nanny several villages divided from a safari camp. She is not in hold with his father.

On Nov 23, Takona hopes to supplement one some-more credit to her resume. She’s holding a examination to acquire a china guide’s badge. Of a 4,302 members of a Kenya Professional Safari Guide Association, usually 404 members have china badges, 15 of whom are female.

Results from a examination are announced after 3 days. If Takona passes, she will be usually a second Maasai lady to strech this qualification. Sample question: List 5 differences between Common and Grevy Zebras.

“It’s singular in a [Maasai] encampment to be an eccentric woman,” says Evaline Sintoya Mayetu, who was a initial Maasai lady to get a china beam gift in Mar 2015. “I would like to see some-more Maasai women go for not usually china [but] go school, to have a career of their possess and mangle some barriers of normal culture.”

Overall guest and other guides are tender that Takona is operative in a male-dominated profession, she says she still encounters prejudice.

“The trainer during one place where we worked pronounced ‘You can't beam unless someone drives you.’ And we asked because and he pronounced ‘You are a lady,’ ” she recalls. “And we pronounced ‘I am a lady though we am revelation you, we am able of doing it.'”

Another time, when she was speeding opposite a savannah to check out a leopard sighting with some guests, she overheard on a radio a few other guides doubt her ability to get her jeep by a low gully.

“One beam pronounced he wanted to take his car before me,” she says. “I told him ‘No, we will cranky first.’ And he was articulate on a radio after saying, ‘Oh, she has done it. That girl’s tough.’ “

Ginanne Brownell Mitic writes about arts, enlightenment and preparation and is a co-founder of a women’s webzine Find her on Twitter @ginannebrownell