This is Tyson! He’s a 17-year-old Samburu warrior and is one of our Conservation Scholars. Tyson lives in Westgate Conservancy in Northern Kenya. His Dad works as a security guard at Sasaab, which is near his village. Tyson’s scholarship is very kindly sponsored by the Zaretsky family.

Tyson in his town clothes ©Mark Boyd

As a newly graduated warrior, Tyson recently went through Samburu initiation and circumcision – a momentous milestone in his life. When asked if he felt fearful beforehand, he was too quick to respond, ‘of course not!’ He assured us that all Samburu men are incredibly courageous. He’s loving the freedom and independence that warrior-hood has given him.

It feels so different – I can go anywhere I want and now I look beautiful, not just like a boy.

Tyson in his new Samburu warrior attire ©Mark Boyd

Tyson’s day of initiation attire ©Mark Boyd

Tyson’s warrior initiate attire ©Mark Boyd

Appearance is paramount for Samburu warriors as it’s all about dressing well and being admired. Tyson’s favourite outfit is his traditional warrior clothing, as it makes him feel proud and attractive.

Tyson’s dad (Simon Lekakwar) looks on proudly as his sons dance as warriors for the first time ©Mark Boyd

Tyson in his school uniform ©Mark Boyd

His second favourite thing to wear is his school uniform, as education is everything to him. For Tyson, getting selected as one of The Safari Collection’s Conservation Scholars and being able to attend a good secondary school means being able to help his family and change all their lives for the better.

So what does the future hold for Tyson? For now, he’s working as hard as he can at high school so he comes top of the class and can go on to study wildlife and tourism. A safari guide and ultimately a Kenya safari lodge manager are his future goals. He told us how the opportunity to go on a sponsored safari trip with his class, aged 11, sparked his fascination with the animal kingdom. Now he loves studying wildlife books in his spare time. A young conservation hero in the making!

I want to learn all the names of every bird and mammal and all their behaviours.

That’s when he’s not singing. Tyson is a talented musician and competes in music competitions at a national level with his school singing club. So if it doesn’t work out in tourism, Tyson plans to be a famous singer!

Tyson’s mum and sister cooking a goat’s head (nothing is wasted!) for the feast ©Mark Boyd

What’s his favourite animal? An aardvark. Quite an unusual choice, as they’re very hard to spot. Tyson loves how secretive they are and that you can only see them in the middle of the night. Their odd appearance also makes him laugh!

We couldn’t feel prouder of all that Tyson has achieved so far. His enthusiasm for his studies and his future ambitions are joyous to see. If you would like to learn more about how you can help other students like Tyson, head over to our Footprint and Conservation Scholars page to find out more.