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14 Cows for America

by Carmen Agra Deedy Wilson Kimeli Naiyomah

It is June of 2002, and a very unusual ceremony begins in a far-flung village in western Kenya. An American diplomat is surrounded by hundreds of Maasai people. A gift is about to be bestowed on the men, women, and children of America, and he is there to accept it. The gift is as unsought and unexpected as it is extraordinary. A mere nine months have passed since the September 11 attacks, and hearts are raw. Tears flow freely from American and Maasai alike as these legendary warriors offer their gift to a grieving people half a world away. World of the gift will travel news wires around the globe. Many will be profoundly touched, but for Americans, this selfless gesture will have deeper meaning still. For a heartsick nation, the gift of fourteen cows emerges from the choking dust and darkness as a soft light of hope ... and friendship. [This text is listed as an example that meets Common Core Standards in English language arts in grades 2-3 at http://www.corestandards.org.]

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