Daylight Festival Celebrating Traditional Nomadic Culture

Reflection from Daylight Founder Michael Kimpur

Daylight’s mission is to educate young leaders to transform Kenya’s nomadic, war-torn culture. Over half of students are from nomadic villages. These children end up at Daylight because a parent has died or their families is unable to pay school fees.

I grew up like many of these children. Going to school outside of the village. And I relied on elders from my tribe to come visit me at school and teach me about my traditional culture. Now a days it is even more important to have elders celebrating nomadic culture with our students. This is because Kenyan news often features exploitative stories about the barbaric and savage traditions of the nomadic people of Kenya. The news often portrays us as un-educated, backwards, and violent.

Recently a Kenyan News station Citizen TV ran a story about how the Pokot people shower in the river. The few Pokot who have access to TV and internet found this story to be disrespectful to our culture. Especially because Pokot do not have access to running water in their villages so they have no where to shower but in the river.

Stories like this one are why Daylight makes a point of celebrating traditional nomadic culture. We want our students to feel proud of our nomadic heritage. We want them to grow up and help their communities. So we regularly have Cultural Festivals where we bring elders in to teach the students.

This spring we had a dance celebration where a traditional nomadic choir of elders came and danced and sang songs for our children.

Many of our children came to Daylight when they were still too young to remember many of the songs and traditions of their villages.

And while our students are encouraged to visit their villages during school breaks, we want to help bridge the gap between village life and modern Kenyan life. The elders to teach values like service to the community, traditional songs, and dress.

Dan Chumba and I along with the teachers from nomadic backgrounds join in the traditional dancing to help model what it means to be an educated modern nomadic elder.  Daylight students from nomadic backgrounds learn these dances and perform them the students at the school assembly. This helps prevent the other students from non-nomadic tribes from believing the negative stereotypes they see in the media.

The Elders want to say Thank You. Your support makes these cultural celebrations possible.

If you would like to read more about my story and the nomadic people please read our new book Poor Millionaires: The Village Boy Who Walked to the Western World and the American Boy Who Followed Him Home by Daylight Co-Founders Nathan Roberts and Michael Kimpur.

Michael Kimpur
Daylight Kenya Founder and Director

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