Small Choices (by Melodee Bullock)

Small Choices (by Melodee Bullock)

Towards the end of my first experience in Kenya with 100 Humanitarians, I was taught a lesson I will never forget in a moment that might have seemed so small and insignificant to the outside observer, but it has pierced my heart.

We were at Joyce’s home installing a water tank and learning to make chapati. She lives on that Mara–a land dedicated to the Maasai culture. Joyce is the mother of Muneria (John)–one of our wonderful Maasai warrior guides and a true friend to all. We needed more water for the cement that the tank would sit on. To achieve this, we needed to walk down to the river to gather it. In their culture, this this women’s work. I believe that, in a “perfect” world, we all work together to get things done.

I asked Muneria if he was going to come help us and he told me “No, its not a mans work in our culture.”

He mentioned that they were trying to change Maasai culture. I responded by mentioning he could change it TODAY with a lot of love and a bit of sarcasm in my voice. With the same love and sarcasm, he told me back with maybe tomorrow.

I responded with, “Will you at least walk us down so we know where to go?” since we were a bunch of American women going for water.

He said that he would, and we walked down to the river. While we walked, we talked about our cultures, and I made sure that this wasn’t something he would get punished for doing because I didn’t want to push for change in an area that would cause damage. My only goal was and is to do good. I told him that, in my house, my husband and I share responsibilities. We definitely have our strengths and things that one of us is better at or more able to do, but if it needs to be done, we do it even if its not “our job”. I told him about how my wonderful husband stayed home with our children so that I could travel to Kenya following my heart.

We had a nice chat about it and went to the water. The kids that came with us helped us fill the water jugs. The women hiked back with the water jugs. Now, this was not a long walk, but a walk nonetheless. Water jugs are heavy! None of us were accustomed to this particular task, but we were all willing to give it a go to have an experience in the name of culture.

We all struggled just a bit figuring out the best way to carry the weight. Pretty soon, 3 young men ages 17-25 grabbed our water jugs from us and easily carried them back to the house. These men included two from our group and Muneria. In that moment I sobbed with emotion, much like right now as tears flow down my cheeks as I recall this moment.

Some might have just seen men helping out, but I saw CHANGE! I saw a small choice that at the same time was a choice that had a potential to change history–the start of a culture shift. Muneria chose TODAY to be an an example for the young boys watching. He chose TODAY to influence his culture for good.

I hope I never forget that lesson. That change for good and change for the future start TODAY with one small choice at a time.

 

Melodee Bullock is a supporter of love. Through her journey of healing from depression, anxiety, ptsd, low/no self esteem, trust issues, financial , and relationship things. She has learned the power of Love. She has since learned and created her Dream life through intimacy and abundance. She is a wife, mother, foot zone therapist, International Energy Mentor and Presenter. She runs and operates events, retreats, programs, and group and personal training. She has helped many people in their journey of overcoming and healing through many of the same struggles she went through but her passion lies in marriages. She has devoted her time and energy to creating powerful programs to support people in bettering their marriages and relationships so that they too can create their dream life through intimacy and abundance.

Maasai Warriors and Brushing Teeth

Maasai Warriors and Brushing Teeth

This is Frances. I think. To be honest, I can’t remember. It seems like there were two guys named Frances though, and I think he’s one of them. At least, that’s his anglicized name. I think …

ANYway … whatever his name is, this guy is awesome. He is a Maasai warrior. I met him on my first trip to Kenya with 100 Humanitarians. Once we got to the Maasai village that we visited, he took me out in the brush to show me how the Maasai people clean their teeth. Tooth brushes and toothpaste aren’t available anywhere within less than a few hours’ drive, so they do what they can. There’s a particular kind of tree from which they slice off a green twig with their razor-sharp machete, then they simply chew on it. They also kind of rub it around on the front surface of their teeth.

It isn’t terribly effective, but hey–it’s what they have to work with, so they make it work for them.

After that little demonstration, Frances showed me his machete. According to him, it was worth about $100 American dollars. I winced, but I really wanted one. In the end, he wanted me to buy the machete, his rungu (a dancing/battle stick… they’re awesome!), and a necklace for about $350. Now … I knew they weren’t worth that, but I didn’t know exactly what each was worth. I knew I couldn’t get all three at that cost. If I remember right, I ended up with the necklace for $45.

Funny story … my last name has become a verb for those who went on that trip and have gone on subsequent trips. If you got “McCabed,” you got ripped off. Hard. Like … laughably hard. I’m okay with that. It really is kind of funny.

Here’s the thing though: yah, I got taken. Is that Frances’ fault? No. Is it my fault? It certainly is, but in all honesty, I know what that money does for their tribe, their village, their families … and in that moment, I simply didn’t mind.

You have to remember that, in that area of the Mara, the villagers see “mzungus” literally every day. A mzungu is basically an outsider who’s easily duped. No, a simple soapstone carving of some elephant is not worth $50. It’s worth *maybe* $10 if it’s intricately painted.

I haven’t seen Frances in well over a year. I have a lot of love in my heart for him, his village, his family, his people … And I have his rungu tucked away in my box of Kenyan artifacts that I’ve picked up on my trips. When I pull out that stuff and look at it, I remember him. I remember Kenya. I remember the incredible experiences I had over there–the feelings of unfettered love for a people who I had never met, and knowing that that love was and is reciprocated on their end. In the interest of fairness, Frances’ job is to sell me stuff. He did that. The common villagers, though … their job is to simply *live*. Survive. When we come to their village and help them set up a garden box, or provide them a goat or cow, their joy and gratitude is ELECTRIC. I’ll talk about that in another blog post down the road.

I really miss Kenya. I can’t wait to get back over there and see my friends. I hope that you’ll come with me on one of our expeditions. I can tell you these stories and experiences all I want, and you can read them and think, “Oh. Well, that’s awesome!”, but I promise you … there is no way to adequately do justice to the experience using mere words. You *have* to be there. Literally.

Come play with us in Kenya. Join 100 Humanitarians. Change your life. Only then will any of this make sense in any kind of meaningful way. 🙂