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When Dr. Bud Payne of Mobile, Alabama, donates two weeks of his time to a Kenyan village hospital, it is the beginning of an astonishing adventure for him and his family.
Bud offers to fly a young Maasai girl back to America for life-saving heart surgery. She comes - but not alone: her entire tribe is with her, Maasai warriors carrying spears, mothers in tribal dress carrying babies, even a mysterious medicine man alight from the airplane.
The girl goes to the hospital, but the tribe goes to the Paynes' backyard. Gone are Gail Payne's prized rose beds, gone is the lawn. In their place are the mud huts of the Maasai.
As the suburban neighbors mingle with the tribesmen and the medicine man mingles with the surgeons, hilarious, harrowing, and even enlightening adventures result. The warriors rustle the nearest redneck's prime dairy cow for slaughter, and the Paynes' children swap their school clothes for war paint. Gail nearly loses her mind and Bud nearly loses his medical license.
However, it all leads to a classic happy ending, heightened by a cultural exchange beyond anyone's original dreams.