Last year Beckons donated clothing to the Samburu People of Northern Kenya by way of Vital Yoga of Denver. They are a colorful group of nomadic people. Here is a piece written by Micah Springer, who hand-carried our boxes of clothes to Africa, about distributing the clothing to the people. This is beautiful and we are touched to have been a part of it. If you want to know more of the back story, read our previous blog.
Lepakiyo, the leader of this tribe of Samburu People, is masterful at requiring the villagers to gather in a line. To you and me this is a simple formation because we were taught early, as children. Nomadic people are anything but linear. They don't stand in lines, speak in lines, think in linear fashion. The creativity we recognize in their character is a direct tribute to this fact. However, when being given clothing, and desperately needing it, a line is a necessary construct, a gift from the modern world-one of the few we can offer to such ancient custom and culture. We definitely had to learn the hard way when we were once swarmed by a mob needing shoes, risking their lives to protect their feet.
So, he asks for them to gather and approach one at a time to choose one item. We have spread before them an enticing array of donated jewelry, watches, sunglasses, shoes, and Beckons clothing. What they choose in those crucial moments is a reflection of their desperation, their responsibility and practicality. It's a virtual display of the myriad expression of human nature and desire. Fortunately, there was something for everyone, whether a packet of beads or a form fitting dress. That is...until tomorrow came and news had spread through the surrounding villages about our donations. People arrived to claim the last of the tourist's clothing from off our backs, which we were compelled to leave behind, after the reality of disparity, of having and not having. We're returning to abundance and excess, while most of the Nomads will remain exactly as they are, where they are for their entire lives.
It's a fascinating world. We contribute our material and they bathe us in spirit. We can offer clothing and shoes to add comfort and protection in an otherwise harsh environment. Our wealth comes full circle and benefits people we have to circumvent the globe to meet. It's truly a world of lines and circles, and we need both.