It all started when Richard Gibson, a dairy farmer from Devon was chosen to be the star in the BBC programme ‘the toughest place to be a farmer ‘ .. He was brought out to this place called Mpagas where the Samburu and Rendille tribal people live.. Cattle are the favorite and most cherished animal of all livestock, but to keep a herd of cattle alive in this place you have to be pretty good!.. The star from Mpagas was a wonderful man, and respected cattle owner, called Lemirkishan and this great 1 hour film is all about life on the usually dry and hot banks of the Milgis Lugga, and how these guys manage their livestock !!
The two stars of the film.. Lemirkishan and Richard trying to have a conversation, mainly by hands and facial expressions as there was no common language between them!! Lemirkishan trying his best to tell Richard where to take the cattle for the day and where he will meet him to water them!!
We hung a white sheet on the side of the car to show the community the result of over 50 hours of filming.. Richard found life in the manyatta fasinating and every one so welcoming!
Showing the people in Mpagas the film .. toughest place to be a farmer!.. they laughed so much as Lemirkishan was a very good actor as was Richard and it was really fun.. Sept 14
BUT the most important thing in life.. WATER was really really difficult to find.. Heres Richard at the end of the film, after some hours of digging for water himself, to water the cattle!, making a promise to the communities in the region that he would do his best to raise money, enough to make at least the ‘water’ part of life easier!! He had absolutely no idea how hard that was going to be!.. Its been a LONG journey for all of us!
Richard genuinely saying back in 2012 that he would like to some how ease the water situation in the area that they made the film .. The toughest place to be a farmer was first shown on TV in March 2013
Lemirkishan refused for some reason to watch the film with the community, or maybe he was busy with his cattle who knows!, but he came to the camp and had his own personal showing.. He was absolutely delighted with the outcome!
The Milgis is the biggest lugga in Kenya and drains the South and East of the Kirisia hills, a huge part of Ol donyo lenkiyou (the Matthews range), and the Ndoto mountains.. A massive amount of water comes down when it rains up stream.. but when its not raining this is how the people living here find water…
This is how the communities generally get there water, and these can get incredibly deep and dangerous in the dry times.. Alot of work goes into digging these wells.. We do not want to stop this system on finding water its very important they continue with these.. Apart from any thing a pump can break down! BUT SO CAN THESE!! see below
the wells on the lower milgis trashed by the last flood..
dirty water flows down the lugga and these wells are unusable again, so they have to dig a new one..
These wells are also dangerous.. people can be caught down one un aware a flood is coming down, quite often its a person on their own who needs water, so nobody above to warn them.. these floods come extremely fast! like a tsunami.. But the worst problem is a thirsty elephant that thinks hell give it a go and have a drink.. in this case below, this elephant absolutely no way can he reach the water and just saved himself from slipping in but sadly that is not always the case as with the next few pictures show..
An Elephant nearly slipped head first into this 20 feet well..
this elephant missed death by the skin of his teeth.. he so nearly slipped in head first.. a horrible thought..
THIS ONE DIDN’T save himself from slipping in but survived..
this elephant was not so lucky.. He slipped in and when they first found him he was almost drowning in the mud.. he had been there for several hours already ..
Now a few hours later the Milgis scouts managed to push sand into the hole, and give him some thing to stand on.. they then opened the hole up in the hope that in the night he would beable to get himself out.. But sadly he was still there in the morning..
24 hours later they managed to drag him out with the car..
they thought they had killed him by pulling with the car, but ha ha he lay there for about 2 minutes and suddenly got up to every ones surprise, looked around and dashed off into the bushes where he found his family..
This awfally sad case did not survive.. this heart breaking pictures show how much work every one put into to save this poor elephant that had fallen in a week before, and somebody just happend to be looking for grass for his cattle, and found this sad situation..
this heart wrenching scene is so sad..
around 20 people came to try to help get him out, and here they are all pulling..
Suddenly they realised the elephant was going to die.. this was after SEVERAL hours of digging and pulling.. here every one is watching in total disbelief that the ele was breathing his last..
Gone.. after 8 hours of digging..
and this scenario below is also not what we want.. a 1 month old calf down a deep well.. This is one of the 6 rescues we’ve made of young calves.. all of them have been flown to the Sheldricks but sadly only one has survived.. Too much trauma probably..
In the night this little elephant fell into a well.. Here are all our guys trying to get him out safely.. Its difficult as its so narrow and its rock..
Out he comes but after no sign of his mother.. Its always our hope that she may arrive back in the evening, obviously she was too frightened and probably lost as well. and no sign of even the herd..
At the runway.. of course it draws crowds but luckily baby elephants bond and trust humans very quickly..
I flew this little elephant down to Daphne Sheldrick in my cessna 182.. he was so good, and even the controller at Wilson airport gave me priority to land, in disbelief!, when I told them that I had an elephant on board!!
So this is why Milgis Trust was happy to be involved in this project, and to be entrusted to do a proper job on the water in the area!! And FOUR years later heres Richard back in the area greeting Lemirkishan and handing over a long lasting, beautiful solar powered water project, pumped from the Ltepes Nandare bore hole up to two tanks on the rocks 4 kms away and can be accessed by 4 communities.. plenty of water for all.. human, livestock and wildlife!
Richard is back with his wife heather after nearly 4 years and meets his friend lemirkishan!.. it was a very touching meeting!
blessing the Ltepes Nandare bore hole with milk is very important..
Ngai Ngai Ngai is the chorus to the prayer..
and richard turns on the pump, and hands the “keys” ‘to the four communities around the Ltepes Nandare borehole! Two communities from across the Milgis lugga can collect right here at the bore hole..
the women all came to sing Richard and Heathers praises.. life will be a lot easier for these people! Lemirkishan and our scout from the area helping with the chorus!
The tanks on the top of the rock and from here the water is delivered to two other communities
lazaros falls!.. the over flow from the tanks.. which the people from all round can help themselves to and then it goes into a small livestock/wildlife friendly dam..
‘on que’ the cattle arrived to drink from the little over flow dam, and this was so nice for Richard and Heather being cattle farmers, to see!!
safe for all animals to drink from!
this is the sign post that has been erected near one of the communities!! Live and let live!!
and a few miles away this is what we found.. A herd of cattle walking strait past an elephant in the lugga!!
THANKS TO EVERY ONE WHO HELPED TO GET THIS PROJECT ON THE ROAD, especially Nikos, the area chief ‘Bush’ , Samburu Trust, Andre and the area MP who helped Pete with a difficult situation with a bore hole company… Its been a very long road this project .. BUT especially thanks to Richard and Heather who have worked so hard to raise money for the project!..
A huge amount of thanks to Richard and heather who have made many sacrifices in the last 4 years to raise money for this huge water project!! This sign post is at one of the communities that have benefitted! Marti Dorop..
two happy people at the water outlet!!
the outline of the sky as we say good bye to Richards friends in Mpagas!! lonyore pesho, Richards turtle rock, his marker as he drove the cattle home in the evening!! Richard told us that luckily the cattle knew the way home any way! Its a tough place to be a farmer here!!!!