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25
Feb

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 info@samburutrust.org or make contact with Sam (US) or Alun (UK)

also check out our donate page to donate online.

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24
Feb

Ch. 34: Finally a system for water that works

In the arid north of Kenya water means life.

There is no explicit ownership of land and water for the Samburu. In theory any stockowner has a right to live with whom he pleases where he pleases. Certain areas are associated with certain clans but anyone is free to migrate to these places. This is our land, they say, it belongs to us all.

The Waso River has been the main source of water into northern Kenya for hundreds of years.  Changing weather patterns, development and irrigation up stream now means that this is no longer a river – more of a seasonal river, which dries during drought years and floods during the rainy season.

Our aim is to provide clusters of water – building a sustainable network of reservoirs throughout the region.

More

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24
Feb

Ch. 33: Locals defend poached elephant in gunfight

 

The Chaiman of Kipsing Trust explains an extraordinary change of attitudes towards wildlife and poaching in the area. He invited me to meet and reward two elders from Sieku valley, Kipsing.

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Chairman of Kipsing Community Trust with his head Warrior Scout

I tagged along and sat with them as the Chairman thanked them for what they had done by slaughtering a goat for us all to share.

The elders told us their story;
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09
24
Feb

CH.32 : 10 Years, 7 eye camps, 507 eyes

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We started with a simple goal; to improve the lives of our Samburu neighbours.
In just over 10 years our small and energetic team have returned sight to more than 500 people.

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Eye Camps Overview 2014

 
- Julia Francombe
 
 
 
Very few of us ever stop to think how lucky we are to wake up each morning with our eyes. Watch our children play or see the sunrise.

In Samburuland community life is still very strong and everyone is carefully taken care of. The children lead and care for the blind. When an adult loses their sight – a child loses their childhood.
More

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20
Nov

CH.30: A FORMER POACHER’S MESSAGE

Please look at our glossary of Samburu words to the right for definitions of Samburu terms and click back through previous Chapters (below right) to understand more about the Samburu.

It started with reports of gunshots from across the river. A huge male elephant shot in the eye. This was the first of eleven elephant to lose their lives.

Once again the illegal trade of ivory is affecting the lives of the Samburu people – threatening their future and lands for generations to come.

More

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13
Mar

CH.28: THE JOURNEY IN TO KIPSING

Please look at our glossary of Samburu words to the right for definitions of Samburu terms and click back through previous Chapters (below right) to understand more about the Samburu.

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A letter from Chariman Lenayasa Liberuni (above) in gratitude to our donor for the Kipsing region of Samburuland;

I as the Kipsing Chairman first greet you.  All you have done for Narrapu Kipsing up to this far since you started was a great help to the Kipsing Community.

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21
Nov

CH.26: SALANGO – OPEN WATER RESERVOIRS

Walking across the open plains of Kirimon the vast expanse stretches off into haze, undercutting the hills to the north and making them levitate in the heat on the horizon.


1.a moran on the savannah of the laikipia plateau

This beautiful savannah lies on the edge of the Laikipia plateau in Samburuland, and a dramatic escarpment that drops and undulates towards the Waso Ngiro river, the lifeblood of the Samburu.

Along this volcanic plateau you find natural depressions, gradual slopes that interrupt the plain and signify the oncoming descent.

More

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11
Oct

CH.24: A SCHOOL BLESSING

Last Chapter we told Julia’s story of the Trust Nomad Education Program. To follow up this week we’ve put together some footage we took of elders blessing a new eco-school in 2011.


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The school is in the Kalwalash area of Kipsing in Samburuland and shows the elders blessing the school a few days before it opens. One senior elder is calling the blessing, with everyone replying ‘ngai’ which means god.

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4
Oct

CH.23: NOMAD EDUCATION

Trust founder Julia Francombe has written this Chapter to tell us her story of how the Trust started its nomad education program and some background on how it works.
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The drought in northern Kenya lasted longer than 2 years – the men and warriors left the main homesteads to take their dying herds further afield looking for pasture. It was a terrible time – starving people and mountains of dying cattle.

More

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2
Aug

CH.20: TRUST EYE CAMPS

Narrapu – A Samburu word for improvement or uplifting.

Project Narrapu represents a holistic and innovative approach to a troubled and remote area of Kenya.

Its aim is to transform the lives of its community in the areas of;

Security – Of property, livelihood, environment and wildlife.

Education – A network of nomadic schools being a highly effective education system for tribal children.

Prosperity – With improved access to clean water for people, livestock and wildlife.

Health – Through better access to health services, and support for health crises and epidemics.

There are many programs in operation by the Trust under the umbrella of Project Narrapu, some are in development and others are stretching successfully into their second or third decades.

This week we’re going to begin a regular look at these programs, beginning with one of our oldest and most life changing, The Trachoma Eradication Program, initiated to combat a debilitating and easily preventable eye infection called Trachoma.

More

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3
Jul

CH.17: THE IVORY BONFIRE

This week we are happy to be able to share a guest post from Kenya Wildlife Service honorary warden Colin Francombe.

Colin has been living in Northern Kenya for 50 years and is a devoted conservationist. His knowledge of the Samburu and their ecosystem is encyclopaedic and he is highly respected amongst the Samburu as an elder of the Kimaniki age group.

In 1989 Kenya took a stand by burning its ivory stockpiles, worth millions of dollars, in the hope that other countries would follow suit and prevent the African elephant from extinction. This statement strengthened the newly formed CITIES total ban on ivory trade, collapsing the market on ivory and allowing the Elephant to recuperate.

In 1997 the total ban was lifted to allow experimental trade with China and Japan, now blamed for fueling a market that has seen a population of 300,000 African Elephants dwindle to an approximate 20,000, facing local extinctions all over Africa.

Colin was instrumental in the kind of action that these Elephant now desperately need once again if they are to survive, and this week he shares with us his tale of the Ivory Bonfire:
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10
May

CH.13: ELEPHANT POACHING 2

Three weeks ago we told the story of a poached elephant and a little about the devastating rise in ivory trade. This week we tell you the fate of the mother’s missing orphan.

A couple of weeks had passed since we lost the trace of the orphan. There had been one small shower, not enough to nourish the land, but enough to completely wipe any baby elephant tracks in the area it was last seen.

Rising early Talis and I walked to the luga to redig a well. Around midday we walked to the point where it meets the Waso river and came across some morani. These Morani had come from further north and were walking to soko (markets) which were taking place the next day about half a day’s walk away. They told us a young baby had been spotted with a herd way north on the Waso. We knuckled down to walk through the intense heat of the afternoon.

More

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18
Apr

CH.10: ELEPHANT POACHING 1


1. two bullets on a poached Elephant’s skin, one unspent round used as an example provided by a KWS ranger for the photo and one recovered from the Elephant in autopsy

This is a personal account of an Elephant that was poached while
I was living with Talis in Waso, and the search for her orphaned calf.

We heard from one of our wildlife monitors that an Elephant had been poached near the Sieku valley. Our monitors are trained to check for breast milk that would indicate that her calf may be too young to survive alone with the herd.

We arrived and were shown the body of the mother. She was lying under a tree next to a gulley and her body had already had signs of hyena trying to feed on her the night before.

More

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14
Mar

CH.5: NOSOKONI’S ELY ATTACK

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.

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15
Feb

CH.1: INTRODUCTION

THE CHAPTERS

This is our thank you to our donors for years of generosity.

Also, this is an introduction for many who have never heard of the Trust or even the Samburu before.

Most importantly this is for the Samburu, the semi-nomadic warriors of Kenya’s Northern Desertlands, as a fundraising tool for their benefit. We have named it after the Waso, the major river system in Northern Kenya and the lifeblood of the Samburu.

What we want to do with these posts is introduce you to the Samburu through long-form blog posts about aspects of their way of life; creative impressions from personal experiences with close friends, moraani (warriors) and mamas (married women) alike.

These Chapters will be weekly, in between general Trust news posts. There is a glossary on the right with Samburu terms that we will add to as we go on.

Please Donate!

Also send us your feedback, share these Chapters (and Trust work) with friends and family (every ad click is a donation).

Editors
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WASO CHAPTER 1: INTRO TO THE SAMBURU & WASO

Please look at our glossary of Samburu words to the right for definitions of Samburu terms.
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Waso is an area of semi-arid desertlands in southern Samburuland, the vast tribelands of the Samburu of Northern Kenya. Dotted with small hills and snaked by the Waso river, it is surrounded by hills and mountains to the South and West, and in the North and East it stretches into the desert.

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