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!!
1.. Lekeri water project.. Co funded by the Ofstad family and VOSS foundation in memory of Maria Annette.
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!
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!..
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.
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..
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..
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!
Arian and her happy mother!..
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!
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!!
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.
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..
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.
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..
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
a new nursary school in Noonchura..
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
The project is on going!!
Eco-screen, while out on our mobile clinics, we gather the people together to show them films..
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.
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!!
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
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 !!!