Blossoms of the Savannah

Blossoms of the Savannah Summary and Analysis of Chapters 14-19


Ole Kaelo tells Resian that she must prepare lunch for Oloisudori. When he arrives, he tells Resian that she is to be his bride and that she must be circumcised. Resian runs to her father’s store and tells him that she does not want to marry Oloisudori and that she wants to attend Egerton University. Ole Kaelo slaps Resian, who runs to a nearby river where she is found by Olarinkoi. He promises her that he can save her from the situation and take her to the sheep farm run by Minik, an opponent of FGM who takes in girls in her situation.

Resian agrees and Olarinkoi arranges for a car that takes her to a small abandoned shack in a remote location. Olarinkoi and Resian arrive at the shack and he tells her to prepare dinner and leaves her alone. When Olarinkoi returns he is drunk and tries to rape Resian, but she bites his finger and nearly cuts it off. Olarinkoi beats Resian within an inch of her life.

When Resian wakes up, she is greeted by an enkabaani (medicine woman) named Nabaru who nurses Resian back to health over a period of three weeks. She also meets an old one-eyed fortune-teller who she learns is the mother of Olarinkoi. The old woman tells Resian that she had a premonition and that Resian is meant to be circumcised and marry her son.

Resian tells Nabaru everything that has happened to her since moving to Nasila and pleads with her for help. Nabaru promises that she will do everything she can to help Resian escape Olarinkoi. In the middle of the night Resian is awakened by Nabaru who tells her that she has to leave immediately. Resian and Nabaru are chased by Olarinkoi but are able to get into a truck and lock the doors just in time. After a long journey, the two arrive at a lush green farm, where they are introduced to Minik, a sheep farmer and staunch opponent of FGM.

Minik agrees to let Resian stay at the farm and tells her that she will get a scholarship so that Resian can attend university at Egerton. Minik tells Resian that there is a girl being rescued from Nasila who was being forced into a marriage and circumcision. When the rescue team returns to the farm, Resian discovers that the girl being rescued is Taiyo.

Minik also tells Resian that during the rescue mission Joseph Parmuat was killed for helping Taiyo escape. Unfortunately, the team arrived too late for Taiyo to be saved from circumcision, but they are able to prevent her marriage to Oloisudori. A caravan of vehicles arrives at the farm and Oloisudori and his bodyguards approach Minik and Resian. Oloisudori demands that Minik give him one of the girls, but hundreds of farmworkers join together to fight off the men.


The final section of the novel is ripe with tragedy, but Blossoms of the Savannah is also the story of strong heroines: Resian, Nabaru, Minik. These women risk everything by opposing the patriarchal authority of the Maa people. In Nasila, women are expected to take a husband with several wives, to become homemakers rather than attend university, and to submit to genital mutilation. Yet despite all the obstacles before them, these women choose to act heroically.

Resian acts courageously when she confronts Kaelo and tells him that she doesn’t want to marry Oloisudori. When Ole Kaelo slaps his daughter and commits her to marry a man four times her age, he betrays her trust and his parental duty to protect his child from harm. Nevertheless, Resian risks everything to escape Nasila in the hopes of being able to pursue the freedoms enjoyed by her parents.

Nabaru, the elderly medicine woman, risks her life to stop Olarinkoi from marrying Resian. After helping Resian escape in the middle of the night, she narrowly escapes from Olarinkoi. Minik creates a farm for runaway girls, like Resian and Taiyo, and protects them from Oloisudori and his thugs. She also provides them with the opportunity to attend Egerton University.

If Resian, Nabaru, and Minik are the heroines of Blossoms of the Savannah, Olarinkoi is a false hero. After saving Resian and Taiyo from their attackers, Olarinkoi tells Resian that he will help her escape from Nasila and find the farm for runaways operated by Minik. Then he kidnaps and attempts to sexually assault her.

The book concludes on an optimistic note, with both Resian and Taiyo preparing to attend Egerton University. Although Taiyo is circumcised against her will, both girls pursue their dream of attending school and are able to escape arranged marriages. Their new life comes at a high cost, namely the life of Joseph Parmuat. Resian and Taiyo are forced to choose between education, love, and the life chosen for them by their family and Nasila culture.