Facing the Lion

Facing the Lion : Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna

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After opening with a dramatic chapter about Lekuton's first encounter with a lion, the books covers his life from birth, through his early life as a cattle herder (starting at about age 5), his mischievousness, the way of life in the village (there was a nasty guy called the Pinching Man, who would punish kids if they were bad), school (including dealing with bullies), initiation, his time at boarding school and his journey to America to go to college (he was so worried about not eating the right way that he went without food for four days. His first meal in the U.S. was at McDonalds. He still loves the place.) The book ends with a chapter about going home to his mother and the sense of being at home in two very different worlds. Extracts from the book: During the middle of the night, I woke to this huge sound - like rain, but not really like rain. I looked up. The starlight was gone, clouds were everywhere, and there was a light drizzle falling. But that wasn't the sound. The sound was all of the cows starting to pee. All of them, in every direction. And that is the sign of a lion. A hyena doesn't make them do that. An elephant doesn't make them do that. A person doesn't. Only the lion. We knew right away that a lion was about to attack us. *** Cows are our way of life. They give us milk and blood and sometimes meat to eat and hides to wear. They're our wealth: We don't have money; we have cows. The more cows somebody has, the wealthier he is. My mother has lived her whole life in a hut made of sticks and mud, and you could put everything she owns on the seat of a chair. She lives entirely on the cow. For her, there's something wrong with someone who doesn't have cows. It's just not civilized. ***

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Product details

  • Paperback | 128 pages
  • 129.5 x 203.2 x 10.2mm | 158.76g
  • National Geographic Kids
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0792272978
  • 9780792272977
  • 120,170

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Review quote

"Every home should have this book." --"The Baltimore Afro-American"

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About Joseph Lemasolai Lekut

Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton is a Maasai tribesman who grew up on the savanna of northern Kenya. He teaches eighth grade social studies in Langley, Virginia and holds a master's degree in International Education Policy from Harvard University. Each summer he brings a group of students and parents to Kenya to work on development projects that help his people.

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