'Nation' writer's book seeks to help pastoralist children

Sunday December 17 2017

Joel Reyia

Nation journalist Joel Reyia (in black jacket) during the launch of his story book Lekuta and the goats and other stories in Transmara, Narok County, on December 17, 2017. The book highlights issues affecting pastoralist children. PHOTO | ELGAR MACHUKA | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

By ELGAR MACHUKA
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By NYABOGA KIAGE
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When he first sent his literary work to a publisher two years, Nation journalist Joel Reyia was told that it was not worth publishing.

However, the writer is now telling a different story.

Not only has he managed to get his book published, but he has also managed to sell over 2,000 copies.

Speaking during the launch of his story book Lekuta and the goats and other stories, Reyia said that getting it published was not easy.

Like many other authors in Kenya, he nearly lost his interest in writing as a result of low morale.

“It has been a tedious journey but eventually I made it. I also appreciate the fact that I was turned back by the publisher who made me think big,” he said.

Joel Reyia

Delighted residents of Transmara in Narok County on December 17, 2017 during the launch of Nation Joel Reyia's story book Lekuta and the goats and other stories. PHOTO | ELGAR MACHUKA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

EMBRACE EDUCATION

Mr Reyia took the opportunity to encourage locals who attended the launch to embrace education in the area which does not have even a single school.

According to him, the Maasai literature is rich, but its full potential has not been fully realised.

He said that many authors from the community have written extensively in a bid to share the Maasai heritage with the world but few have written on pastoral children literature.

“Children from pastoralist communities still lack relevant books that helps them appreciate their environment and love their way of life,” he said.

“I decided to write for children because I want them to develop a sense of belonging and love for their land,” he added.

Due to many misconceptions about pastoralists such as being perceived to be unable to make economic decisions, Mr Reiya said that in his book, he aims at dispelling the misconception.

Joel Reyia's book

Joel Reyia's book Lekuta and the goats and other stories. PHOTO | ELGAR MACHUKA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

PASTORALISM

“The book also teaches children about the positive side of pastoralism in their formative years,” he said.

Thematic concerns in the book include environmental degradation, the question of identity, the future of pastoralism and moral issues regarding children.

The journalist who is based in Transmara says that he categorises his writing as a bucolic which he has greatly borrowed from the famous idylls written by a Greek poet Theocritus who was the creator of ancient Greek bucolic poetry.

He says that he has been influenced by writers like Cyprian Ekwesi (Nigeria) and Pettina Gappah (Zimbabwe)

Mr Reiya is currently working on another novel titled The Lost Daughter.