When Two Worlds Meet

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Joshua Kirrinkol lives in a contradiction of two cultures.

Joshua Kirrinkol lives in a contradiction of two cultures. Born in Amboseli National Park in Kenya, Kirrinkol grew up in a Maasai village, herding cattle and constantly moving around looking for better grazing land. As a young man he received a scholarship to study hospitality at a school in Le Bouveret, Switzerland. From there he found his way to Aspen to work at the St. Regis hotel.

 

Kirrinkol’s leaving Kenya was both a benefit and a problem for his family. The problem was that there was one less person helping with the cattle. It was a benefit because Kirrinkol has a duty to help his village out financially and report to them about the world.

 

Kirrinkol has two missions. He is on a quest to find an organization that will help him to provide health care to the Maasai as the nearest hospital to his village is a four-hour drive away. He is talking at Colorado schools to educate children on the distinctive Maasai culture. Maasai clothes are easily recognizable and their many languages stand out in crowd. “There are 42 different Maasai tribes and 42 different languages,” Kirrinkol said.

 

There are many contrasts between the daily life of a Maasai child and the daily life of a typical Coloradoan child. For example: most kids here live next to people whereas with the Maasai, Kirrinkol remarked, “our neighbors are wild animals. When you go outside you just see a giraffe or a lion.”

 

Maasai people go to great lengths to seek out one another. “There is a Maasai man in Mississippi right now. I am trying to figure out a way for him to come to Colorado to talk to schools with me,” Kirrinkol said. The Maasai will work together to adapt to the modern world yet keep their traditions strong.