Day 3: Why I’m in Kenya

Today we traveled far outside the city limits to visit the Maasai people, a nomadic tribe indigenous to Kenya. More than three hundred women and children met us at the road and walked us into the Compassion project.

maasai

The Maasai tribe is known worldwide for maintaining their strict cultural and ritual traditions and resisting modern ways. For centuries, women, especially have suffered in their male dominated world. Polygamy is very common, with men having 3 or 4 wives and dozens of children.

woman

“Female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriages of 13-year-old girls to men decades older than them characterize the lives of 99 percent of Maasai girls. A gender-oppressive culture, few and understaffed education facilities, and long treks from home to school and back across the vast savanna plains full of wild animals are some of the challenges girls in my community endure to access education” a quote from one of the Maasai women who grew up as a sponsored Compassion child. (You can continue to read her amazing story and how Compassion saved her from this traditional life here).


The Maasai Compassion project we visited exuded joy. Sheer happiness. It is unbelievable how much Compassion has helped this tribe as a whole.

DSC_0099

Today, I saw hope.

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=9961844&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

I saw a classroom full of children, excited to learn about Jesus! They were knowledgeable, engaged, interested. Happy!

class

We were honored to serve 300 children lunch. It’s tradition to work for your food, so we served some of the children before we ate:


We traveled to the home of one of the Maasai women, ironically named Kristen
.

kristen

She is the third wife of a very old man. She has seven children, one of whom is registered in the program, but waiting to be sponsored.

Her only income to support her very large family is selling her beadwork. She sells a single beaded necklace for 100 shillings. That’s the price of a Coke.

I am wearing a bracelet she spent hours making while I’m typing this post.

jewelry

The tiny, dark kitchen where she prepares food for her family is the size of a closet:

kitchen
We brought several weeks worth of food as a thank you for letting us visit her home. (LV demonstrating how the natives carry food on their head).

I fell in love with the colorful Maasai people today. They shine Jesus.

I wasn’t invited to Kenya to blog Compassion’s relief efforts because I’m special or because my blog is a certain size.


I wasn’t asked to come along on this life-altering journey because I am a good writer or gifted in any way.

This isn’t about me.

I am in Africa because of you.

You are the reason I traveled 33 hours across the globe.

I am in Africa because of them.

baby

I left my home and family to tell their story.

I’m just the person in the middle. I’m the narrator of a God story. A conduit.

You have the hard job. You have to weigh my words, take courage and let them seep into your heart. You have to make a choice.

This is about this child needing a sponsor today, right now:

Proceed to our secure online form

This is about you.

Comments

  1. says

    Kristin –
    God really IS using you to reach others. Because of your blog I have been now reading the posts of all the people with you in Kenya and God has broken my heart.
    This morning my husband and I (and our children) chose to sponsor Fred, he is 6 years old, from a family of 7 children living in Kenya. He has been waiting for more than 6 months for a sponsor and I feel so grateful that God is going to let our family reach out. We get a chance to be a small part of something big that God is going to do in this little boys life.
    Thank you so much!
    Blessings on your journey.
    ~Deb

  2. says

    I could swim in that baby's eyes. What an amazing and life changing experience….for you, for them, and hopefully for many of us. Thank you.

  3. says

    Your blog posts are awesome…God's light is just shining through you in exactly the way you described in this post. You are serving the role you have been called to in a wonderful way, thank you.

  4. says

    The little boy in the video has the passion and expressions to be a preacher! I could see it in him! :) Thank you for your posts, they are beautiful!

  5. Mom says

    What a beautiful people. Through your blog and the wonderful pics, I feel as though I am with you today…. Kristen, Thank You for letting God speak through you so we will be touched down deep. Your heart felt words WILL make a difference. I love you so much. Mom

  6. says

    Awesome!! LOL @ Kristin.. my sister and I all have american names.. Becky, Barbara, Jane, etc. I am so proud to have met you and see all the work your are doing in my Continent.. Thank You.

  7. Matt says

    it's good to see what Compassion is doing in Kenya! I sponsor a child in Kenya and was fortunate to meet her twice, was great to see her in real life. However there is one disappointing thing written in this article, they mention female genital mutilation which the masaai practice, which is a very bad thing, but male genital mutilation was ignored. They are both equally wrong and both sexes should be offered equal rights and would encourage Compassion to do so.
    Keep up the good work!

  8. says

    Kristen, I have been sitting here scrolling through your recent posts while you are in Kenya, so thankful for your heart–for compassion–and for all you doing.

    God bless you and the many lives you touch on your journey.
    Ginger

  9. says

    Hello Kristen,

    Could you tell us more about how Compassion helps or respects the thin line between helping the Masai (according to what we feel is more acceptable / reasonable) and honouring their culture?

    For instance, I find female and male ritual circumcision cruel and rather horrendous, but I imagine that it is very important in their culture as rites of passage, signs that they belong to their tribe.

    From what you've seen, what is Compassion's stance on that?

  10. says

    Hi Iva,
    I wish I could tell you more. Please read the story from the Maasai woman. I do know that Compassion teaches the children/families a different way, a better way. There are also advocates in the world against this kind of practice. So, basically, they educate them.

    I also know that most Massai who become Christian DO NOT practice polygamy or this practice. There were actually two men who introduced themselves by their name and said I'm the Husband of one wife.

    Of course women and men who practice these traditions and then get saved are not persecuted or condemned for their cultural ways.

    I hope that helps. I have a limited understanding, but I'm learning. Also, please feel free to contact Compassion directly. They are very open and are happy to answer ALL questions.

  11. says

    wow1 I just realized that you are in Kenya with the same Compassion group as The Pioneer Woman's friend Pastor Ryan from Ohio. She linked to his blog and you have a picture of him on your blog–small world:)–even half way around the world.

    Thanks for the great posts and God bless you.

    Linda C

  12. says

    Hello, I found your blog via someone elses…anyhow, I have ALWAYS wanted to sponsor a child..since I was little and I came across your blog and your sidebar of Compassions-I clicked on it and signed up! Thank you so much for your care and blog! I can't wait to read all about it! Thank you so much-for doing ALL that you are doing…

  13. says

    i dont know how african women do it, there's no way I could walk with that bag on my head, let alone simply stand there without it falling off! Kristen, I love reading your posts…thinking about just linking to your blog for my posts on the Catalyst page :) great to be with you on this trip! let's go to church!

  14. T.W. says

    He Said,

    I see in the eyes of my beautiful wife the love of Christ. The same love she extended to me when I needed forgiveness of dirty sin.

    I see in the eyes of Kenya's children hope. Hope because you, beautiful readers of We are THAT family, coming alongside to sponsor children and pray.

    I see in Christ, the hope of glory, children that I, small insignificant me, will one day sing HIS praises with in heaven.

    In the words of an old song, "This world is not our home. We are merely passing through. Our treasures are laid somewhere beyond the blue."

    Jesus said, "For where your treasure is, there you are heart will be also."

    Join Kristen and I and invest in a heavenly IRA by sponsoring one or two of these precious children.

    Will another new dress or golf club make you happy? No. Sponsoring a child will make an eternal difference.

    With love,
    Terrell Welch

  15. says

    Oh Kristen, my heart goes out to your heart. You ARE gifted. It wasn't an accident you were chosen, and I bet the results of your efforts will exceed far beyond your imagination, maybe something you'll never even know, but it's going on in the hearts of those who read your words and the lives you're touching on that trip this very moment.

    Much love to you!

    Steph

  16. Sherri M says

    Just found your blog today. Beautiful! I am a single mom of 6 and we sponsored our first 4 children about 4 yrs ago. We now sponsor 9 and hope one day to visit them too. What an experience you must be having! Sherri

  17. says

    My family and I just started sponsoring 2 children a little over a month ago.

    Not sure where exactly you guys will be going in Kenya but one of our sponsored children is at the African Inland Church–Ikanga Child Development Center. If you happen to go there and think of it, please find Mercy Njeri Kenneth, give her a huge hug and tell her that her sponsor family loves and prays for her every single day.

    God bless you guys on your trip and have a safe return home.
    Kristin

  18. says

    Your post is heartbreaking and inspiring. I am a teacher in AL and my class studies and learns about Kenya every year! We also have a 20 minute presentation on Kenya that we present for the school. I would love to hear more about your trip and any additional information you would be willing to share with me and my curious 1st grade students!

  19. says

    Thank you for sharing this amazing experience. Thank you for sharing your love, His love through you.

    I have a beloved friend working in Tanzania. It is so easy to glorify her work in my head, but my heart reminds me that it is not an easy calling. She longs to love the Maasai women, but they are often hidden in their tents. May God give strength to the weary and send laborers to hold up the arms of his beloved.

  20. says

    This is awesome works of charity,you are a true missionary,thanks for stepping out of your comfort zone to reach out the needy in Africa,may the Lord bless your ministry and family.

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