PERREAULT Magazine NOV | DEC 2016 - Page 67

As with many traditional tribes, today the Samburu people are under pressure from their government to settle into permanent villages.

They have been extremely reluctant to do so since permanent settlement would disrupt their entire way of life. The area they live in is very arid and it is difficult to grow crops to sustain a permanent site.

This means the Samburu will inevitably become dependent on others for their survival. Since status and wealth in Samburu culture is synonymous with the amount of cattle each family owns, a sedentary agricultural lifestyle is not in the least attractive to them. Many Samburu families who have already been forced to settle will often send their adult men to the cities to work as guards. This is a form of employment that has evolved naturally because of their strong reputation as warriors.

Today, many Samburu are fighting to retain their land and grazing rights, so that they may continue living their ancestral way of life.