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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Guest Blogger: Himself - “A Woman Named Grace”

Please enjoy this story my husband wrote about a happening during our trip to Kenya.


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Sometimes things happen that you can’t anticipate. This happened to Teri and me at a most unusual time—when we were broke down alongside a road. Actually, we weren’t even on a road; we were in the middle of nowhere in some semi-desert scrubland in the Rift Valley in Kenya on our way to see a Maasai child we sponsored thru Compassion International.



In the more remote places in Kenya, you don’t drive on a road—you just drive. And it usually isn’t you driving. You are driven by a Kenyan assigned to a vehicle who seems to know where he is going, at least in theory. Good thing he knew--I swear we passed the same anthill and wildebeest herd a dozen times! Driving along the bumpiest terrain I have ever been jostled along, we rode along in our Land Rover hanging on tight.


Too dry for mosquitoes, the land was prime for dust. No matter how clean you started out, you arrived at your destination dusty. Not that ‘your’ family would notice—they live literally...in the sticks. Their African huts were made of sticks, grasses, ashes and cow dung. (In some of the drier areas, you can’t even get mud...hence, sticky cow dung which helps hold things together.)


Moses
Besides our driver, we had a Compassion representative named Jim, and an older man named Moses who had been our driver to see another Maasai child from another organization. Though a native Kenyan, Moses was a city boy who had never been ‘out there’ seeing such stuff. He indicated he wanted to go—stating that ‘it was like being on vacation’ being out in the wilds at the bottom of the Rift Valley. All we had been requested to do was to pay his employer Moses’ daily wage of $7. We did.



Somewhere along all this we broke down. Great... Don’t recall just what went wrong but soon there were Kenyan butts sticking out from under the vehicle. All of them saying the Swahili word for, “Hmmm...” Not a good sign. Teri and I? We found us an acacia tree to sit under to get out of the sun. Once cooled off we would walk around looking at exotic rocks, plants, and things that slithered. Off in the distance we saw a small family settlement called a ‘boma’--an enclosed camp of Maasai natives and their animals—(Maasai families slept with some of their animals right in their hut.) From this boma we would occasionally see wide-eyed curious kids—but they mainly stayed hidden and would not come near us.



Running out of things to look at I fished out the soccer ball that we were to give our Maasai child, ‘Ntikoisa’. Compassion rep Jim was all for booting it around with me because one, soccer is a bigtime sport for these people, and two, he was as bored as I. A city boy also, he left fixing the vehicle to Moses and the driver, who were still going, “Hmmm...” Teri? She watched Jim and me for a moment...then her eyebrows started going up--which is ‘hmmm...’ for her. Why? Because nearly every bush on the ground had thorns. Informed by Teri that, ‘if ONE thorn punctures this brand new soccer ball, an American AND a Kenyan would be in trouble’; Jim looked between Teri and me. Recognizing the universal sign of ‘woman-with-hands-on-hips’ as trouble already arrived, the soccer ball was soon put up!

After awhile Teri noticed a Maasai woman who was slowly approaching our broken down Rover. She had being walking ‘back and forth’ for some time, finally stopping a good distance away—watching us intently. Teri had watched her just as intently. Then Teri waved. That was all it took and soon she and her infant son were over to visit. A short time earlier help had arrived from the nearest village and with the help also came the headmaster of the Compassion center. He soon found himself translating as these two woman from two different worlds...shared.

This Maasai lady explained that she had seen our crippled Land Rover and had felt helpless to do anything that could assist us. Initially seeing only men from the distance she was afraid to come closer. She then explained that she did the only thing she could—she prayed for us. However, when she saw Teri wave and realized there was a woman with the group, it was then alright for her to come over. Their talk continued on to families, children (including the baby she had strapped to her side), goats and husbands.


Too soon the village mechanic had the Rover fixed and it was time to move on. But before we left, this woman removed a beautiful beaded bracelet from her arm and, catching Teri by the hand, slipped it onto Teri’s arm with the words “remember me”. With the same words in return, Teri removed the bracelet she had put on that morning and gave it to her.

As the Rover chugged back to life, Teri quickly gave her an additional present for her husband... a red baseball cap. It was something he would proudly wear because he had been honored. As we drove off, this Maasai lady full of grace waved good-bye.


This woman’s name? Grace. A woman named Grace. Fitting.

3 comments:

  1. Aw... that's beautiful. How lucky you are to have had such adventures. My mother was born and raised in Africa, and I have always wanted to visit there. I love reading stories from people who have spent time there.

    What a lovely story...!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you Teri's husband for that beautiful story. You two are so blessed to have such wonderful adventures together. I enjoyed reading this very much and enjoyed seeing the images that helped bring it all together in my mind too. ~Lili

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jo - we were blessed many times on our trip. Macharia (our guide) kept saying, "This is so unusual. This just doesn't happen!"

    Lili - we have indeed been blessed. Neither one of us is one for doing the ordinary and the overgrown road is always most appealing.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for coming walkabout with me! I enjoy comments and will try to answer questions quickly if I have a way to reply to you. Sorry I have had to put the word verification back on... the spam jerks (especially the Serbian ones... yeh, I check your addys) have been overloading me lately.

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