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Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner

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A Gift From The Heart
by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner   

Last edited: Monday, June 10, 2002
Posted: Monday, June 10, 2002

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A touching tribute to the victims of 9-11, from an unlikely source...would I be this unselfish!!

I read, with interest, an article in the Dallas Morning News (June 3, 2002). It has touched me greatly, and I must share it with you.

It was reported that Kimeli Naiyomah, a Maasai, a pre-med student at Stanford University, recently returned to his village in southwestern Kenya for a visit. His village, Enoosaen, is a small one; it isn't too far from the border of Tanzania.

He told his fellow villagers what had happened in America on September 11, 2001. He should know...he was in New York the day of the attacks.

Most of the people of his village were not aware that a terrorist attack had taken place in America. A few had heard something about it on radio broadcasts, but they had no real idea of the magnitude of the disaster, unlike the rest of the world, who watched it unfold on live television (and then watched it over and over and over again). Most rural Kenyans do not have access to TV; they depend on oral traditions to learn the latest news.

Mr. Naiyomah told his fellow Maasai mates the horrors witnessed that day. He described high buildings reaching into the clouds. He told them that they were attacked by airplanes. He told them that the high buildings were on fire, filling the air with smoke and flames. He described people jumping from the high buildings and of them dying as they hit the ground. He told them that brave men went into the buildings to try to save people still inside when they fell, causing many of these brave men to lose their lives.

His tales moved these proud Maasai. They did not know...they were horrified and saddened by what they heard. They wanted to do something, to show that they cared.

They decided to give America a gift...a gift from the heart.

What they did touched me greatly, and still moves me when I think of it.

They were so touched by what happened in America, they blessed 14 head of cattle and decreed that they should be given to the American people.

To understand, let me tell you about the Maasai. They are a proud people, a warrior race. They are noted for bravery. They place great value on four things: a plot of land, many wives, children, and cattle.

To have a plot of land, many wives who will give them many children, is a wonderful thing to the Maasai. To have a large herd of cattle is even better. To have many cows is a sign that they are wealthy--the more cattle, the richer they are.

You see, Maasai are pastoralists; they raise cattle for a living. They believe that their God, Engai (sometimes spelled "Enkai") gave all cattle to the Maasai.

Cattle are central to the lives of the Maasai. Cattle provide the mainstay of their diet, milk (sometimes mixed with blood, called "asaroi," especially during ceremonies). They will eat meat, but normally under special circumstances. They use every part of the cow: the hide for clothing, bedding and decorations; urine for medicinal or cleansing purposes (seeing that it is considered sterile); the dung is even used to help build and repair their enkang (home). A man pays the father of a woman he's interested in marrying in cattle (bride price).

The Maasai, being a warrior race, also expressed interest in finding those that perpetrated the attack on America. They told Mr. Naiyomah that they could provide their expertise in tracking down the men responsible and killing them, just like they did lions in the bush. (In order to prove their bravery and to prove their manhood, Maasai boys used to hunt lions armed only with a spear and shield. This practice has since been outlawed.) They said that Maasai have secret ways of just using spears, bows and arrows to find their target.

Now, 14 head of cattle may not mean much to most Americans, but I for one am touched by their gesture...the Maasai are not a financially rich people, but they gave their best, which was all that they had. Considered "poor" by the majority of the world, they are rich in love for their fellow man...even for Americans, who are already deemed "rich."

May I be this unselfish.

God bless the Maasai. In Maa (their language), I wish to convey my greatest thanks for their gift from the heart, and ask God for us to help love each other as much as the Maasai love mankind.

I don't understand the reasons why
(I am wazungu* and you, Maasai)
Your gift to us brings tears to my eyes
Your kindness brings blessings from Engai

*wazungu: foreigner, white person

Reader Reviews for "A Gift From The Heart"

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Reviewed by Olita Williams 2/19/2008
This is truely wonderful. Thank you for explaining about the Masai so clearly. I would like to use this article and poem as a news item for our little church group if I may. Yours Lita
Reviewed by Joy Leftow 10/3/2007
Thank you for reviewing my poem. As I told your sis, no one bothers to come and read my stuff, but it's ok. I keep going.
Thanks and keep going too.
Love and blessings,
Reviewed by Myles Saulibio 7/16/2007
Hello Karla,
I thought I'd reciprocate and come over to visit and read your fantastic works. I just so happened to pick this one and it was very moving indeed. There are a lot of stories still to tell in this global war of terrorism. Suffice to say that the Maasai have a special place in their hearts for the human tragedy and the hope for peace in this world. Your works reaches over the divide that separates many but joins us all in common understanding and appreciation for each other.

Super thanks again---
Yours on computer Keyboard,

P.S. ---look for my special article on the "Bridge Over the River Kwai" Thailand----I just returned from there.

Next month I go to Dachau Concentration Camp in Germany---a reunion of sorts---I was last there over 27 years ago.
Reviewed by Stephanie Sawyer 9/12/2004
It is humbling to read of a gift of this magnitude. The giver's power surpasses great concrete wealth through the act of simplicityin core love and selflessness. For it is the spiritual love which will carry through to the generations beyond when all previous material gains have fallen.

Thank you for sharing this tribute.

Stephanie S. Sawyer
Reviewed by susie weiler (Reader) 12/4/2002
Wow! this story is incredible. I am deeply touched. It amazes me that the whole world took to heart this trajedy.God bless these people and their compassionate hearts. great!story Susie Weiler
Reviewed by Cami Rose 11/15/2002
Very well written! Thanks so much for sharing this.
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 6/10/2002
God bless the Maasai for their generosity! What a touching tribute...thanks for writing this, Karla! :) Everyone should know about this. You can thank the Maasai yourselves...just go to > < and follow the instructions given. Love, your Twin Sister.
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