KENYA, FEBRUARY 2022
Sintoya was born to her father’s second wife in a traditional Samburu society. Considered a bad place, Evalyn is denied access to school by her father. Girls are expected to marry around 12 years old to men over 30 and devote their lives to the home.
Sintoya has other ambitions. At the age of 8, she leaves the goats she has to look after every day to sneak off to school. For a year, she managed to attend school. When her father discovers the truth, he gives her the choice to leave school and go on a migration with them or to leave the family. At the age of 9, Sintoya left the family home to pursue her dream of going to school. She slept on the street, not far from the school, with a blanket. She was eventually taken in by her aunt, the only member of her family who agreed to support her project. Without notebooks or pencils, she writes on the floor with her fingers or scratches her thighs with a small piece of wood to write her notes (she still bears the scars today). Her efforts paid off: she was the best student in her class, year after year.
Evalyn, who finished high school with high praise, wanted to continue studying. She managed to get into a safari guide school in Nairobi. Once certified, Evalyn was turned down by every safari camp she approached. She was told that a woman couldn’t drive or change a tire if she got a flat… Putting her ambitions aside, she entered a safari camp as a maid and, two years later, through persistence, she managed to convince the management that she could work like any other guide. Shortly after, Evalyn was hired by Asilia Africa, a responsible tourism company. Evalyn began her career as a guide at Naboisho Camp, surrounded by the largest lion population in the world.
Today, Evalyn is enrolled in college and is aiming for a degree in Nature Preservation Management. She studies on her laptop every morning between 4 and 6 am, and every evening between 8 and 11 pm.
Olympe de Gê
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