Kenyan tribe donates cows to America
September 11th, 2013
10:07 AM ET

Remembering 9/11: A warrior's unexpected gift to America

By Tom Goldstone, CNN

Editor's Note: Tom Goldstone is the executive producer of Fareed Zakaria GPS. This article originally appeared in September 2011. The views expressed are his own.

As America looked inward in the days, weeks and months after September 11, 2001, others around the world made extraordinary gestures toward the United States. 
We were all so focused on ourselves – understandably so – that many probably missed the fact that Iran’s President Mohammad Khatami condemned the attacks, that Ireland and Israel held full national days of mourning, that the Afghan Taliban told “American children [that] Afghanistan feels your pain”.

You are even less likely to have heard what could be one of the most touching reactions of all.  This is the story of how a destitute Kenyan boy turned Stanford student rallied his Masai tribe to offer its most precious gift to America in its time of need.

It all starts with Kimeli Naiyomah.  Kimeli, a member of a Masai tribe, grew up in a small rural town called Enoosaen near the Masai Mara National Reserve.  The town had no water, no electricity, no phones and no roads. After accompanying his ailing mother to the hospital as a young boy, Kimeli says he knew he wanted to grow up to heal others like her.  He didn’t know such people were called doctors - he just knew he wanted to be one.

Dreaming of being a doctor is ambitious even in America.  But in Kimeli’s part of Africa, one could have easily dismissed that dream as impossible. This was especially true in Kimeli’s particular situation.  He says he had no father.  His grandmother had been murdered.  And his mother – his only remaining caretaker – was battling alcoholism.

According to Kimeli, his family (or lack thereof) was so destitute that his Masai tribe didn’t even consider them people – they were sub-human. Moreover, nobody that Kimeli knew from his tribe had gone to high school, let alone college or medical school.

He knew he had to change his situation, so he ran away – to another village where he had heard that there was a school that was taught under a tree.  It was a church school and it became his grade school and his home.

When he grew beyond this school-under-a-tree,  Kimeli found the nearest high school, which was 9 hours away.  So he walked there and told the principal that he had no money, no uniform, no books, no shoes and no family, but he wanted to attend school.  And, as Kimeli tells the story, the principal was so amazed by Kimeli’s gumption that he welcomed him to the school.

Kimeli soon realized he probably couldn’t achieve his dream of becoming a doctor if he remained in Kenya.  So he started applying for universities in America.  He says, “My elders got together to try to raise money to help me achieve my goals.”

The same elders who had once considered Kimeli to be sub-human had done a complete reversal.  Kimeli says his people were now were so impressed by what he had achieved that he was not only considered human again, they were invested in helping him achieve his goals.  They raised $5,000 for him.

A Washington Post reporter then caught wind of the story and came to Enoosaen to write a story about Kimeli’s doctoral dreams.  That story ended up on the front page of the paper. The article inspired an outpouring of support, including a scholarship offer from the University of Oregon, a plane ticket from a businessman in Florida and clothes and other materials he needed to survive in America paid for by another total stranger.

“You can imagine how I felt”, Kimeli says, “when I received a letter offering me a scholarship in America.  It’s like getting a letter from God when you know you’re not qualified for heaven.”

Kimeli enrolled at the University of Oregon in 1996.  A few years later, Kimeli heard about Stanford University (after Chelsea Clinton enrolled there) and decided after seeing the school that that was where he belonged.  He says, “It looked like a village to me”.  And once again, Kimeli made his own luck, getting accepted at Stanford after getting his grades up in Oregon.

Kimeli had become a celebrity of sorts back home.  In September of 2001, the President of Kenya was scheduled to be in New York and Kimeli says he was invited to meet with him.  And that’s how Kimeli – now officially a full Masai warrior back home – found himself in New York City on September 11, 2001.

As a warrior, Kimeli is trained to rush to the scene of crisis.  “You run to the battleground,” he says, “I don’t run away from tragedy, I run to tragedy.  But I was realistic enough to know I couldn’t help [at Ground Zero].”

Kimeli says he is also a very emotional warrior.  9/11 touched him deeply. The country that had given him so much had been brutally attacked.  He had to figure out a way to help.  He had to do something.

So, on a trip back home in May of 2002, he asked to meet with the elders of his tribe.
First, Kimeli told them of the horrors he had witnessed in New York.  Many of Kimeli’s people had never even heard of 9/11.  They couldn’t even fathom buildings that tall and most people in the village had never seen a plane except way high up in the sky.

Then, Kimeli told them of his plan.  He wanted to buy a cow (something this formerly homeless boy had never been able to do) and turn right around and give that cow to America. In Kimeli’s tradition, a cow is the most precious property one can own.  And it is believed to bring great comfort to its owner.  As one elder told a reporter, a cow is a “handkerchief to wipe away tears”.

He wanted his elders’ blessing for his plan.  But, unexpectedly, one-by-one the elders stood up and said they were so inspired by his plan they wanted to do the same.  In the end there were 14 cows that had been pledged to the American people to help bring them peace.

On June 3rd, 2002, U.S. charges d’affairs William Brencick travelled to Enoosaen to formally accept the cows.  He says it took him more than half-a-day to get there - a flight and then a long drive over treacherous terrain.  But after he heard Kimeli’s story, he wanted to go.

Brencick expected to be greeted by a handful of people, but when he arrived, he found a large crowd. Kimeli says more than a thousand people were in attendance.  Kimeli had brought American flags with him.  The “Star Spangled Banner” played on a loudspeaker.  Some in the crowd held up banners that said: “To the people of America,” “We are touched by your loss” and “We give these cows to help you”.  Brencick says it was “overwhelmingly emotional” and he couldn’t help but tear up.

But there was a hitch. Logistical and monetary problems prevented the U.S. from taking possession of the cattle.  The herd was worth much less than the considerable amount it would cost to ship it 7,250 miles to New York City.  And there were health hurdles: African cows weren’t allowed in America.  In addition, there was concern that the cows might not survive the voyage anyway.

Washington Times columnist Tony Blankley heard what was going on and wondered how the U.S. could get 80,000 troops into Afghanistan, but couldn’t get 14 head of cattle out of Africa.  As for the Masai, they couldn’t quite understand why this American came to accept the cows, but then didn’t take them home with him.  Some wondered why he didn’t just load the cattle on a truck and drive them to America.

Four years later, on the 5th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, all was made right.  Then-U.S. Ambassador Michael Ranneberger traveled to Enoosaen to cement a deal for Kimeli’s tribe to take care of “America’s” herd in perpetuity.  And, as a way of saying thanks, the Ambassador announced the establishment of a scholarship for 14 boys and girls in the village to go to local schools.  Those scholarships continue to this day. 
And today the herd continues to grow.  As of right now, 35 “American” cattle roam the plains near Enoosaen, tended lovingly by one of the elders in Kimeli’s tribe. 
If you ever find yourself there, you’ll know which are the American cattle.  They have special Twin Towers markings on their ears.

As for Kimeli, he’s decided he can do more for the world as a diplomat than a doctor.  Next fall, Kimeli hopes to become a Rotary International World Peace fellow at Duke University.

If you’re interested in reading more. Kimeli’s story is featured in a children’s book 14 Cows for America. 
A free copy of the book is available for all those who lost family members on September 11, 2001.

Post by:
Topics: Africa • September 11

soundoff (558 Responses)
  1. Charlie

    Thats awesome!

    September 10, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Reply
    • Heart of Texas

      Great uplifting story.

      September 11, 2011 at 1:47 am | Reply
      • bill

        You said brother.

        September 11, 2011 at 6:22 am |
    • miamai

      It's interesting to read that Kenya people send gift (and FOOD) to the US – even if it' just symbolical, when the whole region is starving of famine...
      I'm somebodí from the poor region of East-Europe and make efforts to collect donations for the Horn of Africa. Is this action really necessary? Or is this article also a piece of media's manipulation on our feelings?

      September 11, 2011 at 4:57 am | Reply
      • LS

        ALL media - where it's print, television, or anything else, is designed to evoke emotions. That's what they do. But, I'm not sure how the media's play-to-emotions makes a story like this any less valid. I'm not sure which action you're questioning - but if it's the acts of giving when one has so little, then no. It's not NECESSARY. But that's what makes it truly amazing.

        September 11, 2011 at 7:26 am |
      • it's called faith

        Remember the story of the poor women at church when Jesus was there with his apostels? Rich members of the community gave large and lavish amounts ensuring that the people saw them do it, while the poor woman snuck up to the alter and gave only a copper, but Jesus stated "by giving even in her poverty" was such an act that put all the rest to shame.

        September 11, 2011 at 7:40 am |
      • kwadwo

        Miamai, the problem for people like you and the developed world is the ill information about the African continent. You said the horn of Africa and I bet there are alot more countries there that doesn't receive aid from your organization. More so, most of you think people in the under developed world are not happy. That is the most untrue perception in the world. This people are happy and live their lives the way the know best. The fact that people are poor doesnt mean they do not or cannot give anything to the world. You maybe doing a good thing by organizing stuff for the poor in a few communities in Africa but if your reason and understanding for doing it is that this people are nothing and cannot give nothing then I think you are wrong and your effort is not worth it. You need to know that they are humans like you and share the same attributes of caring like you do.

        September 11, 2011 at 9:22 am |
      • DHarri

        Given the fact that the people of this village had no concept of America or the modern world for that matter, this gift to them had a value that goes beyond the Twin Towers in their world both spiritually and emotionally.

        September 11, 2011 at 9:44 am |
      • bill

        This story just goes to show that all is not lost in this world....When you take a look around and see bad things happening just remember this story and remember that in times of trouble good can, and usually does, arise....

        September 11, 2011 at 10:27 am |
      • jorge washinsen

        There are some things many are too young to know and it is called "character", unblemished by government handouts.

        September 11, 2011 at 10:37 am |
      • Jeremy

        America has more money than any other nation on Earth. America donates more food and supplies to needy countries than any other country on Earth. America also has millions of starving and needy people as well. i think symbolic goes a long way in uniting the world. It is not wrong for people to be selfless. As for the media, they couldn't be in business if they didn't have good stories. I would much rather read about something that brings light and proves that not all people are selfish, than to read about negative outlook on the economy. I'm not turning a blind eye to negative news because its reality, but hearing more about the good things life has to offer creates a more positive atmosphere.

        September 11, 2011 at 10:53 am |
      • ldean

        oh you poor, poor cynical child . . . if you had read the article, you would understand that the gift originated in 2002 – almost 10 years ago. You seem resentful in your work to aid starving people in the horn of Africa. If you are telling the truth, you would know that starvation exists in pockets – five or six years ago Southern Kenya was supplying those in Northern Kenya with aid . . . I wish you had the capacity to appreciate the enormity of the idea that if these Kenyans were 'starving' in 2002, then it makes their gift to America even more profoundly extraordinary.

        September 11, 2011 at 11:08 am |
      • Ann

        I remember when this act of compassion and incredible generosity occurred, and I was extremely touched by the gesture and indeed by the entire story of Kimeli and his people. I hope they know how very much the people of the United States appreciated their gift. This story will stand as a beacon for all of us and hopefully we will build on it for ourselves and for others.

        September 11, 2011 at 11:40 am |
      • Jeremy

        Remember, this happened in the few years after 2001. The current famine hadn't happened yet. It's a nice story, these people chose to give, it would have been an insult not to accept the gift.

        September 11, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
      • DM

        How would I know that this tribe did this amazing thing unless the press told the story. As much as I disdain the press so often, this is a time that they got it right.

        September 11, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
      • wyatt

        @miamai It's unfortunate that you cannot see the gesture for what it is. Kimeli and the villages showing appreciation for the support and kindness that he received from people in America. The news is too often filled with ugly acts toward people and societies. Bravo to Tom Goldstone and CNN for this article, THANK YOU and bring on more!

        September 11, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
      • mathis

        some things are worth the price. the fact that you can't accept that shows just how little you know about the world.

        September 11, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
      • Jducki

        @Miamai–even people in poverty find ways to give. It does not mean we quit helping them with what they do not have.
        I'm thankful for both their gift , and that we found away to resolve our transport problem while accepting the gift. People emotionally need to give, as well as receive, and we need to also always be gracious enought to accept their true offering of love and support. Lovely people

        September 11, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
      • AB

        I am from the USA and I accept their gifts also in fact I appreciate it very much. Unlike all these idiotic postings from heartless idiots from around the world I think that was a good gesture from them. Consider how much the world hate the USA and forget how good the USA has been to the rest of the world. Our taxes keep all these very countries around the world that hate us in the USA from starvation and from the warlords’ government they have who would rather killing their own people for the sake of power. Now because of their jalousie over USA prosperity, they end up killing over 3000 innocent lives going to work to pay their bills and they think that was a good thing. I think it is about time to see one among them showed us that they care and they are not ungrateful as the rest of the world. Your kindness will always be remembered.

        September 11, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
      • blessedgeek

        LS is such an IDIOT.

        September 11, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
      • Rose


        What has happened to Americans? We use to be a fair, honorable people, respected worldwide. Now we are such a hateful, ignorant country. I am embarrassed for us and our children. All this hate is destroying us and our country. We have done more damage disrespecting our country, our President, our govermnent and ourselves than 9/11 could ever do to this country. To all the people who see the value of this honorable gesture by people who had nothing but chose to try to ease our pain, I applaud you. To all those who spew hate, I consider you to be the worse terrorist sof all, ones who will destry their own country and people. The hurricanes, floods and fires are all generated by negative energy. Could that negative energy be HATE?

        September 11, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
      • Hehe101

        Just shut up, okay? This is what journalism is all about. A boy from a small village in Kenya (please tell me this the right country?) decides to get an education, even if it means running away. He gets that education, but then ends up in a brutal attack on America. He returns home, and says he wants to give us a cow. Which is a very important possession in his culture, and they do. As we cannot bring these cows into the country ( maybe these are actually Jewish cows? Sorry, couldnt resist), they raise these African American cows for us. I've discovered something. It seems the most patriotic, the ones who live the American dream, are not (but they can be) members of a long line of Americans, but of immigrants hoping for a better life. My parents moved here from Canada a few months before I was born. They knew that I'd have a better life being American, even though Canada is still a nice place to live. This boy lived the American dream. It seems like America , in order to be America, must have a strong flow of immigrants living the dream. When you've lived here all your life, for as long as you're family can remember, it's easy to forget how lucky we have it. So when Politicians bring up patriotism, and then dis immigration, you can be sure they're NOT American.

        September 11, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
      • Coach Lew

        Oh yea we are supposed to feel sorry for those people in Kenya because they gave a cow to America. A simple "our hearts go out to America for the loss suffered by thousands" would have done more than a cow for God's sake.

        September 12, 2011 at 1:02 am |
    • JG

      This is a wonderful story. Thank you Enoosaen for the generous gift. We Americans appreciate your support. Thank you.

      September 11, 2011 at 4:58 am | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      Yes, it's a touching story! We in the West take everything for granted. To be grateful is seen as a personal weakness.

      September 11, 2011 at 5:53 am | Reply
      • Jeremy

        I've traveled to several poor countries in the last few years. Even the not so poor countries don't have it as good as this one. I'm a veteran of 2 deployments to Iraq as well. I find myself almost disgruntled about the level of ungratefulness this country seems to have. However, I am smart enough to realize that this is only because we do not have as many of the hardships as many other countries have. We have much more freedom than most. All of this is only possible because we are for the most part protected by geography, good police forces, policies and laws, education, and military. I cannot blame those who have never been to a poor country or experienced death and destruction. It would be nice for people to experience just a sample of these things to better be grateful of the things that cannot be taken for granted. Freedom should not have to be earned as a principle, but in this world I wonder if it should be.

        September 11, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • Dan, TX

      But WAIT. Isn't this the foreign aid we are told is causing our deficit and is destryoing America. We need to teach our own children, we can't afford to pay for education everywhere else in the world. CUT THE FUNDING IMMEDIATELY. This is not the government's job, it should be paid by private citizens/charity. You know I'm right. Thank you. Signed: A Conservative.

      September 11, 2011 at 8:08 am | Reply
      • Lauren

        Is this my friend from work "Dan?" We had this conversation the other day!!

        September 11, 2011 at 8:30 am |
      • Dan, PA

        Foreign aid comprises approximately 1-2% of our total budget per multiple sources. Foreign aid is not the issue – a synthetic, smoke and mirrors economy run by irresponsible, greedy, and myopic CEOs and politicians is the real issue, and everyone knows it. It is so critical that we realize we are all in this together, and I do not say that to engender warm and fuzzy feelings of friendship and sympathy, but instead to point out that we are ultimately going to be held accountable for how we treat one another. Relationships and partnerships are built, not bought, and if we are ever to live in a world that truly cares about one another, we have to realize it is never the right answer to say "It's not our job to help" – never. It does not always have to be economic assistance – aid comes in many forms, and though money is necessary, it is the genuinely thoughtful efforts that truly make a difference (i.e. sharing knowledge about disease, clean water, education, etc...) . Let's not use this country's current woes as an excuse to not take care of each other – that is a world I hope I never see. Thank You. Signed: Lets Take Care of Each Other (Not Liberal, Conservative, or anything else – just a person).

        September 11, 2011 at 9:24 am |
      • Havoc7

        Cant tell if you are really serious. Foreign aid is a pittance and eliminating it would do almost nothing to our deficit and debt. However, the money goes a long way to promoting our agenda abroad, and in many cases saves us money in the long run. Instead of being "told" about foreign aid, go and do some research.

        September 11, 2011 at 9:43 am |
      • Dave

        Well said Dan.

        September 11, 2011 at 9:44 am |
      • James

        The money being spent there won't be enough for even 1 kid in America. Also, its more likely that the kids in Kenya will learn something useful like science instead of sqandering the money on becoming a lawyer or banker.

        September 11, 2011 at 10:12 am |
      • HeidiLiz

        Of course you're a conservative. Only a conservative could read a story about pure generosity and kindness and respond with such callous selfishness.

        The problem is not foreign aid, the problem is 2 drug-out wars and some ridiculous tax cuts by Bush and extended by Obama. We were doing fine before that, foreign aid and all.

        September 11, 2011 at 10:51 am |
      • Uhh, close but not quite

        The defense spending is one-third ouf our budget. The governments "handouts" to the needy is just under .01 %. so if you as a "Conservative" would truly like to make a difference, cut our military spending.

        September 11, 2011 at 11:04 am |
      • Shauna

        Can you have one day to not talk about the budget? Three thousand people died and there is a feel good story that comes you and you have to attempt to ruin it. Shame on you.

        September 11, 2011 at 11:06 am |
      • salvatore

        Good lord, foreign aid causing the deficit? You were told that by Fox & Friends, I presume?

        September 11, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
      • Cynthia

        Dan, how you and your fellow travellers can call yourselves students of history, followers of the traditions of our 'founding fathers', etc., is amazing. We wouldn't exist today without the aid provided by other countries in our beginning, nothing you say or believe to be the ideals of how this country was imagined by those great men is based on reality. No one is able to succeed, at anything, without someone or something helping...FACT. Some have become so bitter, self-absorbed and morally ugly that it is hard to even see them as Americans. I'm relieved that you are in the minority, but dismayed that you and your 'kind' resoringt to bullying, intimidation and rhetoric that is louder than those of reasonable people. How sad that you have no ability to celebrate the good, how sad that you are such a little, little man.

        September 11, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
      • Joe

        Now I understand why TexAss is burning up – time for a cleanse

        September 11, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
      • Rose

        What has happened to Americans? We use to be a fair, honorable people, respected worldwide. Now we are such a hateful, ignorant country. I am embarrassed for us and our children. All this hate is destroying us and our country. We have done more damage disrespecting our country, our President, our govermnent and ourselves than 9/11 could ever do to this country. To all the people who see the value of this honorable gesture by people who had nothing but chose to try to ease our pain, I applaud you. To all those who spew hate, I consider you to be the worse terrorist sof all, ones who will destry their own country and people. The hurricanes, floods and fires are all generated by negative energy. Could that negative energy be HATE?

        September 11, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
      • kme

        If I lived in Texas, I would be spitting angry about education too! How can Texas help being ignorant about the world if the governor thinks prayer in schools is more important than facts in schools?

        I'm sorry you have Perry and had Bush. We had the latter, too, and are trying hard to avoid the former.

        September 12, 2011 at 1:52 am |
    • dennis

      The only stupid thing we got from Kenyan was this POS that is wrecking our country.

      September 11, 2011 at 10:49 am | Reply
      • not close

        President Bush left the US biggest surplus and turned it into the biggest deficiet in US history. But of course, Obama is ruining our country.

        September 11, 2011 at 11:08 am |
      • opinion8it

        Alas, the world is not the way we want it to be as long as people like you live in it.

        September 11, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
      • YourDad

        I am so disappointed in you son, how can you be so stupid?? We had a crash that was caused by GWB, things that happened after are related to the F-up that was caused by GWB. What you have now is Obama trying to clean up, you don't blame the cleaning crew, you blame the SOB who caused the F-up

        September 11, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
      • Dennis's Mother

        I am so sad!!! my son is soooooooooooo thick

        September 11, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
      • Lil' Sis

        Shame on you big brother. My first grade teacher told us it started with Georgie W. Bush. Even I know that.

        September 11, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
      • dennis' cousin

        See, Dennis? This is why you weren't invited to my wedding.

        September 11, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
      • Joe

        Only thing your ancestors gave us is white trash, like you

        September 11, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
      • dennis's uncle

        sorry i dropped you on your head when you were ain't been 'right' since.

        September 11, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
      • Dennis's Ex-girlfriend

        I dumped you because you were so stupid & inconsiderate!!!

        September 11, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
      • Dan's mother, TX

        Dan's got a brain problem, he shakes and yells randomly about taxes and foreign aid all day long. Sez he needs his tax money back, so he can send it to the tea party and his favourite job creating billionaires. Don't be bothered by him...
        Thanks God for compassionate humans, they make the world livable.

        September 11, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
    • pretty

      I agree cows may not be anything to us but to them they are every thing... the amount of respect kenya has just shown the united states is fenominal.

      September 11, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Reply
      • xnay

        Cows cause greenhouse gases

        September 11, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
      • Joe

        So do you, xnay

        September 11, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      I propose a retaliation in the form of 140 head of cattle to be gifted to that village, along with an educational task force to be a permanent emplacement in that village, for the entire region.
      We'll call it our version of a thank you card.

      September 11, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Reply
      • volvomomof3

        Right on! What they did was offer us their most precious gift so they deserve a "thank you" in abundance. Truly an amazing, heartwarming story.

        September 11, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • neal

      very gracious gesture.

      September 11, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Reply
    • Charly

      They could have just donated gift certificates for free hamburgers at McDonald's. That probably would have been easier than donating live cows.

      September 11, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Reply
    • Rose

      What has happened to Americans? We use to be a fair, honorable people, respected worldwide. Now we are such a hateful, ignorant country. I am embarrassed for us and our children. All this hate is destroying us and our country. We have done more damage disrespecting our country, our President, our govermnent and ourselves than 9/11 could ever do to this country. To all the people who see the value of this honorable gesture by people who had nothing but chose to try to ease our pain, I applaud you. To all those who spew hate, I consider you to be the worse terrorist sof all, ones who will destry their own country and people. The hurricanes, floods and fires are all generated by negative energy. Could that negative energy be HATE?

      September 11, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Reply
    • LP

      Did people seriously not hear about this at the time? I remember reading about it length and watching stories about it on the nightly news and on CNN years ago. How is this brand new information?

      September 11, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Reply
    • Name

      A most heartwarming story. The moral of the story is generosity and empathy reaps good things.... a book, scholarships, bonds between people and nations.

      September 11, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Reply
      • Name

        A most heartwarming story. The moral of the story is generosity and empathy reap good things.... a book, scholarships, bonds between people and nations.

        September 11, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
  2. Brit

    Amazing how every post on CNN about brown people doing something bad has a million comments but this POSITIVE story has none. Amazing I tell you.

    September 10, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Reply
    • Bob


      September 10, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Reply
      • JW

        Sorry-didn't realize the comment moron was directed to Brit-agreed-he is a moron as well as a racist and ignorant jerk.

        September 10, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
    • RmbrDiggory

      Huh? First of all, this story was just posted at 8:07 tonight. and second, it's Saturday evening, you either have folks out of the house or watching college football. So put your race card away, it really gets old.

      September 10, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Reply
      • patcee

        Racists vary and the ones on this forum are the subdued type. Read comments when someone has been shot by a brown person – that's when the uglies come out.

        September 11, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • Niclas

      Brit – you are a racist jerk.

      This is an awesome story, very inspiring and I'm glad I read it. It was just posted yet your moronic comment already is already here. You are an embarrassment to all Brits but I seriously doubt you're a Brit, you're simply an ignoramus.

      September 10, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Reply
      • Diamond

        It always has to be some white person to yell, "That's racist" Why don't you people sit in the back of the bus. I am tired of you always thinking you have to talk for me or other minorities.

        September 11, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • B Shaw

      Um, I may be wrong, but I think Brit's point was that commentators are often more interested in the bad than good when it comes to "brown people." If I am reading correctly, he/she is merely pointing out that if this story had been about a terrorist then there would be thousands of posts, and suggesting some irony in the fact that there are so few posts about this amazing young man. If this is the point, then I surely agree. I think the PC police need to calm down a bit and pay some attention to context in regard the usage of "brown people," he/she is also proffering the term as a parody/subversion of the image that many in America have of people in many low income countries...perhaps I am wrong, but I don't really see any racist or malicious intent with this comment. I think some of you may have really read these comments hoping to find that one morally repugnant statement to practice your mock outrage. Problem is, I don't really think this is the one...although the night is young. Relax and come away from this story with a good feeling...there are so few of these in the news and there is no reason to ruin it.

      September 10, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Reply
      • Cecilie

        Well said, B Shaw. Thank you.

        September 11, 2011 at 12:53 am |
      • Majestic_Lizard

        Anybody who refers to "brown people" as a collective in this context is a troll.

        September 11, 2011 at 1:56 am |
      • JOHN D.

        I am one of the "brown people". B. Shaw and Brit hit it right on that nail right on the head. Well said.

        September 11, 2011 at 3:52 am |
      • PJD

        I kept re-reading Brit's statement trying to understand the big outrage. Your statement was needed.

        September 11, 2011 at 6:53 am |
      • d in fred't'wn

        I was thinking the same does seem like people want to find the negative. I loved this story regardless..what an amazing young man, black , white, green or purple what ever color you may come in...ones such as this man, come sit at my table any day!!!! So to the ney sayers go do something relevant!

        September 11, 2011 at 8:49 am |
      • tmsc14

        When did we start using the term brown people. Racist fool.

        September 11, 2011 at 10:10 am |
      • Angel V.

        Yes, there would be more comments, but they'd mostly consist of stupid bickering and arguments between polarized people. Most people who comment on any news article anywhere, imo, just want to fight. I'd rather a story like this be filled with a handful of thoughtful comments than a plethora of noise. That people read it and get something out of it is what really matters.

        September 11, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
      • SilverSky

        Excellent B Shaw! From a "brown person" 😀

        September 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • levend

      CNN attracts alot of rednecks, not as much as Fox but it gets a decent share

      September 11, 2011 at 12:11 am | Reply
    • Majestic_Lizard come the trolls.

      September 11, 2011 at 1:54 am | Reply
    • louie67

      really? I saw over 1500 remarks. Are there really still people who go out of their way to find a race comment for everything? Get over what your own people did to your ancestors by selling them into slavery. Forgive them and the greedy slaveowners. It's history. Did the boy in this story sit around & use his color as an excuse to never accomplish anything? To hate people who weren't his color? No. He cared about us multiracial NewYorkers enuf to give us cows! Why don't u quit using ur color as an excuse not 2 ever have anything positive 2 say?

      September 11, 2011 at 4:06 am | Reply
      • Ben

        I am one of those brown people. Like Kimeli, I am an immigrant from Africa-Nigeria. My take away from this story is not about color. It is about the capacity of everyhuman being to empatize with one another. In the elemental level, we are all the same-black,white, brown, puple or what ever your color is. At the end of the day, we all want the same thing-a sense to be loved and an understanding that people cares about us. Knowing that we are not alone is some what a validation of who we are as human being. This is a story about fellow human reaching out to their American family saying we fill your pain, and we stand with you.
        The cows are symbolism of their gift. Their financial worth may not be much, but their true worth is in the validation of our humanity as Americans, and their hands around our sholders saying that we are with you in this moment of pain. This is a language every heart that bits should be able to grasp without tinting it with racism, or any other ism's. I could not help tearing up as I read this story.
        What must not be lost in this story also is the road that led to the giving of this precious gift. Because of the kindness Americans gave to their son in previous years, the way was paved for this son we now share to take take our story to this remote coner of the world. In return the people of this remote villagefelt our pain. With a hand across the Amerian sholder, like a family in pain, they pulled us close in an embrace of consolation symbolized by their gift to say we are here and we fill your pain. You are not alone.
        I hope someday, we can bring some of those cows back to the united states . Create a place for them. Where people can go and see these cows,not for what they are, but what they represent. Maybe someday, we will be able to give some of this cows or their upspring to another nation as a symbal of compassion, and comfort to another nation as a reminder that thu distance may seperate us, we are all members of the human family with a desire to love and be loved,to console and be consoled in moment of greif, and yes to lough and share our loughter with others. We are one earth.
        To the writer, thank you for a great story. And to the world, lets be kind to one another, and treat each other like we will like some one to treat us, afterall, we are all a family of the human race.

        September 11, 2011 at 8:58 am |
      • Steve

        Ben: People like you restore my faith in humanity. Thanks for that post.

        September 11, 2011 at 10:56 am |
      • JR

        Ben, after that amazing post I don't have much to say but yes.

        And thank you.

        September 11, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
      • TL

        Thank you ben for those beautiful words.

        September 11, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
      • Karol

        @Louie: This is a MAN not a boy. Funny, you try to downplay racism by being racist. It did not work and you should be ashamed of yourself.

        September 11, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
      • Proud Kenyan

        To Ben, could not have said it better! To the Maasai, your treasures await you in heaven.

        September 11, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Fookem and Bug

      Just because you are jealous.

      September 11, 2011 at 5:49 am | Reply
    • Brad Shaw

      Anyone that thinks Brit's comments are racist has a serious reading comprehension problem.

      September 11, 2011 at 6:54 am | Reply
    • mikedredd

      Brit you're a stupid idiot

      September 11, 2011 at 6:55 am | Reply
    • Parmine

      I think a number of people missed your point.

      September 11, 2011 at 8:01 am | Reply
    • salvatore

      You have a point but I think you jumped the gun a little, because this story now has 350 comments (mainly positive) and over 7,000 recommends on facebook.

      September 11, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Reply
  3. Brit

    Charlie posted as I was writing. Good job.

    September 10, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Reply
  4. Jill

    Wonderful! I wish I had heard of this before now.

    September 10, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Reply
  5. Mark

    Wow, what a gift! Very generous. The Masai are an amazing, amazing group of people.

    September 10, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Reply
  6. cynthia

    i love this story....very touching

    September 10, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Reply
  7. Sydney Australia

    Totally awesome. Had not heard any of this story before.

    Wish Kimeli many sons, and a long and happy life.

    September 10, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Reply
  8. hilo, HI

    Best wishes, Mr Kimeli. I will be keeping an eye out for you.

    I so needed a story of true good will and inspiration today. (The rest of the headlines are pure madness.)

    September 10, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Reply
    • hilo, HI

      -It's strange to consider that the President's half-brother lives in Kenya, so not too far from them.
      Small world indeed.

      September 11, 2011 at 3:29 am | Reply
      • Sohei50

        And that would be implicit of what? So, as the conspiratorlists mention, it wouldn't be Bush or Cheney behind 9/11, but Obama? He orchestrated this that far back? You got it!

        September 11, 2011 at 3:54 am |
    • Jerm85

      I agree wholeheartedly. Reading stories like this (even though it is years old) evokes positive thoughts on mankind and shows that the world still has heroes that care about more then just material items. How sad is it that these uplifting stories are so few and far between that people are actually surprised to find it on a news site? I understand that the world is not a perfect place by any means, but would it hurt to have a couple more positive stories reflecting people being constructive? I would much rather wake up in the morning and focus my thoughts on stories of real people having a positive impact on the world rather then some of the apparent "news worthy" stories of who so and so in Hollywood is cheating on or how much a "reality" star spent on a shopping spree, etc.. Thanks for the great article this morning.

      September 11, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Reply
  9. Tina

    I don't mind telling you this story brought tears to my eyes. The world is a better place with Kimeli in it. May God bless his every move and may we as a country learn from his grit, perseverance and caring. If only every child could be a Kimeli.....

    September 10, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Reply
  10. maens

    What a wonderful story. Someone who was counted as sub-human with a heart touched by
    God. I wish him all the success in life.

    September 10, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Reply
    • Jade

      Is that really necessary to say? Why can't people say positive things without underhanded insults? Need we be reminded of how so-and so is though of as "sub-human?" really?

      September 11, 2011 at 1:43 am | Reply
      • Marky

        Did you even read the article, Jade? If you had, wou would have know, this young man was thought of as sub=-human by the people of his tribe, the Masai. If you were much of a reader, studied history, or studied other cultures, you would know that is the way of the Masai. They expect each person to carry their weight, and if they don't, they are not doing the right thing.. They are very brave, caring people, who work hard and expect the same from others. Is it too much to ask that if you want to comment you have to actually read the article so you will answer intelligently? Not to be hateful, but wow, this happens a lot.

        September 11, 2011 at 3:07 am |
      • Reminder

        As a matter of fact we do. This isn't about black or white, domestic or foreign. He was considered a sub-human because he and his family were poor. It's sad how the poor are treated all over the world. It's especially bad considered that we're in one of the so-called "richest country in the world."

        People in this country consider poor people as lazy, uneducated, slakers, etc., mostly in part to right-wing talk radio.

        So yes, Jade, it needs to be brought up that this man's fellow tribesman considered him subhuman, just like Americans consider their poor, even their white poor, as sub-human, and take a good hard look at how we perceive people.

        September 11, 2011 at 11:45 am |
  11. Ann

    What an amazing inspiration! The power of a dream mixed with dedication and hard work can work wonders! Let us not take anything for granted.

    September 10, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Reply
  12. OfraHaza

    What a beautiful story, what A beautiful people. May G-d bless them! Long life to Kimeli and his people!

    September 10, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Reply
  13. JJ

    A beautiful story...brought tears to my eyes. A gift from the heart of a people.

    September 10, 2011 at 9:50 pm | Reply
  14. Johnny

    Who gets the cows?

    September 10, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Reply
    • Katherine

      are culturally ignorant? livestock like cows in Kenya is FAR more precious than gold or paper money, even for many cultures around the world.

      September 10, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Reply
      • Tony

        dude chill we dont really know where the cows are going to

        September 11, 2011 at 12:54 am |
      • Facepalm4Katherine

        I think he was curious as to where these cows would end up. I think you need to stop blowing every grey soundng thing out of proporation. Here are three simple steps

        1/Keep your cool

        2/Reread the question

        3/Reply without being a D-bag.

        September 11, 2011 at 1:00 am |
    • douglas james

      India gets the cow. Peta is sending there today!

      September 11, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Reply
  15. Cheryl

    Such a sweet story! Stories like this need to get more widespread attention.

    September 10, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Reply
    • JW

      I agree-the media likes to dwell on the negatives way too much!

      September 10, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Reply
    • Maddy

      I agree. I wish I had known about this ten years ago. So very touching that they would give us something so holy in our time of need. That is true love and that is so incredible to see.

      September 11, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Reply
  16. Elle

    This story was so touching! I had never heard of the 14 cows for America, but it's very inspiring to see that compasison from one country to another.

    September 10, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Reply
  17. Lisa

    Wonderful story. Thank you for your gift from the heart.

    September 10, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Reply
  18. Gloria

    I cried all the way through this story. I am going to tell everyone I know about it. Why can't more people think like that?.

    September 10, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Reply
  19. Joe

    I wish the man every happiness in life and think not only his, but the actions of his tribe are very heartwarming; however, am I the only one who notices how totally twisted it is that the taliban seems to have been offring us condolences?

    September 10, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Reply
    • Dan

      The Taliban was a government of Afghanistan. They harbored Bin Laden but they weren't privy to his plans. The Taliban routinely did business with the States up until the attacks. They weren't very nice people, but even this sort of evil has standards.

      September 11, 2011 at 1:03 am | Reply
  20. stevie weevie

    How come we never heard anything about this in the media when it happened, when Bush was president?

    September 10, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Reply
    • c-bag

      Shallow much?

      September 10, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Reply
    • RmbrDiggory

      Re-read paragraph one. And what does Bush or any president have to do with this story?

      September 10, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Reply
    • WhiteJack

      Bush's media doesn't like blacks..look at katrina..It wasn't important to him

      September 10, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Reply
      • Jerry Berry

        You're an idoit

        September 11, 2011 at 12:22 am |
      • Marge

        I do not like George Bush, I never did, but you can not hold him responsible for the fact the media did not publish this story. Because they did not print it, or tell it, how do you know Bush ever heard of it. We must be fair and not like the false christians in this country.

        This young man shows what a truly compassionate and caring person is. He over came all the adeversity before him and has made something good of his life. I really hope he makes a difference in this world.

        September 11, 2011 at 2:27 am |
      • Ben

        Please, don't mess up my cup of coffee with you pessimism. I am black, and must emphasize to you that this story have nothing to do with color. This is a story of kindness and compassion reflected in our humanity. You cannot see everything in color. Let us appreciate this great story and if I may say be inspired without people like you darkening our light. I am a black man who everyday feel the love and kindness of people of different race(my human family). My God, I love them back, and would not let people like you cover up our light. There are more kind and loving people in the world than they are people like you. As I go to church this morning I will pray for God to give you the heart to appreciate is creations-after all they all come in different colors.

        September 11, 2011 at 9:27 am |
  21. Ruby Slippers

    This is a beautiful story! This young individual is a true inspiration. He is truly on his way to make his mark on this world. I wish him all the best.

    September 10, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Reply
  22. Erlinda

    I want to read something like this every day. My spirit needs it – and so does the rest of the world. This is a lovely story, and I am all the better for reading it.

    September 10, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Reply
  23. Mike in Toronto

    Great story. Had the pleasure of visiting several Masai villages in July 2001. They are absolutely wonderful people and this gesture is not at all surprising based on the hospitality we were shown in their villages and homes.

    September 10, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Reply
    • d in fred't'wn

      we must not forget the diplomat in this story for his diplomacy...he stayed with this kid. This is how I want america to be seen by other countries...someone that works for the good! Nice job Ranneberger!

      September 11, 2011 at 9:13 am | Reply
  24. c-bag

    Stories like this one put life in perspective much more effectively than all the fear mongering we're used to.

    September 10, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Reply
  25. amy

    Thank you for the healing that this story inspires and has provided to so many people. These are the accounts that we need to read more of. Amazing that a group of people that had no knowledge of the attack provided the hankerchief that so many needed. May God bless your tribe and the young people that will have the oppurtunity to recieve an education.

    September 10, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Reply
  26. Neil

    Great Maasai People! Sure you might not have a lot and all you can give America is cows but gift is a gift and this is greatly appreciated. For all that America has done for the world, you would think some sheikh would gift a lot more or China can gift a lot more but that wasn't to happen. In a way, it is a good thing, now Americans' are wide open and they can see, in bad times, NO ONE stands by you. But Maasai people, know that America will stand by you as much as she can. God bless!!!!!!!

    September 10, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Reply
    • Jean

      Does it occur to you that since you hadn't heard of this story, there may be other ways people helped America that you didn't hear ot, either?

      September 10, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Reply
  27. Denise Week

    What a humbling story. These beautiful, giving people have nothing and still manage to give us their most precious possession. Makes you re-think things in your own life. I wish Kimeli the very best, and his village. Thank you for your gift.

    September 10, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Reply
  28. Corvus1

    Aww, these guys are awesome!

    September 10, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Reply
  29. JehseaLynn

    What a beautiful testament to the human drive to love one another and help in moments of great pain!I am in tears! I am brain-injured and flew into a rage on Thursday and said hurtful things to my son. Brain-injured people cannot help it, but I have been so well for so long. And it gets tiresome being the adult child who has to always be undersranding. I wish I had a cow for Stephen, though I feel it might only be my death. I wonder how I can be a Kimeli?

    September 10, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Reply
    • d in fred't'wn

      You have, you just realized that you have stumbled..tell your son what you have told understands and sometimes needs a "I'm sorry"...and that will do....
      Check out Dolores Cannon quantum healing with hypnosis...the Higher Power can work in glorious your Health!

      September 11, 2011 at 9:19 am | Reply
  30. IH

    What a touching and beautiful story! These wonderful people may not have much compared to the US but their gift comes from the heart. We really appreciate this sincere gesture of hope and goodwill. May there be a bright and wonderful future for Kimeli and his tribe.

    September 10, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Reply
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