EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

May 16, 2013

Wi-Fi, snow make lasting impression

Maasai warrior brings final leg of journey to Merrimack Valley

(Continued)

“If I get $20, it will enable me to buy school supplies like books, pens and, sometimes, even a pair of shoes for a school-grade kid,” Parsitau said. “This money, all the resources, all the support we get here, we take it to be a life changer. We have 54 girls who are in a scholarship program. The funds we’re able to raise here will sustain the girls in school.”

The men’s trip in Andover was organized through Andover Youth Services, which previously bought Tipanko to Andover in December 2010. They stayed in the home of a resident with ties to the Intashart village, according to Andover Youth Services community outreach manager David Tanklefsky.

Tanklefsky said young people stand to gain a lot from the interactions with the Maasai warriors.

“It’s really eye-opening for students to be like, ‘Wow, not everybody has the luxuries that we take for granted,’” he said. “It’s a really cool way for them to see there’s a much broader world out there.”

The feeling is mutual. Ask Parsitau to describe the first time he picked up a snowball in Denver and he’ll tell you he felt chills run through him.

“They made snowballs for me. And they gave me one, and I couldn’t hold it because it was too cold for me,” he said. “It was going through my bones.”

Parsitau said he’ll return home with considerable support for his community and his organization’s projects from various groups across the U.S.

“The reception has been very positive,” he said.

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