Maassi Land KE823
This was our first full day in Kenya as a team of about thirty sponsors and Advocates from all over the United States. I was the only one representing Maryland. We filled six vans after being briefed on our upcoming day with the Maassi. This was to be the first time that a Compassion sponsor team was welcomed into their community and we were enlightened on how to greet men (depending on your age and their age), women (clasp their hand) and children (place your hand on top of their head).
As our caravan pulled into our destination, we were welcomed by a throng of singing, chanting Maassi women with babies strapped to their backs and some men as well. See the video here.
Stepping out onto the dry, dusty soil, my gaze went immediately to one solitary child standing off to the side. She was wearing a purple school uniform and as I explained in a previous post, the sight of her nearly stopped my heart, as she was the poster child of my heart's desire and God's "yes" on the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. I was so grateful and honored and blessed to just stand there and take it all in. I think I could have stood there transfixed all day long.
Their clothes and beaded jewelery were stunning, especially against the backdrop of the desolate land we were surrounded by. I was told that the Maassi had cut and burned all of the trees in the area for cooking fuel, but that Compassion had organized the planting of over 200 trees to replenish the area with shade and beauty.
It was incredibly hot there and rain is a rare occurrence for these people. The women walk nine miles one way every day for a container of water for their daily needs. The wind was kicking up clouds of dust and my teeth were grinding sand for a few days afterward.
They also posed with great pride amongst the small herd of goats they owned. For the Maassi, owning goats gives them status and standing among their people. All of the goats were bought with money sent by their daughter's sponsor and they were very grateful indeed. When you sponsor a child through Compassion, your 38 dollars a month supports the child AND their entire family in many ways. You also have the option to send extra financial gifts through Compassion and 100 percent of these gifts go directly to the family to use towards their most pressing needs.
When we returned to the project, the women and children performed some amazing traditional dances and songs for us. The women were clearly worshiping God and the children had no fear and were not self-conscious at all. Even with this huge group of white Americans watching them. See the video here
I will leave you with a few more snapshots of my memorable first day in Kenya.
I know Tampet and her family will be so excited and encouraged to receive this good news. She is a beauty, don't you think?