samburu patterns
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Ch. 35: Day in the life of a Mama


We want to show everyone what it’s like to be one of the Mamas in our bead workshop. Our mamas live a tough life, one that they love, and in times of harsh drought when running a manyatta things can become extremely difficult.

So when we’re able to assist them by work together on beaded items using their incredible bead and colour skills, it can take a lot of pressure off them.


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Dermeras comes to Ol Malo to bead with us. Her children are all enrolled in our Nomad Schools on the ranch so they all come together each morning.


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A day will always start in the manyatta with hot, sweet tea made from cow, goat, or camel’s milk.


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Shortly after dawn the livestock are sent out with some of her older children who will spend the day grazing and protecting them.


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In times of severe drought her husband may have to take the cattle far away to look for pasture.


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In these times a manyatta can become very lean, with no milk and very little to live off. The extreme drought of 1999 is why we started our bead workshop, to provide responsible relief for these mamas and their children, who were malnourished and in danger of sickness.


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Dermeras and her kids meet up with another mama from a manyatta close by, who is coming into the workshop with her kids.


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Waiting for stragglers


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Arriving at the primary school


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All the kids waiting on the wall for their teacher to arrive


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The teacher cruises in!


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All kids do morning exercises before school to get their bodies and their brains working


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The older kids stay up at the top school while the rest of the group continues on down to the daycare and workshop


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Arriving at the daycare, a school for the younger kids


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The kids mill about waiting for their teacher to tell them they can go to the playground


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And they’re off!


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The playground is all made from found wood, with a huge jungle gym and a swing for two


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Meanwhile the mamas start their work


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All beading is done by hand with traditional materials and ancient techniques


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Today they are working on a new design with leather and beads.


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When it comes to midday another mama is making lunch for all the school kids, and all beading mamas too


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All the kids come down and have their lunch before heading back home in the hot sun


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If you wish to help
Please get in touch with us at or make contact with Sam (US) or Alun (UK)

also check out our donate page to donate online.

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Nosokoni was a little girl that was attacked by an elephant while collecting firewood.

This is the story of her ordeal and recovery as described by Julia Francombe, the founder of the Samburu Trust. This story was originally written by artist Annie Tempest, and has now been re-edited for the Waso Chapters.

Julia grew up in Samburuland, her parents Rocky and Colin run a private game ranch called Ol Malo that sits on the edge of the Laikipia Plateau in the remote desertlands of northern Kenya.

1. Nosokoni

On June 15th, 2000 some elders brought in a 6 year old girl to the ranch that had been crushed by an extremely large bull elephant.