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My Maasai Life: From Suburbia to Savannah

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  258 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
A memoir of a girl's choice to leave childhood comforts behind to live in her adoptive country of Kenya.

Growing up in suburban Illinois, Robin Wiszowaty never pictured herself living with an impoverished Maasai family in rural Kenya. Yet in her early twenties Wiszowaty embarked on an incredible journey that would shake her from complacency, take her to unimaginable locales
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Paperback, 300 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by Me to We (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

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Heather
Mar 14, 2012 Heather rated it really liked it
A very interesting life story. I loved reading about the Maasai lifestyle and culture and how welcoming they were to this foreign visitor. I love how much she identified with them and became a part of their family life. I loved the tips at the end on how to get more involved in charitable or development work, as well. A really great read.

There were two things that I didn't like about the book. First, the lack of proofreading: there were so many typos and grammatical errors as to be very distract
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Kevin
Dec 05, 2010 Kevin rated it really liked it
When I first started reading this book, I immediately became hesitant about whether I'd like the story or not. I mean, the main character (the author) starts out as a kind of bratty, spoiled girl -- who considers herself to be some unique and beautiful snowflake not meant to be held down by the trappings of modern society... or something.

Thankfully, she became more likable as I kept reading.

Despite a couple small typos, it's a very well-written story. I'm not sure how fictionalized it is or if i
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Tinea
Jul 28, 2010 Tinea rated it liked it
Recommended to Tinea by: book exchange at work
There are a lot of books that explain a litany of African and developing country issues for Western audiences. This is a good one. She basically wrote a book about her study abroad year living with a Maasai homestay in rural Kenya. I recommend doing the real thing, but this book is an interesting, enjoyable read with some good wide eyed analysis, adventure, and story. The most unique part of this book is that Wiszowaty actually attended a female circumcision ceremony, giving her nuanced, thought ...more
Jennifer
Sep 13, 2010 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
From My book review blog Rundpinne.

My full review is located here.

"...My Maasai Life is an extraordinarily beautiful and blunt look at life in Kenya, primarily in Maasailand, through the eyes of a young, middle-class American whose experience living as part of the Maasai proves to be an invaluable lesson. Wiszowaty writes about her experiences in a beautiful and reverent manner, the reader will feel as though they are witnessing what Robin is experiencing as she takes the reader through the d
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Liralen
Jan 06, 2014 Liralen rated it liked it
Theory: many memoirists would benefit from writing the book, then scrapping the first chapter and writing it anew.

As far as 'white girl moves to Africa' books go, this was a surprisingly good one. I'll admit to some disappointment that the author wasn't more, well, confidently badass, but I think you could successfully argue that she proved her badassery in quieter ways.

What works so well here is that she does obvious growth over the course of the book. As she finds her way in a new culture, she
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KatherineJ Barrett
Oct 09, 2011 KatherineJ Barrett rated it liked it
Wiszowaty is an intriguing character. Clearly bright and confident, she portrays herself as alternately super-naive or ultra-competent. Boarding her flight to Kenya, she stops and wonders if she has her passport: “You need a passport to go to another country, don’t you?” Once in Nairobi, however, she soon hops a matatu across town on her own, then heads out to Maasailand in the back of a pick-up truck. She acknowledges that she didn’t know what language Kenyans spoke before she arrived the count ...more
Ubalstecha
Mar 31, 2012 Ubalstecha rated it really liked it
Shelves: heroes
Robin Wiszowaty never felt she belonged in suburban Illonois. She was angry and looking for a purpose. Spending a year living with a Masai family in rural Kenya gave Robin her purpose: International Development. She eventually became a speaker for Me to We, and a facilitator for their trips to Africa.

In this book, part memoir, part call to action, Robin details her journey and shows readers how she found peace, love and purpose in Africa. Written primarily for the youth market, Robin spares the
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Mom
Feb 10, 2011 Mom rated it it was amazing
Non-fiction book by a girl who grew up in Schaumburg. I loved the book. There were times I would purposely put off reading because I didn't want to be finished too fast! It tell of Robin's year living with a Massai family in Kenya. They lived in a hut with a dirt floor and no running water. It talks of her interactions with other villagers and how she decides to live her life after Africa. I thought it was well-written, interesting and kept you wanting to know what would happen next. It was a pr ...more
Sandy
Dec 27, 2010 Sandy rated it really liked it
Very interesting story!
I don't think I would have gotten into this book or enjoyed it if I had not actually been to Kenya and interacted with Maasai men myself. I think the saving grace for this book is that she takes the Maasai warrior into the city for the first time ever and that gives her the chance to present us with not only her analysis of The Maasai culture, but also a Massai's analysis of the more modern world.
Not the best written book ever, but I really enjoyed following her through he
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Barbara
Feb 09, 2011 Barbara rated it liked it
The author's experience as an American university student living for a year with a traditional Maasai family in a remote village in Kenya was really interesting and she presents lots of information and stories clearly. But her writing is nothing special. Competent enough to get the point across, but nothing imaginative or original. The book even contains several grammar mistakes and incomplete sentences. But overall, worth reading if you're interested in knowing more about the Maasai.
Anne Detwiler
Oct 24, 2010 Anne Detwiler rated it really liked it
Mesmerizing. Inspiring. Passionate. These were my impressions of Robin Wiszowaty after hearing her speak at our school about becoming a part of a Masai family in Kenya. Themes include; cultural identity, international aid and development work, Masai cultural identity, education, health, finding one's purpose and creating opportunities and change.
Chapters Rideau
Jan 23, 2012 Chapters Rideau rated it it was amazing
Alannah says: "This book inspired me to learn more about the maasai culture. It led me on 2 adventures through rural Kenya. These trips taught me invaluable lessons. I talked with the local mamas, participated in a water walk and worked side-by-side the local community members. It’s a must read for anyone looking for an inspiring, enthusiastic book. Asante Sana Kenya!"
Ellen
Dec 13, 2010 Ellen rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. Was nice to read more about the Maasai perple. Robin reminded of me moving away at a young age to live with people from another culture and all that is learned from this experience. But she has developed her experience into a lifestyle of helping and this is inspiring. A bit preachy at the end but other than that, a good read.
Kim
Aug 23, 2014 Kim rated it it was ok
A good book for youth/young adults. Inspiring, although I felt like the book just ended without resolution of her relationship with Samuel. (Perhaps she's planning a sequel?) Could have used more editing in terms of repetition of words, sentence structure, etc., but a good effort.
Katie
Sep 06, 2013 Katie rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this and her experiences in Kenya, with the Maasai, and her work following. After spending two weeks in Kenya and getting to know and better understand the Maasai culture and people this was especially interesting to read.
Missy
Jan 28, 2016 Missy rated it really liked it
A very honest and moving account of a young woman finding her way and deciding her own purpose in life. Easily read but riddled with error that should have been edited out. A passionate plea to young people to take stock and commit themselves to a meaningful, fulfilling life of their choosing.
Laura
Jan 13, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it
My Maasai Life is a fascinating look at Maasai culture, told from the perspective of Robin Wiszowaty when she moves from the United States to live with a family in rural Kenya. Robin's stories about her experiences living in such a remote community are very interesting and have much to teach us.
Jen Winter
Nov 04, 2010 Jen Winter rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this one. The beginning seemed to be written by a young lady and the second half by an adult whose eyes have been opened. Very enjoyable tale that will hopefully shine a light on the African struggles and our privileged life in North America.
Monica Savage
Nov 20, 2012 Monica Savage rated it it was amazing
A fantastic story about the way others live with so much less than we do and the contributions we can all bring to these underdeveloped areas! A truly inspiring story about the warmth of cultures we know little about and the options to help those who truly need it!
Sophie
Feb 04, 2011 Sophie rated it liked it
Good book. Inspiring.
At first I thought it would just be about a college girl not knowing what to do with her life, and just about her searching for herself. But it ended up being very interesting, with lot of info on Maasai culture, without any prejudice.
Interesting!
Katy Mason
May 22, 2012 Katy Mason rated it really liked it
In depth, personal view on what life was like as a Maasai from an outsiders perspective. Acclimating with a whole new world proved to be an amazing, insightful adventure for Robin. It was incredible to be a part of her experience & transformation.
Laura
Jul 14, 2014 Laura rated it really liked it
I thought it was very interesting to learn about the life in a Maasai tribe. I wasn't aware of how they lived and the challenges they face. It makes you appreciate what we have in the western society.
Justine  Smith
Sep 27, 2012 Justine Smith rated it it was amazing
This book is a must read if you are going to Kenya on a mission,weather it be a medical mission that I did or a building,church mission or anything else.
Elisabeth
Apr 14, 2015 Elisabeth rated it really liked it
She is an impressive woman, and continues to earn respect. An easy read, also out of the U of MN.
Marian
Feb 20, 2012 Marian rated it really liked it
Inspirational. Young woman's choice to leave her comfortable American home and live in poverty with Maasai in Kenya.
Rebecca
Dec 02, 2010 Rebecca rated it really liked it
I liked this inspiring memoir, especially when describing daily life and events with her host family. Kinda got lost in the details toward the end.
Christy Browning
Jul 03, 2011 Christy Browning rated it really liked it
Interesting insight in to the culture of the Maasai. Enjoyable to me because I am going to Kenya this year.
Rachel
Rachel rated it it was amazing
Apr 22, 2013
Cassandra
Cassandra rated it really liked it
Jan 11, 2017
Alannah Ford
Alannah Ford rated it really liked it
Aug 08, 2012
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