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Maasai Tribe s-Ultimate Gift 15 Cows Were Offered to Help Heal Sept. 11 Suffering
ABCnews.com ^ | 06/03/02 | David Mwangi

Posted on 06/03/2002 2:55:42 PM PDT by gubamyster

By David Mwangi

E N O O S A E N, Kenya, June 3 — Arrayed in red robes and bead jewelry, impoverished Kenyan Maasai tribespeople gave a U.S. official their most precious possession — cattle — to show sympathy for the bereaved of Sept. 11.

"To the people of America, we give these cows to help you," read banners held by some among hundreds of Maasai villagers who watched their elders present 15 cattle to a U.S. diplomat Sunday in this huddle of thatch-roofed mud huts near the Tanzanian border. The ceremonial transfer of the cattle to acting U.S. ambassador William Brencick was arranged by Enoosaen-born Kimeli Naiyomah, a Kenyan student in the United States who was on a visit to New York on the day of the attacks.

Like other Massai, the inhabitants of the isolated village, which has no electricity, telephones or paved roads, rely totally on their cattle for their diet of blood, meat and milk.

"This is the ultimate gift a Maasai can give," Naiyomah told Reuters.

He said his tribespeople had been moved to hear his account of the day more than 3,000 people were killed in attacks by hijackers of four passenger airplanes in New York, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon outside Washington.

U.S. officials blamed the attacks on the Muslim extremist al Qaeda group of Saudi-born dissident Osama bin Laden.

One of Kenya's smallest and most culturally traditional tribes, the pastoralist Maasai normally consider that any work other than herding cattle is beneath a man's dignity and a man must be able to fight off predators like lions and leopards.

But the inhabitants of this Rift Valley settlement banded together five years ago to send Naiyomah to the United States to go to the University of Oregon. Now a medical student at Stanford University, he has gained other sponsors.

Warrior in Kenya

"I am used to responding to emergencies as a warrior back home [in Kenya]," Naiyomah said. "When there is a tragedy and there is a warcry, people expect that a warrior responds. Being in New York, I could not respond and I felt a little uneasy having done nothing, so I carried this pain in my heart and I wanted to do something.

"I felt that I wasn't just a foreign student. I was part of the people. It felt like home had been attacked."

"I knew my people, I knew they are merciful — they can be fierce and deadly when provoked — but they are also the type of people who can easily cry for the pain of other people," he said.

Brencick said the embassy would find it difficult to ship the cattle to the United States and had decided to sell the animals to raise funds to buy beadwork made in the village for display at a Sept. 11 memorial in New York.

"The world has not been divided by this tragedy," Brencick said in a speech, recalling that Kenyans had suffered the bulk of the fatalities in the 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Nairobi.

"Kenyans too have suffered this kind of terror and loss; the same people who committed these crimes were the same group that killed and wounded thousands of Kenyans in the [Kenya] bombing."

Cows Equal Cash

Members of al Qaeda were convicted in the United States of the August 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people, including 12 Americans.

Brencick added: "In the United States, many cows are raised and highly valued. But I know that for the Maasai people the cow is valued above all possessions and that the gift of a cow is the highest expression of regard and sympathy."

"They say Americans are wealthy and indeed we are in many ways. But when we count the value of these cows, and when we add the value of the great spirits that gave them, we can say without doubt that you seem richer still," he added.

Copyright 2002 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: cows
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Maybe they could send these cows to Sacramento. I hear there are a few cow bells going unused today.
1 posted on 06/03/2002 2:55:42 PM PDT by gubamyster
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To: gubamyster
They meant well, and that's more than you can say for a lot of folks out there.
2 posted on 06/03/2002 2:56:17 PM PDT by Poohbah
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To: gubamyster
So much for the argument that poverty causes terrorism
3 posted on 06/03/2002 2:57:59 PM PDT by aynrandfreak
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To: gubamyster
A moving gesture. The excerpts make it appear that the US diplomate receiving did a good job of conveying our gratitude.
4 posted on 06/03/2002 2:58:18 PM PDT by spqrzilla9
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To: spqrzilla9
A moving gesture

More like a moooooooving gesture.

5 posted on 06/03/2002 3:00:15 PM PDT by gubamyster
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To: Poohbah
They meant well, and that's more than you can say for a lot of folks out there.

Damn straight. Fifteen cows is more than France offered in assistance.

6 posted on 06/03/2002 3:02:21 PM PDT by martin_fierro
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To: gubamyster
This is pretty touching and heart-warming. Thanks for the post.
7 posted on 06/03/2002 3:02:48 PM PDT by keri
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To: gubamyster
This is, I think, the single offer of assistance received from ANY country for 9-11. Sure lots of other countries said, "Sorry to hear you got blow'd up"...but did they send search crews, dogs, trucks, money?

It just shows how wonderful people can really be, no matter the differences....

GRRRRRRRRollin'

8 posted on 06/03/2002 3:04:58 PM PDT by GRRRRR
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To: gubamyster
That's udderly touching!
9 posted on 06/03/2002 3:06:19 PM PDT by geaux
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To: gubamyster
impoverished Kenyan Maasai tribespeople gave a U.S. official their most precious possession

Kenya seems to be one of the more "together" nations in Africa. I'll have to read up on them some more. I had mostly given up any hope for that continent. AIDs and *ssholes seemed to dominate it judging by recent events.

So nice to hear of this kind act of generousity from the Maasai. My sincere thanks goes out to them.

10 posted on 06/03/2002 3:08:17 PM PDT by Caipirabob
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To: GRRRRR
Israel offered.
11 posted on 06/03/2002 3:09:35 PM PDT by monkeywrench
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To: keri
It's very touching. Cows have more than monetary value to the Masai. Thanks for this post. The gift of one cow would have been symbolic. They also wished to do some good with this many cows - maybe so we would be able to improve or increase our "herd" and thereby ease our loss.
12 posted on 06/03/2002 3:10:24 PM PDT by Let's Roll
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To: gubamyster
I know of the Maasai, and this is an extraordinary gift.
13 posted on 06/03/2002 3:13:15 PM PDT by humblegunner
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To: gubamyster

Maasai elders presented 15 cattle to United States acting ambassador to Kenya William Brenchick, right. The gift was presented at Enoosaen, Kenya, on June 2, 2002. (U.S. Embassy/Reuters)

14 posted on 06/03/2002 3:16:30 PM PDT by knighthawk
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To: Poohbah
Agreed. This was a touching gift. This tribe has very little in the materialistic sense.


15 posted on 06/03/2002 3:16:33 PM PDT by Senator Pardek
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To: humblegunner
I'd like to see some of the maasai join our special forces. Imagine them hunting the al-quada with 14 foot long spears...
16 posted on 06/03/2002 3:17:41 PM PDT by The Vast Right Wing
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To: gubamyster
Wow. Of all the societies in the world, one of the poorest reach out to help and show sincere condolences.
I will not forget their kindness.
17 posted on 06/03/2002 3:18:29 PM PDT by A Navy Vet
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To: gubamyster
Thats really great. These people who don't have much, give us their most precious possessions, their cattle. Many thanks to the Maasai tribe.
18 posted on 06/03/2002 3:19:11 PM PDT by Walkin Man
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To: Senator Pardek
I agree. I found this email addy to thank him.go hereHis name is about the 16th down. If it's him.
19 posted on 06/03/2002 3:19:30 PM PDT by monkeywrench
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To: gubamyster
Interesting. Especially when one considers that those 15 cows represented a substantial amount to the Masai.

Now I wonder...did Saudi Arabia offer anything? I certainly can't recall it...though I do seem to remember an offer that was withdrawn when the mayor didn't bend the knee to Saudi sensibilities.

One starts to see who one's friends are. And who one's enemies are.

20 posted on 06/03/2002 3:19:44 PM PDT by neutrino
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21 posted on 06/03/2002 3:28:03 PM PDT by BraveMan
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To: GRRRRR
This is, I think, the single offer of assistance received from ANY country for 9-11. Sure lots of other countries said, "Sorry to hear you got blow'd up"...but did they send search crews, dogs, trucks, money? It just shows how wonderful people can really be, no matter the differences....

I think Canada sent crews, but our countries are siblings.

22 posted on 06/03/2002 3:29:13 PM PDT by Gladwin
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To: The Vast Right Wing
These guys are no wimps for sure.. the Kenyan government
had to ban them from the tradition of sending each 14 year old
boy out to prove his manhood by killing a lion with a spear.
The Maasai were miffed.. especially the boys.
23 posted on 06/03/2002 3:29:15 PM PDT by humblegunner
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To: neutrino
No, the Saudis are on TV raising money in a telethon for the terrorists to carry on their plans.

I get angry when I see Americans disrespecting gifts from a people who give not from their wealth, but from their poverty.

It just reinforces my belief that we encounter these tragedies because of our own ingratitude.

These people have done nothing but try to help the United States.

Shame on you, gubamyster, for posting a story in an effort to generate ridicule.

Whatever your beliefs about race and culture, your attidude is unamerican and disgraceful.

24 posted on 06/03/2002 3:30:18 PM PDT by glorygirl
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To: gubamyster; Rommel2; Terriergal; Right Wing Professor
Arrayed in red robes and bead jewelry, impoverished Kenyan Maasai tribespeople gave a U.S. official their most precious possession — cattle — to show sympathy for the bereaved of Sept. 11. "To the people of America, we give these cows to help you."

Sure hope we ate them!

25 posted on 06/03/2002 3:34:38 PM PDT by Lazamataz
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To: humblegunner
Good people,and tough people. My regards to them,and a hope that their herds multiply.
26 posted on 06/03/2002 3:39:35 PM PDT by sawsalimb
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To: humblegunner
What a heart warming gesture! Friends like these should be cultivated, in any way we can.

Whatever their culture did to make them this generous, and to raise warriors at 14 to kill lions with a spear, needs to be infused into us.

What a great and noble people!

27 posted on 06/03/2002 3:45:39 PM PDT by MonroeDNA
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To: Gladwin
You are correct about Canada. The US US has a special relationship with a few countries, most of which are the white countries of the British Commonwealth. We are tied by blood, culture, history, and commerce in a way that no other country can be. The closest would be Israel, where blood donation began within an hour of the attack.

The NATO countries of mainland Europe all sent condolences and many helped in the war, but their responses were more constrained.

28 posted on 06/03/2002 3:46:28 PM PDT by rmlew
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To: gubamyster
This is such a touching gesture from the Maasi. Can we adopt them or something?
29 posted on 06/03/2002 3:48:14 PM PDT by xrp
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To: Lazamataz
If we did, the Masai would be cheering us on.

"Vegan" is from the Swahili and Lakotan word for "lousy hunter."

30 posted on 06/03/2002 3:53:09 PM PDT by Poohbah
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To: monkeywrench
Email of thanks winging its way as we speak.
31 posted on 06/03/2002 3:54:20 PM PDT by Tymesup
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To: glorygirl
Shame on you, gubamyster, for posting a story in an effort to generate ridicule.

I really doubt if you can read my mind and tell what my intent was. If so, maybe you should count ballots in FL next election. I wouldn't have posted it if I didn't think the article was worthy.

32 posted on 06/03/2002 3:55:01 PM PDT by gubamyster
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To: xrp
Can we adopt them or something?

Maybe we should see if they'll adopt some of our kids. I'd like to see our public schools instill the values these people have.

33 posted on 06/03/2002 3:57:01 PM PDT by reformed_democrat
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To: gubamyster
Maybe they could send these cows to Sacramento. I hear there are a few cow bells going unused today.

And it is good, I say to you my brother. It is good.

34 posted on 06/03/2002 3:57:40 PM PDT by truth_seeker
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To: Tymesup
Good for you. I hope more do this, also, and that he makes sure he relays our appreciation.

This sure beats the 'whine' France gave us. :)

35 posted on 06/03/2002 4:00:51 PM PDT by monkeywrench
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To: monkeywrench
I was struck by the spiritual nature of this gift. The US has no need for 14 cows. But, we will sell the cows and use the money to buy Maasai beaded jewelry to give to the 9/11 victims' families. In essence, we've acknowledged the gift and given it back to them in a way that will help them.

How often do we bring our puny gifts to the Lord -- gifts from a heart overflowing with gratitude. God has no "need" for our gifts, but the gesture touches Him in such a way that we receive it back "pressed down and overflowing".

I'm touched by their gift, and I hope the US will be generous with them.

36 posted on 06/03/2002 4:06:54 PM PDT by duckbutt
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To: gubamyster
BTTT
37 posted on 06/03/2002 4:08:54 PM PDT by kattracks
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To: duckbutt
Well said! The thought of our puny gifts to God, (or to our parents when we were real small) crossed my mind, also. E mail this guy!
38 posted on 06/03/2002 4:10:10 PM PDT by monkeywrench
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To: gubamyster
I hope we can repay the Maasai their kindness someday.

This is a most generous and heartfelt gift. Very moving.

39 posted on 06/03/2002 4:12:11 PM PDT by cicero's_son
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To: duckbutt
I saw the same story on the news, what a touching gesture on both countries parts-the Maasai for the gift and the American ambassador selling the cows to a local for traditional beads for ceremonies because it would cost too much to ship them elsewhere.

I hope Rudy or Bloomberg hears of the story.

40 posted on 06/03/2002 4:13:41 PM PDT by codebreaker
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To: duckbutt
The US is using the money from the regional sale of the cows to the needy and then taking that money and buying beads from local merchants of Massai to repay the economy for the gift for New York.
41 posted on 06/03/2002 4:15:22 PM PDT by codebreaker
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To: neutrino
Now I wonder...did Saudi Arabia offer anything?

$10,000,000 to NYC...and after making claims that the United States was partly at blame...Rudy told them to shove it...

42 posted on 06/03/2002 4:20:12 PM PDT by in the Arena
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To: in the Arena
Rudy=Rudi...
43 posted on 06/03/2002 4:22:23 PM PDT by in the Arena
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To: codebreaker
buy beadwork made in the village

Maybe somebody can put up a webpage where Americans could buy those beads.
I bet they'd be able to sell all they could produce.

44 posted on 06/03/2002 4:22:54 PM PDT by eddie willers
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To: monkeywrench
It's gotta be him - thanks!
45 posted on 06/03/2002 4:27:04 PM PDT by Senator Pardek
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To: Senator Pardek
Bttt!
46 posted on 06/03/2002 4:28:36 PM PDT by monkeywrench
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To: Senator Pardek
"Agreed. This was a touching gift. This tribe has very little in the materialistic sense."

Very little in the materialistic sense, but much, much more in the spiritual sense. In that sense, the Maasai are far richer today than before their generous gift to America and Americans.

47 posted on 06/03/2002 4:34:10 PM PDT by Thumper1960
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To: monkeywrench
Done. I like these people.
48 posted on 06/03/2002 4:34:44 PM PDT by pa_dweller
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To: pa_dweller
Bttt! Me too!
49 posted on 06/03/2002 4:36:02 PM PDT by monkeywrench
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To: monkeywrench
A heartfelt thanks and conveyance of respect sent to this exceptional young man. I hope he relays the sentiments, as requested.
50 posted on 06/03/2002 4:45:01 PM PDT by Thumper1960
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