Kindness and cows

Here in Kenya, and especially amongst certain people groups, cows are highly valued and sometimes have even proved to be a currency of kindness. We have become completely used to the fact that there are cows grazing by the side of many main thoroughfares and we are now quite adept at swerving to avoid them when they suddenly decide to cross the road to find greener pasture or return home for milking.
Traditionally, cows are a measure of wealth and the currency of marriage negotiations not to mention the source of the creamy, rich milk used to make delicious Kenyan chai. Chai is also a currency of kindness. Whenever we visit a home, from the humblest to the highest, we are offered chai, often at great cost to the family.
Without a doubt and despite the speed of cultural change here cows are still treasured and even coveted by those who cannot own them.
One of the most famous moments of kindness and cows occurred after the ghastly events of 9/11. The Maasai, for whom cows are not only a central feature of life but also sacred, were horrified about what they were told had happened in New York and responded as they thought best by presenting the US embassy with a gift of several cows as an expression of their solidarity with the American people.
Kerio 11All of this has made us look at cows in a new way and they have certainly provided us with a window on several worlds here in the North Rift.


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