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  • My name is Joseph, a Member of Parliament in Kenya.

  • Picture a Maasai village,

  • and one evening,

  • government soldiers come, surround the village

  • and ask each elder to bring one boy to school.

  • That's how I went to school --

  • pretty much a government guy pointing a gun

  • and told my father, "You have to make a choice."

  • I walked very comfortably to this missionary school,

  • that was run by an American missionary.

  • The first thing the American missionary gave me was a candy.

  • I had never in my life ever tasted candy.

  • So I said to myself, with all these hundred other boys,

  • this is where I belong.

  • (Laughter) I stayed.

  • When everybody else was dropping out.

  • My family moved; we're nomads.

  • It was a boarding school, I was seven --

  • Every time it closed you had to travel to find them.

  • 40-50 miles, it doesn't matter.

  • You slept in the bush, but you kept going.

  • And I stayed. I don't know why, but I did.

  • All of a sudden I passed the national examination,

  • found myself in a very beautiful high school in Kenya.

  • And I finished high school.

  • And just walking, I found a man

  • who gave me a full scholarship to the United States.

  • My mother still lived in a cow-dung hut,

  • none of my brothers were going to school,

  • and this man told me, "Here, go."

  • I got a scholarship

  • to St. Lawrence University, Upstate New York;

  • finished that.

  • And after that I went to Harvard Graduate School;

  • finished that.

  • Then I worked in DC a little bit:

  • I wrote a book for National Geographic and taught U.S. history.

  • And every time, I kept going back home,

  • listening to their problems --

  • sick people, people with no water, all this stuff --

  • every time I go back to America,

  • I kept thinking about them.

  • Then one day, an elder gave me a story that went like this:

  • long time ago, there was a big war between tribes.

  • This specific tribe was really afraid of this other Luhya tribe.

  • Every time, they sent scouts to make sure no one attacked them.

  • So one day, the scouts came running and told the villagers,

  • "The enemies are coming. Only half an hour away, they'll be here."

  • So people scrambled, took their things and ready to go, move out.

  • But there were two men:

  • one man was blind, one man had no legs

  • -- he was born like that.

  • The leader of the chiefs said, "No, sorry. We can't take you. You'll slow us down.

  • We have to flee our women and children, we have to run."

  • And they were left behind, waiting to die.

  • But these two people worked something out.

  • The blind man said, "Look, I'm a very strong man but I can't see."

  • The man with no legs says, "I can see as far as the end of the world,

  • but I can't save myself from a cat, or whatever animals."

  • The blind man went down on his knees like this,

  • and told the man with no legs to go over his back, and stood up.

  • The man on top can see, the blind man can walk.

  • These guys took off, followed the footsteps of the villagers

  • until they found and passed them.

  • So, this was told to me in a setup of elders.

  • And it's a really poor area.

  • I represent Northern Kenya:

  • the most nomadic, remote areas you can even find.

  • And that man told me, "So, here you are.

  • You've got a good education from America, you have a good life in America;

  • what are you going to do for us?

  • We want you to be our eyes, we'll give you the legs.

  • We'll walk you, you lead us."

  • The opportunity came. I was always thinking about that:

  • "What can I do to help my people?

  • Every time you go to an area where for 43 years of independence,

  • we still don't have basic health facilities.

  • A man has to be transported in a wheelbarrow 30 km for a hospital.

  • No clean drinking water.

  • So I said, "I'm going to dedicate myself.

  • I'm leaving America.

  • I'm going to run for office."

  • Last June, I moved from America,

  • ran in July election and won.

  • And I came for them,

  • and that's my goal.

  • Right now I have in place, for the last nine months,

  • a plan that in five years,

  • every nomad will have clean drinking water.

  • We're building dispensaries across that constituency.

  • I'm asking my friends from America to help

  • with bringing nurses or doctors to help us out.

  • I'm trying to improve infrastructure.

  • I'm using the knowledge I received from the United States

  • and from my community

  • to move them forward.

  • I'm trying to develop homegrown solutions to our issues

  • because people from outside can come and help us,

  • but if we don't help ourselves, there's nothing to do.

  • My plan right now

  • as I continue with introducing students to different fields --

  • some become doctors, some lawyers --

  • we want to produce a comprehensive group of people,

  • students who can come back and help us see a community grow

  • that is in the middle of a huge economic recession.

  • As I continue to be a Member of Parliament

  • and as I continue listening to all of you talking about botany,

  • health, democracy, new inventions,

  • I'm hoping that one day in my own little community --

  • which is 26,000 square km,

  • maybe five times Rhode Island --

  • with no roads,

  • we'll be able to become a model to help others develop.

  • Thank you very much.

  • (Applause)

My name is Joseph, a Member of Parliament in Kenya.

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【TED】Joseph Lekuton: A parable for Kenya (Joseph Lekuton: A parable for Kenya)

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    Zenn posted on 2018/02/05
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