“ . . . the choice is not between change or no change, the choice for Africa is between changing or being changed.” —Julius Nyerere, First President of Tanzania
In 1999, Juliet Cutler leaves the United States to teach at the first school for Maasai girls in East Africa. Captivated by the stories of young Maasai women determined to get an education in the midst of a culture caught between the past and the future, she seeks to empower and support her students as they struggle to define their own fates.
Cutler soon learns that behind their shy smiles and timid facades, her Maasai students are much stronger than they appear. For them, adolescence requires navigating a risky world of forced marriages, rape, and genital cutting, all in the midst of a culture grappling with globalization. In the face of these challenges, these young women believe education offers hope, and so, against all odds, they set off alone—traveling hundreds of miles and even forsaking their families—simply to go to school.
Twenty years of involvement with this school and its students reveal to Cutler the important impacts of education across time, as well as the challenges inherent in tackling issues of human rights and extreme poverty across vastly different cultures. Working alongside local educators, Cutler emerges transformed by the community she finds in Tanzania and by witnessing the life-changing impact of education on her students.
Proceeds from the sale of this book support education and safety for at-risk Maasai girls.
“The book is a valuable record, showing both the successes and limitations of education. . . . [an] enlightening account of teaching in East Africa.”
“At once memoir, spiritual odyssey, and cultural analysis, Among the Maasai is a gorgeous, honest book.”
—Elaine Neil Orr, author of Swimming Between Worlds
“A thoroughly engaging and meaningful look into the struggles confronted by many indigenous societies today and the challenges faced by the educators who are at the forefront during these rapidly changing times.”
—Kenneth Cushner, EdD, author of Teacher as Traveler and Beyond Tourism
“In a world where white saviors in Africa tend to reign supreme, Among the Maasai is a breath of fresh air. . . . this exceptional narrative cuts through preconceived notions of what it means to cross borders and build relationships.”
—Daniel Ruth, executive director of Lutheran Partners in Global Ministry
“This brave and heartfelt account of Juliet Cutler’s journey in Tanzania is an inspiring and important work. Through the intersection of her story with the extraordinary experiences of her young Maasai students, Juliet reveals the transformative power of education.”
—Herta Feely, author of Saving Phoebe Murrow