“Olkinyei in Maasai” is the name of a shrubby tree that grows behind the Mara plains, a place so beautiful and fast that it feels like the end of the world. I stand on a property that my parents told me would be my new home. Looking around, I see beautiful green rolling hills. I feel the strong wind swaying and I admire the way the sun bounces off the hills. Olkinyei is the place I feel most content, because you don’t have to maintain your identity – there is only freedom.
“Who am I?” Every person asks themselves this question, but what if there was a place where you could be whoever you want to be? Olkinyei is the one place that you don’t feel bound or subjected to the identity that you spend your whole life developing, but rather you create a new one. The last three years I have tried to figure out my identity, but at Olkinyei I have the freedom to create my own. I dream of being great, having a family, and dying with a legacy.
One of my teachers asked me to define freedom. It took me a long time to answer the question, but I believe that freedom is the ability to change your identity. To most people, changing your identity means that you have to move somewhere new, but to me Olkinyei is the ultimate escape. In 2008, Kenya suffered post-election violence. Of the four who were chosen to be charged on crimes against humanity, two are now the top leaders of the nation. Recently, I wondered where they find their ultimate escape. Where do they go to remind themselves who they truly are? Many people are not as privileged as I am. Some are too poor to change their status, others are so imprisoned by their identity that they have lost who they truly are. Olkinyei is a place that I can lay in the grass and stare at the clouds mindlessly. A place I call home.
Who am I truly? I am an independent young woman who strives to be a better person by doing the small things in life. I strive to love like a mother loves a child, to work hard like my heroes, and enjoy each day. Olkinyei provides a wonderful escape from reality. What are we without our identity? Olkinyei has helped me realize that I can be content anywhere in the world, as long as I am able to dream. I will have to find myself another place to call home, another place my heart will feel content.