Shine On

By:  Ksenija Savis

The lyrics from Sara Groves are like a constant whisper in the back of my mind ever since I returned from documenting & visiting the Pokot in 3 remote regions of Kenya, Chemolingot, Kauriong & Kodich.

shine on photo As I continue to process my time in Kenya, there are three things that are certain & clear:

1) When it comes to love & giving of yourself to others, there

is no such thing as “not enough” or “too little.”

2) I saw what I saw, and I can’t forget it.

3) The Pokot are people who shine like no other.


I have experienced overwhelming warmth & joy in the Pokot, of all ages. I have felt it in their handshakes & hugs. I have seen joy in their smiles & a sense of community in their lives that we do not have at home. I have watched countless children walk around holding hands, or arm in arm. I have heard them call each other brother & sister. I have seen 3 year olds pick up a crying one year old and carry them on their back. I have seen immense joy as they get their nails painted pink by one of our team members. I have communicated with the elders despite our great language barrier. I have watched their watermelon-sized smiles as they grab my hand & place it to their heart.

I have heard the children sing & it was as if I felt a sweet piece of Heaven wrap me up. I have watched the children play for hours on end in the same area, with the same friends, with the same dirt & rocks to run on… yet all with endless smiles & screeches of laughter. I have walked by the children & felt their arms reach out to gently touch my skin. I have been asked ‘what my name is’ by what must be hundreds of beautiful faces.

I have had the ability to make others smile just by taking their picture & saying “roriya!” (smile!) in my broken Pokot. Their roaring giggles as I showed them their photograph on the back of my camera will be forever stamped into my heart. I have seen beauty like I have never seen before – there is no make-up, or hair accessories, or fashionable pick of clothing… yet the Pokot truly shine.

Above all this, I have seen God’s undying love, grace & perseverance — just by looking into their eyes.

The Pokot have redefined my definition of poverty. Their love & willingness to learn is like something I have never seen before. They have a richness that cannot be bought nor given.

It is in their soul. It is in their spirit. It is what makes them shine on.