YOU CAN’T TALK ‘CONSERVATION’ UNTILL YOU’VE DEALT WITH THE NEEDS OF THE PEOPLE LIVING THERE!!

The Milgis Trust was started because this forgotten and totally unique part of the world needed some sort of protection.. The forests were burning and the Wildlife was disappearing!…. All sadly caused by humans… I’ve written plenty of blogs on the issue!!   BUT Its difficult to talk to a thirsty man in the desert about conserving the land, actually even crazier ‘his’ land!,  without quenching his thirst first.. this is our MILGIS ‘Motto’…. I heard somebody ask our manager MOSES SUPUKAN LESOLOYIA an interresting question the other day!..How many scouts do you employ!?? oh he said “probably over 5000 more even”  the person was taken aback for a moment..  He went on to explain!.. “YES, We employ over 60 scouts and informers to protect the wildlife, the environment, and the people way of life, but actually through our programmes any one who benefits becomes part of the team!! So we have many many ambassadors to protect our heritage now!!.. We have so much going on up there behind the scenes!!

We thank so many people for helping us make this happen, including even the people who come on safari to enjoy it!!

So of late this is whats been going on…

WATER IS LIFE!!

The people of Lekerei were very lucky to be given this water.. Thanks to the ……..Familly in memory of their daughter Maria Annette

The people of Lekerei were very lucky to be given this water.. Thanks to the Ofstad Family from Norway in memory of their daughter Maria Annette

1.. Lekeri water project.. Co funded by the Ofstad family and VOSS foundation in memory of Maria Annette.

Lekeri water project.. Co funded by the …..family and VOSS foundation  in memory of Maria Annette..

The well..

2.. Kileswa.. Not far back we recieved a message from the people in Kileswa.. Please PLEASE come to help with our water situation.. WE ARE DIEING!! But now all is well.. they are all very happy!

the north/West side of the ndoto mountains.. this is such a beautiful place, but no water..

On the North/West side of the Ndoto mountains lies this beautiful Valley.. this is such a beautiful place, but no water..

The residents of Kileswa live in one big boma because the security there is very poor

Early morning, in Kileswa… The residents here  live in one huge boma because the security here is very poor

Grevy's Zebras of which there are plenty here, can come to the trough to drink at night, if theres no other water around..

not far over athe ridge is the original Grevy’s Zebras land,  the Elbarta plains! There are plenty here, but water in the dry season is very scarce, near the borehole there is a trough for them to drink at night.. and somebody makes sure it filled!!

Kileswa bore hole, now using some solar panels to take the water out to the village and school.. before the generator had no oil in it!  THANK YOU VOSS FOUNDATION!!!

Kileswa bore hole, now using solar panels to take the water out to the village and school.. before the generator had no oil in it! THANK’S to VOSS FOUNDATION!!!

the kileswa school.. no not built by the milgis we would not put corrugated iron in such a beautiful place

The Kileswa school.. NO..  not built by the Milgis we would not put corrugated iron in such a beautiful place

3.. Sidai water project funded by Marwell wildlife, for the community and the Grevy Zebra when times are hard and theres no other option for them to get to water.. As we all know theres very few of this beautiful Zebra.. infact between 2 to 3000 only in the whole world and it breaks one heart when they die of thirst.. We are working hard to avoid this again!..

this beautiful water project was funded by Marwell wildlife.. To help the people of Sidai and the Grevy Zebras!!

this beautiful water project was funded by Marwell wildlife.. To help the people of Sidai and the Grevy Zebras!!

In the dry times, the Grevy Zebras in Sidai area can not get to water at Arsim because theres too many people crowding the stream, so marwel wildlife kindly have supported building  this trough to help them get through the tough times.. the community use it in the day time the grevy's at night!

In the dry times, the Grevy Zebras in Sidai area can not get to water at Arsim because theres too many people crowding the stream, so Marwel wildlife also kindly have funded building this trough to help them get through the tough times.. the community use it in the day time, the grevy’s at night!

In collaboration with Marwell Wildlife, we are consolidating our presence in the Ndoto and Nyiru areas, and expanding our area of influence northwards towards the Mt Kulal area, including the Kaisut desert to the east, where there are significant populations of Golden Jackal, Cheetah, Grevy’s zebra, giraffe and oryx among other species.  Marwell, through Zeke,  already have some informer/scouts and equipment in place, as well as students working on the ground collecting data.

we are eternally grateful to  Marwell for loaning their landcruiser to the Milgis.. Today it is being used for a mobile clinic

We are eternally grateful to Marwell for loaning their landcruiser to the Milgis.. On this day it is being used for a mobile clinic

Water again!! Our tractor team works tirelessly digging pan dams to harvest the rain water.. It is extremely popular with the communities as the worst time of the year is the onset of the rains, when all the wells in the luggas are flooded with filthy water, and the animals are weakend by the cold and rain, and its tough for every one!.. Up to now the dam team have dug, expanded and desilted over 30 pan dams in the Milgis operating area..

this is one of the best things The M

this is one of the best things The Milgis has brought in!.. The Tractor team while working on a pan Dam on the Ilaut side of Poi .. The dam is now full of water thanks to fantastic rains recently!

Lastest Dam at Siangan,

Lastest Dam at Siangan, hopefully now full of water!!

MILGIS FUND RAISING FILM..  Jimmy Greenwood came up in March to make a film on the Milgis Work, which will first be shown for the ‘JUST AROUND THE NEXT CORNER’ Art auction which will be held in OSLO on the 31st of may.. raising funds for the Milgis, and water Projects..

Jimmy Greenwood and stef hard at work in Masikita

Jimmy Greenwood and stef hard at work in Masikita.. Lene Maria stands ‘proud’ in this village, the sign post of her portrait polished every day!

Our Lene Maria water project in Masikita has become well known.. it is so successful, with plenty of water for all.. (even the secondary school from Bandera, near Baragoi collect water from here!) We want to remind the Bergums and VOSS foundation that the people here are extremely grateful.. Not only for the water, but so many people have had their serious health problems sorted out, from (picture Below) Arian, who had a growth almost covering her eyes, and it was incredibly complicated to sort out, the Bergum family,  supporting the long and agonising ‘safari’ the whole way!.. Also Julius who lost an arm in an accident..!.. 3 years later he has a prosthetic arm and is in school!  while we were there… We also met a man who last year we flew to Wamba hospital after a car accident, in which he had ruptured his spleen, and nearly died, he came over to show us the ‘damage’!.. Then a woman who had a growth removed from her knee came walking swiftly up the main street to show us..  These people and many more had absolutely nowhere to turn to, so now, are real ambassadors  for our work!

Filming in Masikita, to make a fund raising film for the Just around the NEXT corner art auction in Oslo, at the end of may

Filming in Masikita, to make a fund raising film on the Milgis work, for the Just around the NEXT corner art auction in Oslo, at the end of May.. Jimmy and stef on the hill above Masikita

Arian and her happy mother!..

little arian had a very complicated operation on her face thanks to the generosity of the Bergums

little Arian had a very complicated operation on her face thanks to the generosity of the Bergums

The Milgis primary school has a new enthusiastic headmaster and some great new gov’t  teachers.. at last.. BUT we never forget The TOTO trust for their continual support to employ teachers, building and maintaining not only our Milgis school but many schools around!.. We really are grateful for this.. The first 7 out of 8 pupils last year in the area came from Milgis school!.. I think its because the class rooms are cool!

The Milgis school teachers.. We are delighted to have support from the government for our Milgis School now giving us 6 properly trained teachers, and toto Trust for their unbelievable support over the years for the teachers..

The Milgis school teachers.. We are delighted to have support from the government for our Milgis School now giving us 6 properly trained teachers..

Our mobile unit,  includes Nurse Rita, for health, Mary for family planning and Lpajas our animal health worker.. They travel far and wide to talk family planning, vet work and deal with health issues!.. Here they are about 20 kms south of Masikita with a very full days work!!

mary giving her family planning speel..

Mary giving her family planning speel.. Thank you Haller for your support in this important issue!

Efforts are continuously being made to reduce the increase in Human population and livestock, the current destructive issue of conflict must be addressed to prevent further loss of northern Kenya’s wildlife and forests.

mary showing the women the family planning bracelet

Mary showing the women the family planning bracelet

Rita running the mobile clinic, on the lower masikita lugga..

Rita runs the mobile team.. Thanks to Isabel and MEAK.. Rita’s work is paramount to our Milgis Motto.. Dealing with the needs before talking conservation!!

rita in her element

Rita in her element.. The unbelievable things she deals with with utmost confidence!

there goes a little family back home after being treated, the little girl on the left had been burn't on her leg..

there goes a little family back home after being treated, the little girl on the left had a nasty burn on her leg..  Grandmother left in charge of 4 children as the mother collects water and firewood

What do you do when you come across a person with a problem like tis.. you can not turn a blind eye, thanks to Susanne Garrison and Wana duma we can help..

What do you do when you come across a person with a problem like this.. you can not turn a blind eye, thanks to Susanne Garrison and Wana duma we have and will  help many people who have nobody else to turn to..

The Vet Programme.. Dogs are vitally important to the people living a nomadic life.  BUT sadly dogs are so often maligned and killed for not looking healthy, so with our animal health worker Lpajas we are deworming and injecting against rabies as many dogs as possible in the area!

Vaccinating and ensuring the health of domestic dogs can help save a family from rabies, help protect their livestock from predators and in doing so prevent the predators from being poisoned. This silent way of killing animals has to stop..

This Rendille girl trusts her dog abit more, but one of our aims is to try to help people beable to touch dogs with out the worry of catching rabies!

This Rendille girl trusts her dog abit more?! One of our aims is to try to help people be able to live with their dogs with out the worry of catching rabies!

Most of the people even though they need dogs for their survival are cautious of dogs, for one reason.. Rabies..

Most of the people even though they need dogs for their survival are cautious of dogs, for one reason.. Rabies..

The overall sustainable result of this project on top of rabies control would be a substantial reduction in human/wildlife conflict. This will be done by the dogs alerting their owners at their manyattas and when out grazing of approaching predators so the animal can be safely frightened away instead of being killed.

Vet.. recieving their certsificates Lpajas handing out certificates to the dog owners.. We have injected and dewormed well over 1000 dogs in the last year!

Two dogs that seriously need a worming ang rabies will save them from being blugeoned or stonned..

Two dogs that seriously need a worming!..  Also anti rabies will save them from being blugeoned or stoned, when they probably just need a square meal!

poor little dog, but once the communitie's know they won't catch rabies they can trust their dogs much more,..

poor little dog, but once the communitie’s know they won’t catch rabies they can trust their dogs much more,..

injecting rather wild dogs, is quite a challenge, but Lpajas and Amos have found a good system, it may look cruel, but some of these dogs are vicious!!

injecting rather wild dogs, is quite a challenge, but Lpajas and Amos have found a good system, it may look cruel, but some of these dogs are vicious!!

Sponsor Programme.. The government has somehow managed to achieve their goal in getting most people through primary school, but what do most of these kids do next, especially the ones from poor families.. VOSS foundation again through bringing their supporters to open water projects started this initiative and have helped so many children with good grades go to secondary school!..

This young lad had lost both his parents, and was living with his grandmother in Wamba, but when she fell ill, and eventually died in his arms, he was destitute, so he turned to the Milgis for help..

This young lad is thin because he was hungry!.. I took him on a safari just so he could make abit of money to feed himself…  thanks to Kijani Kenya Trust who has kindly sponsored 4 children to go to secondary school this year we are extremely grateful to Lis woods for this support

This young lad is thin because he was hungry!.. I took him on a safari just so he could make abit of money to feed himself… Thanks this year to Kijani Kenya Trust who has kindly sponsored 4 more children this year to go to secondary school we are extremely grateful to Lis woods for this support

Water again..VOSS foundation at Latakwen center..  a brand new tank replacing the one that had split in two.. Lazaro maintains all our water projects

New tank atlast at Latakwen.. The old one slt in two!!

New tank at last at Latakwen.. The old one split in two!!

a new nursary school in Noonchura..

The beautiful new nursary school in Noonchura, the community gathered to say a huge thank you to Susanne

The beautiful new nursary school in Noonchura, the community gathered to say a huge thank you to Susanne and ‘Wanaduma’ for this sweet classroom..

and finally back to more water in Mpagas on the lower Milgis..  Water in the dry times is really really hard work to find.. Wells are dug in the soft sand in the lugga, and can become very deep, and dangerous, (see the picture on my last blog of a close shave, on an Elephants part!)  Richard Gibson, a dairy farmer came out to make a film about different methods and experiences of cattle farming, (to cut a long story short), and found digging in the lugga ‘quite’ (understatement!) hard work, so before he left for wet old England he promised the community he would find a solution!  So heres the start of a big water project in Mpagas and Marti Dorop

Mpagas, this is where the bore hole will be dug to

Mpagas, this is where the bore hole will be dug.. On the opposite bank, in about 200 meters

Andre came up to see how feasable it would be to put a bore hole on theside of the Milgis Lugga, here he's trying to establish the main flow of the underground water!!

Andre Retief came up to see how feasable it would be to put a bore hole on the side of the Milgis Lugga, here he’s trying to establish the main flow of the underground water!!  He discovered its not here!!

Andre Retief calculating the depth of the water!!

But here.. 200 meters from the main lugga.. Now calculating the depth of the water!!

After divining for water and finding the best areas, the borehole people came to do the modern way of looking for water, which confirmed that our diviner Andre was right!!

After divining for water and finding the best areas, the borehole people came to do the modern way of looking for water, which confirmed that our diviner was right!!

The project is on going!!

Eco-screen, while out on our mobile clinics, we gather the people together to show them films..

Showing a movie to a community, Lesoloyia has to explain alot of what is being said because alot is so foreign

Showing a movie to a community, Lesoloyia has to explain alot of what is being said because alot is so foreign to them!

Many of the pastoralists are illiterate, and it can be difficult for them to understand certain conservation concepts and actions by simply trying to explain it to them. However, by showing them visually through film, they are able to see and so believe, and more easily conceptualise and understand what is meant. In addition, many of the younger generation have not seen certain wild animals that have disappeared from the area. Again, by simply describing these animals is difficult and doesn’t make sense to them but, by showing them film of the animals, makes them more easily conceived and understood.

The crowds gather to watch these conservation films .. We show all sorts of films kindly donated to us by Simon Trevor, and the Aeff

The crowds gather to watch these conservation films .. They love them! We show all sorts of films all kindly donated to us by various people, including well know film makers Mark and Vicky Deeble, and Simon Trevor, for the AEFF

Here I am sending a blog!  This is the reason blogs do not come very often,  this is the only place i get internet!.. And its not in Northern kenya, so excuse us that blogs are few and far between, but I try!!

Me sending a blog

Finally below when I’m not sitting on the roof writing emails and blogs, or dealing with some communities problems!

This is our life!!  Our camels heading down the Milgis Lugga

This is what we do when I'm not sitting on the roof writing emails and blogs!!

All this was born from these beautiful walking safaris we do through paradise and beyond.. Its now over 30 years I’ve been doing this!! I will never forget the first time I stepped foot in the Milgis Lugga and walked between these two amazing mountains.. The Ndotos and Lenkiyou (matthews)… This place is still as enthralling as ever with wildlife and people who evolved together, and live happily  and nothing should change this!!

again I apologise for the last blog on ‘Conservation’- 2 steps forward and sometimes 1 back’, as again it got published before I was ready! i am living and learning on this blogging stuff, I’ll get it right soon!! anyway the full blog is now up !!!

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4 thoughts on “YOU CAN’T TALK ‘CONSERVATION’ UNTILL YOU’VE DEALT WITH THE NEEDS OF THE PEOPLE LIVING THERE!!

  1. I LOVE reading your blogs Helen. It always brings back such fantastic memories. The photos are great and I admire your tenacity in getting to an internet connection. It is wonderful to see all the water projects and I can almost feel the relief those animals experience when they get a drink! As I have said before – you do INCREDIBLE work but are so lucky to live the life you do, uncluttered by phones, traffic, endless concrete and far too many people! I hope you have another 30 years of enjoying your life the way you do. x

  2. I am really touched by this blog…. Great efforts, tiresome work and marvellous deeds to better the lives of our communities. Thanks our mum Helen.

  3. Great work Helen and Pete and all
    By the way, did you know that Andrew is getting super fit to run in the Lewa 1/2 Marathon in June !!!! He was getting a little less agile in the last few years, but now with the children behind him, calling on a professional trainer to make sure he gets fit without injury he is excited about this great target which will be run for the benefit of the Milgis Trust !!!! How much will he and the children raise ????? Sorry that I will only be a spectator, but cheering all the way !
    xoxooooxoxoo love sophie

  4. Thank you for highlighting the most beautiful part of Kenya…aah the smell of acacia! I love Marsabit and the diversity of nature it offers. That bit about the corrugated sheets is excellent! How I wish our architects would have field school in the North to see what adapting designs to suit the environment means.

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