Why I Wore a Dress For the First Time Since My Wedding Day: Meeting the Maasai

Margaret —  May 22, 2013 — 8 Comments

Why I Wore a Dress For the First Time Since My Wedding Day: Meeting the Maasai

I don’t know why I gave up wearing dresses, perhaps because I never wore many dresses growing up on a sailboat.

I like dresses. I just don’t buy them very often.

But I knew I needed something special to wear to meet my sponsored child, Nairesiae.

A week before we left for Africa, I found the perfect black dress and a red scarf.

It wasn’t until after we arrived that I discovered my sponsored child is Maasai. The color of the tribe is red.

Wonderstruck, indeed.

We drove more than two hours from Nairobi on pitted, punctured roads to the project. Singing and dancing awaited us.

Why I Wore a Dress For the First Time Since My Wedding Day: Meeting the Maasai

After a warm welcome by the Maasai children and staff, we toured the project. We saw the water supply they’d dug, the trees they planted, the kitchen where they fed the children, and learned of the 20-plus bee hives from which they’d just taken their first honey harvest to support their work. I even milked my first goat.

Why I Wore a Dress For the First Time Since My Wedding Day: Meeting the Maasai

Then we hopped in the Land Rover to visit our sponsored child’s home. (When I first sponsored Nairesiae, I nicknamed her “Little Flower” in my mind as a kind of prayer that she would blossom into the fullness of all God has for her.)

The deeply eroded road made us feel like we were riding horseback as we bounced to and fro. The road dwindled to a path before vanishing entirely. We continued driving through shrubs anyway until we reached a remote cow-dung hut.

My sponsored child and her family lived in a house of poop. [Tweet this]

Cow-dung houses are common among the Maasai, but many who have the means move to build with more modern materials. This hut was maybe 150 square feet. With little ventilation, the wood cooking area filled the home with barely breathable air, impacting the health of the lungs of the parents and their five children. Whenever it rained, the roof leaked and all its contents became covered in mud if not damaged.

Why I Wore a Dress For the First Time Since My Wedding Day: Meeting the Maasai

Now in the Maasai culture, wealth is measured in terms of wives, children, and cows. As a result, many who are not Christians practice polygamy. Male and female circumcision (also known as female genital mutilation) is considered a rite of passage to adulthood.

But the family of my sponsored child is Christian. One man married to one woman. And through Compassion, they are being encouraged to consider an alternative right of passage to adulthood that does not involve female genital mutilation.

As we greeted the family, I noticed mom was wrapped in fine Maasai attire, the dad had likely borrowed a suit. Little Flower wore the dress and jacket given to her by the Compassion project. We were all wearing our very best, something special, for this day.

Little Flower, whose eye was swollen from a bee sting, was shy until her mother took a Maasai cloth and wrapped it around me as a gift. As soon as she placed a beaded necklace on me, Little Flower ran up to be and began tugging on my cloth. I had been accepted.

Why I Wore a Dress For the First Time Since My Wedding Day: Meeting the Maasai

We gave the family a variety of gifts including sheets, towels, and toiletries as well as a soccer ball and set of jump ropes.

I asked the difference the Compassion project had made in their lives. They showed me the mosquito nets over their bed and the water purifying system that now allowed them to drink clean water.

 Why I Wore a Dress For the First Time Since My Wedding Day: Meeting the Maasai

Over the course of the afternoon, we played together, sat together, ate lunch together, and laughed together. I fell more in love with her with each passing moment.

Mid-way through the afternoon, I took my scarf and wrapped it around Little Flower’s neck. She smiled proudly and followed me around the project wherever I went. As we packed up to leave, she took the scarf off to hand it back to me.

“It’s a gift,” I said, knowing she wouldn’t understand a word.

I wrapped it back around her neck and her face became radiant with joy. So did mine.

As we visited another Maasai home, I was once again struck by the difference the Compassion project makes in the lives of these families. Just take a peek. The two children below are not in a program:

Why I Wore a Dress For the First Time Since My Wedding Day: Meeting the Maasai

The Maasai program we visited hosts 302 children, but 15 still need sponsors. I met one child, in particular, you must know about. Her name is Seleina. While she’s in the Compassion program, she’s still waiting for a sponsor. She’s the youngest of five and lives with her grandmother—who has no means of support except begging neighbors for food.

Why I Wore a Dress For the First Time Since My Wedding Day: Meeting the Maasai

Will you be Seleina’s sponsor?

She’s a friend of Little Flower, and at one point she asked if we were her sponsors. Sadly, we had to tell her “no.”

“But we’ll make sure you get one!” I promised.

Will you help me keep my promise? [Tweet this]

We asked Compassion to set up a page specifically for Seleina. If you click here and you see her picture, she is still waiting for you to sponsor her.

Will you be the one? If you're the one, will you email me? I have several pictures I want to send you. (info@margaretfeinberg.com)

If you don’t see her picture, there are still others from Kenya who are waiting on you to become their sponsor—some for more than 150 days.

**
It’s not too late to join the online #SummerBibleStudy at MargaretFeinberg.com through John and Genesis. Click here to learn more.

 

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8 responses to Why I Wore a Dress For the First Time Since My Wedding Day: Meeting the Maasai

  1. Margaret,

    Tears welled up as I read this! Reminded me much of my trips to Haiti!

    Love your heart for others – especially for the least of these.

    Blessings and prayers for you & Compassion. I’m getting excited for a couple of projects that my church has begun in Columbia to plant two churches & sponsor kids!!

    $40 a month = two meals out! How many meals out can we give up to ensure food and other provisions for those who live with nothing?

    Thanks for sharing your trip!

    • Donna, I am so thrilled this resonated with you and sparked memories of your time in Haiti. Praying that God continues to keep your heart open to Him.

      • I failed to tell you that I’m a single mom of six little girls in Haiti that I sponsor through The Global Orphan Project.

  2. OH, mercy, I love this! My husband was raised in Africa and Kenya is dear to our hearts. Steve can’t travel any longer, so I am sending him the link to your posts so he can experience it again from right here in Oregon. Thanks, friend, for taking us with you! (Praying right now for Seleina.)

  3. My wife and I also sponsor a Maasai child, ten-year old “Action” Jackson! We became his sponsors the day we met him on a visit to his village in northern Tanzania last year – quite a special day for all of us! Your photos bring back fond memories of the occasion. Asante for sharing, and asante sana for promoting Compassion sponsorship!

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