29th December 2009
Christmas and Lollipops!
I came back from Europe to find a dry garden, dry dams, even herbs like rosemary and sage dead and old big trees dry, and desperate people at my doorstep.
And a rate of elephant poaching priorly never recorded, staggering, unsustainable and tragic.
Famine: I decided to feed the people with every means at my disposal so that all my neighbours could have something to eat fro Christmas…well an undertaking..!I knocked at doors and they opened.
After almost twelve months of unrelenting commitment to feed the poorest here, we have a track record. People trust us, knowing that every morcel of food will immediately go straight to the ones who desperately need it.
I spread the voice and once again people responded. With help from Kenya Red Cross (20 metric TONS-!- of Maize meal and Beans), Nestle (Powdered milk, Nido), Home Grown (Fresh vegetables, unknown luxury), Ann Gloag (porridge) and generous well wishers we were able to distribute abundant food to over 1500 women and elders over two days.
And as promised, on Christmas day children had cooked food and threats:Uji, and sugar and milk tea, mountains of biscuits, and,yes, lollipops! and clothes donated from Colpro. – and we did many trips to transport food stuff over rough roads.
The mood was great, the Pokot women sang.
Then it started to rain-and it went on: not huge showers, but a constant drizzle, that has been going on constantly, and although frogs are not back the grass is getting greener.
A great feeling of hope, of new beginnings… and then the message on the internal radio network: yet another elephant, tusks gone, was found by one of the antipoaching patrols.
This will have to be next update.
With love, blessings and gratitude to you all,
Kuki and the team
From Laikipia Nature Conservancy
on 26th December 2009
19th December 2009
Feeding Children this Christmas
My dear Friends,
While poaching of elephants has reached dramatic proportions, rain still eludes West Laikipia.
A promising shower ten days ago was followed only by the usual restless winds.
I am back now from Copenhagen where dreams of change once again were defeated by endless bureocracy.
The planet needs help: what if rains do not fall for a few more years?
Where are bees gone? Soon it will be the third year for us with no honey and no flowers.
Our neighbours have planted their maize FIVE times. Five times it has dried out when only a few inches tall.
We are planning a big feeding this Christmas, for which I am collecting food.
I have asked my friends here in Kenya not to give me presents, but food in kind instead.
Once again people have been very generous: thank you! pledges and food are beginning to arrive.
While the mothers will be given as much staple food- flour, fat, maize, beans- as we can afford to get-, for the children I would like this once to also give treats, – something western kids take for granted not just at Christmas, but all the time, and that here most children have NEVER had: lollipop sweets and biscuits and chocolates. And new clothes.
A smile from the poorest, starving African children will be my best gift, and yours, this Christmas.
I shall send you photo.
We-our dedicated team-have daily been feeding Uji to our neighbouring Mutaro children in the last month. This is the only meal they got each day.
With love and gratitude to you all who have made it possible for us to literally keep alive thousands, and may this Season bring you happiness and the comfort of your family,
Kuki and the team.
In Laikipia Nature Conservancy
19th December 2009
30th November 2009
Some Good News at Last!
Our 2009 Laikipia Highland Games (Sports for Peace) unanimously WON the prestigious Sport for Peace Event of the Year at the international Forum for Peace and Sport in Monaco.
I travelled to get the award at the invitation of the organisers. I was amazed that our young event, born out of the intuition that putting contending youth together across the tribal divide for peaceful but competitive pursuits that include their own traditional games of skill in addition to modern athletics would really work in promoting peace and reconciliation-could get such glowing recognition in a forum that saw the whos who of world sport gather in Monaco.
I was deeply moved and accepted it on behalf of the Highlands athletes, the warriors, the women and children, the veritable peaceful army of builders and workers who made it possible.
As rains still seems to have forgotten Laikipia and dams are practically empty, hungers bite and our feeding continues twice a week(since January) this encouraging news gives joy and pride to our loyal and dedicated team, our neighbours and the thousands that were parts of the games.
It is THEIR award.
3rd November 2009
DROUGHT NO END
It rains heavily in some parts of the country, but for some reasons here after ONE large promising if totally out of season shower, rains seem to have have forgotten us.
Winds and clouds and occasional quick chill drizzles come and go, and most of the dams remain empty. Even our big lake is still at its lowest ever recorded. The bees have disappeared, the weaver birds are not building their nest on the yellow fevers, and the guinea-fowls, which by now should be divided in breeding couples- are still roosting in large flocks, a sign of drought to continue. The frogs do not wake up in the ponds as they do to breed when there is a promise of rain, and the nights are strangely silent, but for the lions and hyena.
The Lions, the Hyena, the Jackals, are happy and well fed. They take advantage of the weakened buffalo to teach their young to hunt.
In the night they mate and roar next to my bedroom, so close the glass door rattles and my dogs come close, ears alert, hair raised on their back, ready to spring at my defence.
Its good to have many healthy lions: Kenya has lost almost half of its lions population to poison.
Our feeding programme for the schools and for the children goes on; but we found that our nursery school children are no longer fed at home or on week end, since we feed them twice a day during the week.
At the last week end feedings came hundreds of children at short notice; if we give timing too early so many come we unavoidably run out of food.
All children looked desperately hungry. They ate in a hurry with total concentration, but I saw they all carried small jerricans, where they poured half of their porridge to bring home to their parents; and in their pockets they stuffed most of the energy biscuits and mandazi our cooks had fried for them. Older children told a tale of despair: food once a week if lucky, and no school food.
To try and alleviate this we have employed women to clear boundary lines in exchange of food, so husbands will not be tempted to take the money for drink.
We buy maize, beans and fat and we give it to them to share – hoping for the best.
We have employed 20 young men to help dig holes and clear the elephant fence line; we plan to re-forest a large area at our southern boundary, next to the indigenous forest, but the elusive rainfall may not allow us to continue with this plan.
I am so very conscious that what we try to do is not enough, and that we can only do our best.
Next mail about elephants.
With love and gratitude for your support and blessings,
from Laikipia Nature Conservancy
In Northern Kenya
30th October 2009
Ps The professional verdict about my hand -in South Africa- was that even the massive operation required, with re-fracturing of all metacarpals, will only give me 10% more mobility at most. I have hence decided to keep it as it is -a simian hand- and to get on with it: after all I can now manage to drive-which is what matters.xo
15th October 2009
GOOD NEWS! AWARD NOMINATION
From a hungry, troubled and drought stricken Laikipia, where the ivory poaching has reached an all times high (next mail) ONE piece of good news:
I am very honoured to let you all know that our young event for Peace, The Laikipia Highlands Games has been nominated as one of the three FINALISTS for the Sport for Peace Event of the Year Award for the international Sport for Peace Conference in Monaco this November.
Below my short report and media clips of the tribal unrest that put our event in a poignant and timely contest.
Thank you for your support and mails of encouragement at this testing time.
Kuki and the team
in Laikipia Nature Conservancy
15 October 2009
2009 A Njemps Moran exchanged the spear for the javelin
2008 GAMES (NO COMMENT: LOOK AT THE GRASS!_
27th September 2009
DESPERATE DROUGHT but HOPE AND THE GAMES
Months of focused preparations; hundreds of people working for this day; as we watched clouds pass over us defeating every day, every afternoon, every night the promise of rain.
The anticipated El Nino hit Kenya Western province, people drowned: but here, up in Western Laikipia it was the triumph of the dust, of the incessant hot wind, parched land, disseccated dams, dead livestock and moribund, listless wildlife,- and, at one of our regular kids feeding, at our Alpha 4 gate, for the first time ever, older kids fought with younger kids for a second helping of relief food.
Our Nursery children-we discovered-were no longer fed daily at home, nor on week ends: the two daily meals we give them (porridge, milk and fruit breakfast; a varied main meal: one day meat stew and rice, one day beans and posho, one day assorted vegetables beans and ugali, one day eggs, potato and vegetables; one day green grams and meat) were regarded-possibly with reason- as an extravagant amount of food for kids whose siblings’ only meal (if they go to school) is the public school fare consisting of a small cup of boiled maize.
With a shrinking heart we tried to do our best. We dropped sacks of Uji at given points and bought extra grains and beans, and employed women to clear roads sides on a food-for-work basis, so at least we knew that some food would be ensured on their tables. No crops this year at all. No way they could afford transport to buy some maize flour, and no money for maize flour anyway.
Everything was worst with the GREAT DROUGHT: the fight for grazing, for water; the thugs; the POACHING; the insecurity.
Evil raised its ugly head. Witchdoctors and crooked tribal chiefs anointed young warriors, blessing tribal raids. Ethnic conflicts flared.
At dawn on 16th September, warriors struck on sleeping women and children at Kainampio Manyatta, not far from here.
We woke up-three days before our Games date- to the far sound of AK 47 and frantic sms messages, as people in Northern Laikipia and Western Laikipia were trying to come to terms with the horror of what was happening.
A common grave was dug next day for the small bodies wrapped in blankets, while many of attackers bodies lay out in the bush; prayers and curses mixed and lifted to the impassive sky and we here were considering what next… surely a poignant time here for the Sport for Peace… but would this be appropriate? would people dare to come? would people walk for miles, drive in the back of matatu to join us here, in neutral ground, across the tribal divide for a day of healing…?
We decided to leave it to the people.
Everyone begged us to stay the course. School children, community, women, tribal people from far and wide had planned, practiced, trained, since one year to come. And our staff -who had worked all hours for at least two months, including weekends, to clear, pitch, build, paint, stitch, cook…we would do it!
The day of the second edition of The Laikipia Highlands Games (Sports for Peace) came at last.
Defeating all predictions, thousands of people came. The spirit was there.
Just the competitors-1175 entries!-.and the coaches, supporters,spectators, school children, elders, mama, volunteers, officials.
As per my brief earlier update, it was, at last, a day for smiles.
The parade began with Acrobats from the Sarakasi trust, drumming by Amref (also foot ball players) the tribal people in their replendent gear.
Action began with our small nursery children,in new red shirts, each waiving a yellow flag with AMANI-peace-drawn on it.
We stood as their small voices sang the National Anthem.
A moment of silence in respect for the ones who had lost their lives in the clashes. And the Scottish piper led the athletes, playing his tune.
It was a fantastic success- with fun moments. Some promising young athletes were spotted too, to give them further training.
Our sponsors, The US embassy in Nairobi, the British High Commission, The Australian High Commission, the European Union, and -in kind-Safaricom, Nestle’, Orbit, Alive and Kicking, Dominion printers, had given us a massive boost by believing in the concept and that we would pull it off.
I think we did them proud.
Lots of guests brought food stuff and this we gave away immediately next day.
So we go on – one step at the time.
Next week I leave with Sveva briefly for South Africa. Following the June attack, my hand need some major medical attention if it is ever going to function again. But this is another story.
Thank you for your generous support, for your prayers, for your friendship,
in Laikipia Nature Conservancy
Our nursery school children open the LAIKIPIA HIGHLANDS GAMES PARADE
Tribal Njemps, Samburu, Pokot and Turkana at the Games.
Njemps tribal youth with javelin.
Kids ran too!
VOLUNTEERS WITH PRIZES (DONATED BY US EMBASSY)
WE THANK AMEDEO BUONAJUTI, THESSA THIADENS AND BRIAN OLSON FOR THEIR BEAUTIFUL PHOTOGRAPHS
21st September 2009
A DAY OF SMILES
Hallo all… few early shots of the 2009 Laikipia Highlands Games and many more to come!
With 1175 entries- an amazing community success! Everyone was fed!
In this desperate drought, with no rains in sight, one day for smiles.
14th September 2009
What will we do if rains are not coming?
THIS USED to be our Big Dam, our largest lake – Sept. 2008 This is whats left of our Big Dam, September 2009
see above. in OVER thirty seven years I had never seen the largest dam shrink to this extent.
it was not meant to be another email of doom… it was to talk about excitement for the forthcoming Sport for Peace event,our Laikipia Highlands Games, this year in help of the drought and relief effort.
Today I received this letter:
following the prevailing condition the teachers, school committee and the entire community of Wangwachi are requesting you kindly to assist with any kind of food stuff since their pupil are suffering due to lack of food.
The weather changes and inter-tribal conflict between the Kikuyu and the Pokot has resulted in terrible hunger within Wangwachi village. So please, please assist us with any kind of food stuff, since our pupils are fainting during lunch hours because of HUNGER HERE AT SCHOOL.
So I got in touch with this teacher and took off in the afternoon to drop a large bag of food stuff (uji, thank you,Ann ! beans, fat and flour ) next to the boundary fence,in a place we had agreed;these children will eat for a few days. But they are 150 of them. And what about next week?
We continue twice weekly with our feeding programme ; our generous young volunteers help us.
But for the first time,last week, I saw children fighting with young teenagers over bowls of food, -on their third helping- a look of single minded concentration and of raw ravenous despair in their gaunt faces.
I am so very conscious that this is only is a drop in an ocean. What more can we do?
What if the rains forget to come back?
I wash out of a mug, water collected from our springs, miles away.
Forget about showers and the utter luxury of a bath! Even in Nairobi taps are dry and electricity rationed.
You who live in the Western world, please never take for granted a warm abundant soak in your tub…here water is strictly for drinking; we have locked all our toilets. A gang of local labour has dug dry pit latrines at our senior staff and volunteer camps… cannot waste water.
I am grateful for all your help, support and prayers.
Am asking the ones coming to the Sport for Peace day to PLEASE bring food, in kind.
Blessings to all,from a desperate Laikipia West.
Kuki and the Team of Laikipia Nature Conservancy.
SEPTEMBER 12TH 2009
25th July 2009
2009 LAIKIPIA HIGHLAND GAMES!
The LAIKIPIA HIGHLAND GAMES are on again!
The events are:
- 3000m – Men and women
- 1500m – Men and women
- 400m – Men and women
- Javelin – Men Only
- Long Jump – Men and women
- Football- Men only
- Volleyball- Men and women
- 100m– Men and women
- 4 x 100m Relay –Men and women
- Tug Of War- Men only
- Tribal games- Men and women
Additionally there will be a handicap race with a famous athlete.
A detailed program will be availed closer to the date.
Please contact us for any further details or queries and register your team/athletes with us before 1th September 2009.
Since the number of participants may have to be limited for reason of timing, kindly ensure your application is sent in promptly.
Bring your tent: Campsite with toilets and showers will be available.
Hire a tent: various options available at Tarpo, our appointed out fitters: Contact Vicky or Ruth 0737 958400/0722 204747
Ice cream, snacks and cash bar service will be available throughout, breakfast,lunch and dinner, by Thompsons Falls Lodge.
Come and join us!
12th August 2009
DOUBLE ELEPHANT RESCUE
This baby boy elephant- possibly a couple of weeks a old-if this- was found abandoned, alone and derelict by one of our patrols at Marati Mbili.
They gave him water and kept him company..after a time another herd came across….collected him..and off they happily went!
PHOTO: DANIELLE RENTZ
With the dry season it is at the springs that animals find the only water to drink; this tiny baby elephant – may be a week old – fell into a trough of Ol ari Nyiro Springs in the conservancy, where the rest of his herd was watering.
His distressed mother screams attracted one of our patrols
Out they took him….
Timing WAS everything!
Another happy ending in one week!
FROM LAIKIPIA NATURE CONSERVANCY
3RD AUGUST 2009
3rd August 2009
ALMOST OPEN AIR NURSERY
Really grim, with no crops this year again, maize shrivelled in the fields, no grass left outside the conservancy, no water in the dams dry, dry,dry…but with your help our works goes on.
Feeding, teaching, our thriving little nursery, eager children, preserving the wild, social work, and the boy Peter Kanyakera, now healed and learning to write!
We hosted for one week Psychologist Alessandra Tiengo of AFRICA SI’ with social worker Grace Amadi for advise on our nursery, and various women and girls groups for our women health project led by our volunteer Stephanie Beck-back here to help for the THIRD time.
There are many volunteers at our camp, which we have rejuvenated- major maintenance and upgrade!
My hand taking longer to heal than we thought-still in a cast- and I look forward to the time when I will be able to drive again and type with two hands…
I spotted two wild dogs at dusk stalking buffalo calves…. a rare sight. Lots of elephants and lions around.
…and so life goes on and we are up to the hundreds challenges.
With gratitude for your support,
in Laikipia Nature Conservancy
30TH jULY 2009
30th June 2009
A happy day.
We have today started our nursery school (attended routinely by their mothers too) for twenty of the poorest of our children neighbours.
They are also part of our ongoing (since January) food relief and health programme. For a time now we monitored their improved health progress. They are now clear of parasites and infections.
From Monday to Friday this will work for these 3/5 years old clever urchins.
On weekends it will revert to the usual environmental local schools visits, although this had to be scaled down a bit for budget constraints.
Our security and Antipoaching need to be improved.
The nursery teachers are Eunice and Lillian, both formerly sponsored GMF students. Ann Owor is a volunteer social worker on attachment, and Wanjiku our Community Liaison Officer.
The rest in pics are driver Robert, cook Jackson, and house maids Ruth and Carol, and our special Ali, now skilled community helper….and photographer in some of the photo.
Our old lorry/bus decked up with cheerfulf flags went to fetch them at our Eastern gate…First time in a vehicle!
All were singing.
oops a bit blurred and squiff, taken with one hand only…!!
The taller boy with crutches is Peter Kanyakera, less than ten years old, whose femur was broken by a buffalo,when he was grazing illegally his father’s cattle at night inside the Conservancy and he was found next day by our rangers. Operated and now on the mend he is learning to read and write and we will send him to school. He cannot stop smiling..(well,no one could!!)
The programme is a balanced mixture of play, food, fun and learning, with lots of environmental games. A nutritious snack, and then lunch is included.
I could not stay very long since my hand is not yet ok, and bumpy drive was painful, but was there to be part of this wonderful new beginning.
Eunice and Lillian report Day One was a terrific success!!
With love and gratitude
June 30th 2009
22th June 2009
On with a smile..
My dear Friends,
I am typing this rather awkwardly with one hand-and I better get used to get on with it, since for over a month I shall have to carry a plaster-assuming the swelling in my hand has subsided by tomorrow and the open wound healed enough so the doctor can be able to set my left hand.
As some of you know from word of mouth and the media (and thanks and blessings from the heart for the messages, flowers, visits, prayers, calls, sms and emails so many of you sent me) on the 14th June, last Sunday in the evening I was attacked in the Conservancy while alone in my car by seven men on a mission to kill, as a revenge for my involvement in anti-poaching efforts and attempts to break into the illegal ivory and rhino horn trade.
The attack – fortunately – was opportunistic – neither they nor I knew I would suddenly bump across this scouting group in the middle of one of our tracks. I had discovered and exposed a close link between different groups, illegal grazers, poachers and brokers and traders, but this is another story.
It was unfortunate that at the time I had not with me the 3 security people the Government has given me for protection. I was looking for a place where I could get phone/radio reception to raise alarm on herds of cattle illegally grazing we had come across – and left the AP to guard these.
I was hit several times, first in the neck, and then the left hand I used to shelter my head was shattered from blows with poles, fence posts and rocks they threw. Miraculously I at last managed to insert the first gear with the good hand and drove over a mile before losing consciousness; when I came to I raised the alarm and help from my security staff and the wonderful and most efficient Kenya Wildlife Services team stationed on the conservancy came immediately to my rescue.
Thank you to all.
So I am very lucky and if bones are broken, my spirit is certainly not.
To see my daughter’s Sveva’s face, in tears, looking down at me when I emerged from anaestesia – is a memory I shall carry with me for ever. I had no idea that as she heard the news in the UK, she had boarded a plane and gone straight to Heathrow, only with her hand bag, to be with me. My child!!
So, more importantly, we get on with our work. Kids feeding, relief food, education, wildlife etc etc and this new project initiated 2 weeks ago: Pokot women adult literacy class!
This is ongoing and more and more women want to join. Teacher employed and open air lessons!!
Our nursery class is also about to begin: we fixed the old bus, decked it with cheerful flags, got a driver, two nursery teachers, and kids in meantime have been medically attended to, to rid them of all the various infections etc they were found to be suffering from. New clothes issued and soap to mothers to wash them with; uji feeding and uji issued – thank you Ann/Jacintha!!- to mothers to feed them daily prior to school beginning that we have now decided will be 29th June.
We hope to have some milk donated for their school meals at some stage.
Life goes on and I look forward to the challenge!
With love and blessings to you all
from Laikipia Nature Conservancy
22 June 2009
5th June 2009
THE LOST POKOT BOY: Rescue in the Bush Part 1
This boy’s name is Peter Kagnakera; he is from the tribe of Pokot and he is (he thinks) ten years old.
Two of our rangers found him mid-May -last month-, at high noon, below a bush in the open savanna, where he had been sent to herd cattle illegally by his father at night.
He had been attacked by a buffalo, and his upper thigh was fractured.
He had spent the night alone, practically naked, with no food nor water, at the mercy of the wild animals.
It is a total miracle that our rangers, not a Hyena, found him first. That he survived the night.
The rangers carried him to their patrol base and called me on the radio. I was in the Kutwa hills at the opposite side of the conservancy where a patrol had heard shots and found the spoor of a wounded elephant.
I drove back the 45km to my house at great speed to get bandages, rough splinters, painkillers and hot sweet tea.
The Eastern Pokot gate is another 10 km away. By now it was 4 p.m.
He was painfully thin, bruised, in shock, clearly in great pain, incredibly brave. He spoke no Swahili.
His femur was shattered.
I tried my best, bandaged him as tight as I could to immobilise his joints on the bumpy road .
We sent for his family, but could not find anyone.
A young man and a girl with a baby -an older sister- in the end came.
Trussed up and covered in a blanket strapped to my back seat I drove him another 20km to the Ol Moran mission clinic, but…
..as I was driving, half way through, the sky darkened dramatically and torrents of rain -the FIRST rain at last!- soon flooded the track – water poured in the open car from every where, the road was tricky, slippery, full of huge puddles filled with mud, the car finally slid into a submerged hole and got stuck.
It took us hours to get out, and finally reached the mission in the dark,soaked to the bone.
Italian doctors took over, efficient sisters-great relief.
On this fateful day – that may well have changed his life – Peter went for the first time in a car, had his first injection, ate his first banana, saw his first electric light, and spent the first night of his life in a proper bed.
5th June 2009
THE LOST POKOT BOY: Rescue in the Bush Part 2
That was three weeks ago…
I sent Peter by car to The North Kinangop Hospital – the best one before Nairobi – escorted by our volunteer and sponsored student Eunice Too – a wonderful girl, who speaks some Pokot. He was xrayed, and eventually operated on by a specialist; after a successfull post-operation period of three weeks, today Peter has been discharged from the North Kinangop Hospital.
Eunice went to pay the bill, and to get him in a car.
I could not believe the change. He had a huge grin on his face. He is walking with crutches.
We bought him new clothes.
He has learnt some Kiswahili and has put on weight; he has made friends.
He will stay with us at the Wilderness Centre -looked after by Eunice Too and Lillian Chepkemboi, who has joined our team as a nursery schoolteacher – until he gets better.
We are going to teach him to read and to write.
10th June 2009
THE LOST POKOT BOY: Rescue in the Bush Part 3
In just over two days-!
Peter,who has not stopped smiling since he came back and is incredibly eager to learn, has learnt to count to 10 (in English) and to write his name.
At last we found his parents, and today he met his mother (a strong woman) and father (a known trespasser, drunkard and no good) and some of the relatives who walked to our A9 gate, and were astonished to see the difference.
He was terrified we would send him back, and begged through an interpreter to be allowed to stay.
The fact that he survived a terrifying ordeal must mean something.
I asked, and was granted the permission of looking after him and sending him to school!
We asked his mother to come and see him here every week until he returns to hospital for a check up in two months time.
Thank you and will keep you updated.
from Laikipia Nature Conservancy,
30th May 2009
KIDS CLINIC & FEEDING: PART 2
WIth the most generous support – for the second time – from the Kenya Red Cross, this weekend we were able to give relief food to over 1500 people at 5 stations totalling our effort so far to over 18.000 people.
In several GMF vehicles, with our faithful team,we transported the food up to hilltops and through savannah!
On behalf of the Laikipia West, East Pokot, Mwenje, Ol Moran and Tugen people, thank you all!
in Laikipia Nature Conservancy
30th May 2009
4th June 2009
VOLUNTEER DOCTORS FROM USA
This week we hosted 29 USA volunteer doctors, mostly dentists to help with the community!!
Ol Moran: patients waiting to be seen by the volunteers doctors at our clinic
Dr.W.B. Williams and the impressive array of equipment set up in the grounds of our Health Centre by the Usa volunteers
4th June 2009
KIDS CLINIC & FEEDING: PART 1
A spray of rain,a large shower, than back with high winds,hope shattered…
The last three weeks have been so eventful that it is hard to know where to begin: lets start with the kids clinic.
Noticing the children we regularly feed are not healthy-a combination of poverty, hunger,lack of anything basic-we decided to combine a feeding morning with a throurough health check,including blood test and weight record, and the photo below are self explanatory.
We are grateful to Sister Alice and Nurse Ruth of the Ol Moran Mission for having volunteered their time and expertise.
We are immensely grateful to our volunteer team and staff-now veterans in feeding and caring- for their selfless help and dedication.
With your support we have purchased all the medicine, all the children have a health card,and we shall in future combine feeding with medical checks regularly.
All children were found to suffer from:
Malnutrition, anoemia, diarroea, skin infections,lung infections, stomach and intestinal parasites.
We are determined to do all we can to improve their conditions.
We cannot change everything but we can make a difference for our smaller neighbours.
Thank you for your help and support and
God Bless you all
In Laikipia Nature Conservancy
End of May 2009
22nd May 2009
Brilliant Outcome of the Laikipia Highlands Games 2008
Agnes Epeyok of the Turkana from the small village of Mwenje- who won the 100 metres sprint and the 400 metres- and Jacob Kurere of the Tugen from Ol Arabel- who won the 100 metres and the long jump, were spotted at our inaugural Laikipia Highlands Games in October 2008 by Olympic Committee of Kenya observers- and identified as promising athletes.
At this time they are spending one month training with Olympic coaches, at the famous Kipchoge Keino High Altitude Performance Centre in Eldoret as their guests- a terrific incentive and a huge compliment to our young new venture.
Congratulations Agnes and Jacob!
…and thank you our supporters, sponsors and friends.
See you all back in Laikipia Nature Conservancy for
The Laikipia Highlands Games (Sport for Peace) 2009
20th September 2009
SAVE THE DATE!
On behalf of the Great Rift Valley Trust and of The Gallmann Memorial Foundation
PS….and we are proceeding with planned Sport stadium / arena for the village of Kinamba / Ngarua!
The day that changed everything…
Agnes and Jacob about to depart for their great adventure,in Eldoret !
…..and back,a month later- a new confidence!!
10th May 2009
STILL NO RAIN
Clouds come and do not stop in a torrid sky.The rains have forgotten Laikipia, and Baringo, and Samburu in Northern Kenya and the East Rift Valley this year.Fields already ploughed and planted wait for rain,hope of next crops already gone.
It is now seven months-since October 2008-, since it last rained here.
In other parts of Kenya, destructive floods ravage the country side.
For the first time in 35 years, Paolo’s dam is dry and there is no water at all at Kuti. A bucket of spring water carried for miles and a mug in my bath.
Most lakes have dried out.Although drier than it has ever been,at night buffalo and elephants still come to my garden.Warthogs kneel on remnants of a lawn, and a thousands birds fly to the birds bath I keep filling, during the day.
What I began on the spur of the moment, and thought was going to be as short time emergency measure to help my starving neighbours in Mid January 2009, has now by May, become an ongoing committement.
On every weekend we feed now hundreds of children at different gates.They begin to gather hours earlier; they come with their bowls, they start eating when still walking, and sit quietly on the dust.
These photo talk for themselves.
Thank you for your friendship and support as we try to overcome.
With special blessings,
2nd May 2009
Feeding the Children
As rains ominously refuse so far to come to us, droughts ravage the country, food prices skyrocket and hunger bites, we keep feeding the women and children in any way we can.
The signs of malnutrition are now very visible in the small children.
Seriously, politely, they queue to wash their hands before eating their mandazi and biscuits (a novelty, a luxury: water is only for drinking- soap, an unheard of extravagance); in almost total silence they drink their nutritious Uji-thank you!-,which we serve at least twice round each time, knowing that this is likely going to be their only meal in days.
The other day I brought a foot ball…the spirit changed immediately, and they were children again.
At the end,they sang.
Wish could do more, doing what we can. Our loyal staff has renounced weekends rest now since January to be part of this.
We have an ongoing feeding plan for the small ones that will continue even once- WHEN..?- the drought ends.And are starting TWO nurseries:one,- ready to go, finalising interviews-for our western, mostly Turkana neighbours, and one-outdoor!- for the immediate eastern Pokot at their request: and…an adult literacy class twice weekly for my Pokot women friends, basic (sign their names, recognise numbers and distinguish money,hygiene etc), for their pride. None of their men are literate.
On the other hand- poaching and armed incursions…the order of the day. And night.
So, we try to cope. One step at the time.
Thank you for your help, your support and friend ship,
Simply- we could not do any of it alone.
With gratitude and blessings
Laikipia Nature Conservancy,
1st May 2009
….and hay bales for the pastoralists in full swing by hand x 30 women employed.
7th April 2009
Arson in Ol ari Nyiro
My comparative silence and lack of reply to your mails over last week or so is due to one simple reason: sheer physical exhaustion.
We have continued with our feeding programme, and during two days week end managed to feed a record over 2000 people with massive rations at 5 stations, supported this time by the Kenya Red Cross-a great compliment and tribute to us-to which we are extremely grateful, on behalf of our poorest neighbours.
This was an incredible exercise and at every station women burst into spontaneous songs of jubilation.
As this was going on, flames were spotted in our Sambara forest.
Soon the entire valley was on fire- and it was obviously arson.We barely managed to save the lodge.
From Intelligence reports we found those responsible are a small group of identified poachers, determined to destroy this place in retaliation for information on their misdeeds and whereabout, which I have provided as a Honorary Game Warden to KWS and police.
Now outcast and unable to return to their homes they are vagrant time bombs.Their main system-in addition to fuel and match- is to set long lines of lit elephants dung amongst the dry and inflammable lelechwa shrubs;the dry wind does the rest.
All our staff and myself worked days and nights without stop for over ten days trying to rescue what we could, and unprecedented help came : hundreds of youth of the communities we have been feeding for over three months now,including children, came to the rescue in massive numbers working selflessly along side our staff to put out continuous fires, lit maliciously in different parts of the conservancy: as soon as we managed to put off one, two more were started.
We lost most fencing around our rhino sanctuary, staff houses, and thousands of acres of invaluable bush, grass land, savannah bush and trees hundreds of years old.We managed to save-just, -so far-most of Enghelesha, the poachers prime target.
As the grass and the bush will re-grow, I shall not see the re-grown trees in my life time, and I cry for the small creatures whose habitat has been destroyed: the birds and the insects and the rare butterflies, the small rodents and the snakes.
For over ten desperate days we have been fighting this horror.
Fortunately, major support came also from the Kenya Wildlife Services and a very efficient platoon was stationed with us who provided invaluable help.
Eventually I appealed to the British Army Training Unit (BATUK) in Nanyuki, begging for a grader to help us save the unique bio-diversity hotspot of the Enghelesha forest, the only relic forest remaining now in this region-home to endemic species of insects, Colobus monkeys and rare birds..-and their response was immediate, generous and efficient: twenty youth and trainer arrived to our rescue, followed by a massive grader that is still at work to cut fire breaks around the most vulnerable areas and through the forest .
Breaking us will need some work, however, and we are re- grouping, looking ahead determined not to let go.
Yesterday we managed to arrest one of the poachers-part of a gang responsible also for the killing of several rhinos in a neighbouring conservancy-,and ambushes are set up at this time.
At this testing time I would like to send a word of grateful thanks to all who have been helping and for the hundreds messages of solidarity,encouragement and friendships I have received from Kenya and around the world.
On behalf of the staff and team of the Laikipia Nature Conservancy and of myself personally,
Thankyou, my friends, from the bottom of my heart.
We shall never forget the ones who have been holding our hands at this very difficult, shattering time.
My committement to protect this place with every means, and to feed my neighbours, is undaunted.
God bless you all
in Ol ari Nyiro,
Laikipia Nature Conservancy
April 7th 2009
15th March 2009
Feeding day 11th on 15th/3/2009…
Hallo dear friends and supporters,
still no sign of rain and high winds here.
Ann Gloag came to our tenth feeding (496 people) at the East Pokot gate -was very moved- and donated 1000 loaves of bread, flown up by her Bosky charter!
..so, with your help, we bought more milk,maize,beans and with the donated Nestle’ Nido and Tropical Heat crisps, on Sunday fed more people -514 Pokot women and children and elders-at our Nagum North East gate:
Thank you for your support, and God Bless!
In Laikipia Nature Conservancy
15th March 2009
15th March 2009
10th Major Feeding
No rain in sight in Western Laikipia and East Pokot and the situation is becoming desperate.
EAST POKOT A 8 GATE:
Yesterday 14th March with your support we fed
Milk,maize, beans purchased and transported -and fried mandazi cooked- with your donations,
powder milk donated by Nestle
broken crisps donated by Tropical Heat
292 women and infants, 204 children = 496 people
For as long as our resources and food-stock last,we are committed to continue the feeding of the poorest of our neighbours:
Thank you for your support and God Bless
from Laikipia Nature Conservancy,
Western Laikipia/East Pokot
11th March 2009
Hallo my friends!
As the drought gets worst and no rain in sight yet, we keep going.
This afternoon, the 10th of March 2009 with your help we fed Posho Milk and Biscuits to another 112 Children at our Ol Moran gate, and distributed assorted food to their mothers. More on the week end.
Bless you all, and we shall keep you updated.
With gratitude on their behalf
in Laikipia Nature Conservancy
23rd February 2009
Famine in Kenya
My very special Friends,
It was meant to be our 5th Great Rift Valley Earth Festival -the 21st February 2009.
We were all looking forward to this time of fun, music, fantasy, and celebration.
But then, we thought about it:
With 10 millions Kenyans facing starvation, a tragic famine ravaging the country, Kenya’s food reserves and stores empty, maize becoming rare and prices of food skyrocketing, teachers striking and in so doing depriving young children of their one basic meal per day, we felt we should instead dedicate this weekend to feeding the poorest and most vulnerable of our neighbours.
I had began early, single handed, doing as much as I could.
Then I shared this idea-and photo of those early food distributions – with our trustees and some of you.
The support, the response was overwhelming.
There is more and more, today, this feeling of not allowing fate to overcome us.
More and more we understand that we can take action to reverse trends. We can roll our sleeves and get down to work.
We really can not stand by, look to the other side, wait for something unlikely to happen, and allow children to suffer and die of hunger, not today, not if we can do anything about it.
It is our business.
We can change things.
My Nairobi house became a sort of depot…donations in cash and kind were received not just from the most generous friends, but also from people I never met.
I was deeply moved by this show of trust and human solidarity and the implied message: the dreadful images that have haunted everyone from daily papers had motivated people to do something to help and they wanted to ensure that the food went straight where it was meant to go, to the desperate people in the field.
We did just this, and will be doing so for as long as our food reserves and sponsorship will last.
With your help, 764 children and 532 adults women and elders (1296 souls without counting the babies) were fed and given food to carry away, between Saturday and Monday 21st/23rd February by our staff and volunteers as Laikipia Nature Conservancy came to a stand still and all our energies were directed to just cook and transport food, distribute food and feed the hungry at 4 main feeding points.
From the bottom of our hearts, on behalf of the children and women and elders of Western Laikipia and Eastern Pokot and East Baringo/Tugen, we would like to thank you all for making this possible.
God bless you,
on behalf of the Gallmann Memorial Foundation and of The Great Rift Valley Trust
in Laikipia Nature Conservancy,
21st/23rd February 2009
24th February 2009
ELEFANTI IN GIARDINO!!
The male elephant ” Enghelesha” collared by Save the Elephants team in Laikipia Nature Conservancy in August 2007,has spent the last three nights in Kuki’s garden!
Undeterred by any attempt to remove him,by siren,shouts and any conceivable sounds, Enghelesha-having gone through our STONE wall, has spent all nights around the fish pond,and has slowly wondered off at sunlight.”
Google image and details courtesy of Dr.Iain Douglas- Hamilton and Save the Elephants
17th January 2009
2009 EARTH FESTIVAL POSTPONED
DUE TO THE PROTRACTED TRAGIC DROUGHT SITUATION WHICH HAS RESULTED IN A NATIONAL EMERGENCY AND WIDE SPREAD FAMINE ACROSS THE COUNTRY, THE TRUSTEES OF THE GREAT RIFT VALLEY TRUST AND OF THE GALLMANN MEMORIAL FOUNDATION AFTER CONSIDERATION HAVE RESOLVED TO REGRETFULLY POSTPONE THIS YEAR’S EARTH FESTIVAL 2009, TO A MORE APPROPRIATE TIME FOR KENYA.
WE HAVE INSTEAD PURCHASED SEVERAL TONS OF MAIZE, AND ARE COLLECTING FOODSTUFF THAT WILL BE DISTRIBUTED AMONGST OUR NEIGHBOURS OF WEST LAIKIPIA AND EAST POKOT STARTING FROM THE END OF JANUARY 2009.
On behalf of the Great Rift Valley Trust and of the Gallmann Memorial Foundation
at Laikipia Nature Conservancy
17th January 2009