I’m in Africa this week. Kenya to be precise.
I’m here because there’s an amazing story that needs to be told and a magazine I love has asked me to come here, hear it and then share it with you in a future issue. I’m excited about this because the story is an incredibly uplifting one and the world could use more of that.
I’m telling you this now so that you understand why I am not telling you the whole incredible sequence of my last few days here right now and why when I can, it will be worth the wait.
But I couldn’t not tell you anything. And so as I piece the story together I will be sharing a few snippets of moments that also took my breath away.
This first one is a bit of video from a wedding ceremony I happened across on route to an interview in the Mara. A Masai girl is about to get married. I’m told she’s 20. She looks younger. Hers was an arranged marriage. Her father will receive cows, a valuable currency in the Mara, in exchange for his daughter. She’s leaving her family today (mother, father, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles…) and she won’t see them again for at least 6 months while she moves in with the husband she met a few moments before and settles into her new home. The baby on her back is hers from a previous relationship. It’s seen as valuable. Perhaps more cows for her stepfather when she’s older. In this situationbride is allowed to take him with her. Sometimes that’s not the case.
The bride is crying in her mother’s home as the women prepare her elaborate wedding attire and elders bless her but, as you’ll see, once she emerges her tears are gone and her face is stone cold as she makes her way to the waiting truck. Her walk looks more like a death march, than what I’m used to at a wedding.
A local woman explains that it is normal here for brides to be sad on their wedding day. “Don’t women cry on their wedding day in Canada?” she asks. “We do”, says one of the ladies with me, “but usually it’s out of joy.”