Kenya’s Maasai Cricket Warriors have become the latest stars in a new documentary film, “Warriors” which features the engineering work of Defence Academy instructor, Major Mark Baker.
The film, produced by England’s Ashes player James Anderson, tells the story of a group of Kenyan Maasai Warriors who adopt the game of cricket as a means of bringing about an end to the traditional Maasai practise of forced genital mutilation, as well as promoting AIDS awareness.
Major Baker became involved in the documentary whilst in Kenya in 2013 on a Joint Force Enabling Exercise with the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK). As one of their Community Engagement tasks his squadron, 70 Gurkha Field Squadron, The Queen’s Gurkha Engineers, constructed a cricket ground for the Maasai team on scrub land near the remote village of Il Polei.
"At the time I thought this was an excellent opportunity and I am eternally grateful to then Sergeant Sanjay Thapa, one of my reconnaissance sergeants, for identifying and resourcing this task. Taking it on was a leap of faith in the work of the Maasai team manager, Aliya Bauer, that the game of cricket could bring about significant cultural change, but I knew it had the potential to further BATUK's commitment to supporting local communities in Laikepia County.
“The task in its own right offered a superb opportunity to test the command, leadership and management skills of one of my Section Commanders, the technical and artisan skills of my Gurkha Engineers and the Squadron's logistic echelon to support a task in this austere and remote location.
“Two years on, to be invited by Barney Douglas, the film's director to the première in London was as much a surprise as it was a privilege; I don't believe any of us fully appreciated at the time how significant one new cricket pitch could be in bringing about a change in traditional practises and AIDS awareness.
“The quality of the cinematography is superb and a tribute to Barney and his team, and even my quip about the slope on our pitch and the slope at Lords received a humorous response from the première audience!"