Here with the Milgis collective report for the last year, compiled by Digby.. April 2018-May 2019 Please click on the above!
Now for the latest unbelievable scenes we have been seeing up north!!!
Sometimes these northern tribes call rain ‘Ngai’, the same word that they use for ‘God’ .. RAIN IS GOD HERE!!.. Talk about stress.. this year its been proper stress… the rain came over 2 months late and not every where, but at least in some places like towards the west and the Kirisias, and North to Baragoi it has been fairly good.. BUT towards the Kaisut and Chalbi deserts in the East and North of the Ndotos hardly a drop..
SO What have we…
MASSIVE movement of Rendille and Samburu pastoralists and their precious animals heading towards where it rained.. It is an unbelievably incredible sight,and amazing tenacity .. hard tough people.. they will NOT leave an animal dieing.. they stay with it, till it definitely can’t cope any more!.. We saw tear jerking scenes of animals doing their best, to put one foot in front of another to get to greener pasture, some had obviously collapsed and we came across donkeys carrying calves, old goats and sheep, and plenty of new borns..
We had been hearing all about the massive ‘invasion’ of pastoralists from the East to West, and out on our last safari in the Ndotos, we came across people really in a tough state of affaires, but still positive that they will find something to eat! I was happy as where we had come from, it was a little bit green!..
BUT on our way back driving from the north end of the Ndoto mountains, we came across this rather sad scene of a camel that just said no more.. a young boy taping her on her rump.. ‘not too much further and there will be food!’.. too difficult to photograph people with so much hardship!.. I keep on thinking of her, whether she made it!! BUT then we came across the main herd not too far ahead!
At the same time the wildlife follows!!
Its an incredible feeling of fairness and generosity between these tribes here.. the people that have had rain look on with good thoughts although they can see these hungry animals will gooble all their valuable new shoots up.. BUT they understand completely.. Next time it might rain in the East!! So they help where they can, and direct the exhausted people to the places that have rain, and try and be helpful… it is a pleasure to be in the middle of it all!..
It has been humbling to watch this whole scene evolve!!.. SO WHATS GOING ON HERE??!
Our rains are usually due end of March, early April.. often the full moon or the new moon bring it.. But two full, and two new moons later … FINALLY!!!
suddenly this happened!.. RAIN! We’d almost forgotten what it was!
and down came the luggas in flood!! And what an exciting sight it was!!
A few days later we started seeing some movements!! This was the start.. These guys with their 3 donkeys loaded to the hilt arrived to find the Milgis had abit too much water for the heavily laden donkeys so had to unload their house etc off the donkeys and take them across, then return to carry the rest!!
Five trips backwards and forwards and they were off.. We have to remember these guys are from the desert where they don’t see water very often..
But a few minutes later this lot arrive…It was about 30 people with probably a thousand goats , 100 camels, and ten donkeys!!.. it took them 5 exhausting hours to cross!
The camels seem to cross pretty easily!! the Rendille train the herd to always follow the dominant male..
BUT the goats and sheep had other plans.. It was chaos..
And to make it worse some of the goats went and drank, we think, too salty water and suddenly 14 mothers of tiny young ones were laying dead..
In the mean time every single day, WAVE AFTER WAVE of thin weak, thirsty animals coming from the parched desert in the east!..
Followed by the wildlife… There has been no friction at all.. Every one with their heads down heading west!!
And this is where they are heading.. I took a short flight over to the west to see for myself and to satisfy my mind … I’m happy to say theres been nice rain and every one will survive!
beautiful country, beautiful people!! .. beautiful wildlife!!
In the mean time below Lkanto our resident Elephants just watch the movement all around them and quietly get on with living!
Hi Helen, thank you for the journal and the many photographs which really highlight the struggle the pastoralists have been contending with for millennia. The long rains have not been kind to Kenya this year. I will be traveling there next month, July & August, in E Tsavo, the coast and Laikipia. So grateful for your continuing steadfast and ongoing support of that extraordinary, cruel and beautiful part of Kenya. Lots of love, Katherine
Wonderful, wonderful photos. Thank you so much. It’s a tough life for man and beast out there, but I still wish I could live like that, away from “civilization”! So many memories of my wonderful safari with you. All the best. Jane