With the introduction of taxation by the British colonists, it became essential for men to earn wages.
"Pax Brittanica" and land demarcation put an end to the acquisition of new land.
Before the families decided that education was essential, mothers who were not able to hire help kept some children at home to care for infants and toddlers during the hours that they worked in the fields and performed chores outside the homestead.
As in other societies in the Third World, children six through 10 were most frequently in charge of younger siblings.
When we began our study in 1968, most of the mothers in Ngeca thought that education was necessary for success in the new nation.
There had been a school in this Kenyan village I studied since 1928 but it was not until the 1940s that an appreciable number of children were enrolled.
Men were responsible for the supervision and care of all livestock.
In the years following British colonization the workload of Kikuyu women increased until it was one of the heaviest of all women in the Third World.
To add to the problems of the mothers, as the classrooms became crowded and the administration sought techniques for choosing between the applicants, they began to favor children who had attended nursery schools.
Mothers, eager that their children should have the best opportunities, responded by enrolling their five-year-olds.