The drought persists… but we are persevereing!

Happy new year to you all.. I know I’m bit late but better late than never!!.. these beautiful gardenias were around our camp .. the yellow one is 2021, bye-bye! >>>> the white, brand new! representing 2022!!…
And this is where we were!..

ALTHOUGH SADLY NOT A GREAT START… Just to give you a birds eye view of the start of this year…

So many ups and downs…

In my last blog I was so thrilled as the rains had finally arrived, BUT sadly they were VERY short lived, weak, and patchy so now we are back at square one struggling with the situation… What a shame.. BUT as I’ve said before and will say again the pastoral people will ‘change gear’ again.. you know the saying “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”..

Well that’s how it is..

A few photos to show the situation, and then we move on swiftly!.. We have seen thousands of cattle moving here there and NOWHERE.. its terribly hard.. On one occasion we came across over a thousand in single line walking south, putting one foot in front of the other, looking for pasture but we knew, and the heart broken warriors with them knew, there was no where better than where they were… And this is the result.. Many thousands of cows have died..

Desperate times for these cows
another one.. note the contents of the stomach.. plastic.. A hungry cow will try any thing..
this is the state of MANY of the beloved cows of the Samburu..
down below Ngurnit, where its usually really lush, the vegetation is dead.. Funny its even cloudy but NO RAIN??..

Here below, we are so desperate for rain and we still are battling with people burning.. there’s always one person that doesn’t care..

When will we learn NOT TO DESTROY OUR NATURE that we live off???

Fire is another ridiculous thing.. We need it, to live, to cook our food, keep warm , and so on, and yet it can do so much destruction.. just one match.. can you imagine now during this time of hardship, if these tortilis trees below weren’t dead ..
all these tortilis trees would be life saving to livestock and wildlife, they would produce enough leaves, pods and flowers that animals can live off for months.. We were trying to put a number on what an acacia tortilis produces each year, in nutritious pods, leaves and flowers and its huge..

Look at this Aloe destruction.. We are coming across so much of this kind of callous uncaring harvesting.. .. Who’s buying it?? No care for how its harvested … NOT ONLY ALOES, BUT THE SANDALWOOD EXTRACTION FROM THE MATTHEWS FOREST CONTINUES UNABATED..

Aloe

OK.. enough of that…

On A MUCH MORE POSITIVE NOTE.. Snippets of news from the last 3 months..

Here we are out in the desert, east of Ndonyo Mara.. a few months back we showed this bore hole being flushed out… Its taken quite a time to get the materials together BUT finally here we are… Our amazing team have been working hard to put a BEAUTIFUL solar water project in!…( Lene Maria) and finally out comes the water.. MAGIC!!..

Lower lugga Muran..here we are now in the desert just about to ‘do magic’!
In goes the last pipe.. 2 solid days of work!
Very intricate and dangerous work.. Last pipe goes in.. 65 pipes later!!
and Frances has the pleasure of starting the pump!
is the water coming, is it NOT????
YES…...
it was unbelievable.. these incredibly thirsty cows were the first to drink! They had walked around 30 kms or so to get here, and have not had a drink for 4 days.. Look how well they are by the way!
this lady was next.. Shes been waiting for two days with the promise of water, rather than walk the 60 kms or so there and back.. She absolutely can not believe her eyes.. She is rushing to take the gerry cans off just in case it stops!
one of the donkeys collapsed as it had been so thirsty..
somebody rushed off to collect a trough for the cows and here there’s a traffic jam for water!

While we were there we met most of our new giraffe team.. a dedicated and fearless lot to protect the giraffe in the desert.. Today, I just received news from the team that 12 giraffes are back here in this area where they know they safe..

Milgis desert giraffe team..

Mean while back on the Milgis lugga, whirlwinds bring us hope for rain!..

a huge whirl wind coming up the Milgis lugga!
We now are digging about 20 wildlife friendly wells up and down the luggas.. at least making sure all animals can get to water safely..

Kasipo now has a beautiful new water project.. (Lene Maria) Every one very very grateful..

This has come as a huge relief to the women of Kasipo..
And this is Muko Lengaldayo who is our new man in charge of the 15 Milgis water projects!! Welcome to the Milgis Muko!!

We have decided to ‘bite the bullet’ and get Braithwaite metal tanks as the plastic drums are falling apart and of course they are against our Milgis goal.. Here we are at another water project at Mikenya …

the elders are delighted with their new tank..
It is just about to be painted camouflage colours!! ( Thank you MEAK)
the camels had a very welcome drink at Mikenya.. We noticed the trough needs to be repaired! and we will do it!

Talking of troughs!! KASIPO..

delighted to finally have the end result of the well in Kasipo.. ( Lene Maria)Hopefully elephants won’t try going down!

All these 3 projects are in memory of a lovely girl called Lene Maria from Norway… (Lene Maria for clean water) We are incredibly grateful to the Bergums and all their friends.. There are many people in Northern Kenya that thank you EVERY DAY!

One of our scouts pointed out a wonderful secret natural hole in the rock.. Only problem it was full of plastic..

yuk!!!
burn it!!

Another very young elephant abandoned by its mother up here in the steep hills near Ngurnit.. a very difficult rescue .. thanks to Reteti, Andrew Francombe and KWS.. BUT too sad as she died 3 days later , which broke our hearts.. It turned out that she had 2 broken ribs that had punctured her lung..

Little Aldera.. burnt from the sun to sinders on her ears, and obviously in pain.. BUT still had life in her..
The area that little ‘Aldera’ was rescued from .. Not easy at all for the Elephants to get to water during this very dry time.. We think she fell and after 2 days the mother abandoned her as she could not get up when our scouts found her, on a routine patrol in the hills.. It was a very hard 24 hours that they spent with her, giving her support , friendship, rehydrate and nan milk.. They hoped mum would come back but clearly she had given up..
this impressive rock is called, Aldera..
the heli could JUUUUUST land up above on a ledge …
wrapped safely into a tarpaulin and carried up the hill..
Carrying the little Elephant up to where the helicopter could land.. This is not easy country for any little youngster..

Our tractor team is going full bore.. Desilting all the dams ready for the up coming BIG rains!!…

We went to Aarge and visited the dam team first to see how the work is going and to deliver water..
No life, no work without water!
Aarge.. dam 1.. to be desilted
Well well look at this.. As I was walking up to have a look at the two dams that needed desilting … This plant only flowers when its going to rain!.. BUT it didn’t.. the clouds came but it did not rain.. so even it is in a muddle..
Aarge .. dam 2.. dam to be desilted
Our newest and best dam in lower Aarge, Just finished.. Now we need rain!!
Magic.. this is a dam near Kasipo… after a small down fall in December… We had the pleasure of finding water in the dam! From the tracks in the mud in the foreground, the elephants have also been having a field day here..!!
The big discussion this time while visiting the dam unit was how to deal with this problem!!

For the last 3 months we have been out on safari… I finish with a few nice photos… ( I have had lots of noise from Pete about taking pictures at an angle, but I thing it will keep your head exercised!!)

We’ve walked a very long way..

Sunset on the Milgis lugga!
Magical Ndotos.. south end
Far and wide the women are out singing to NGAI ‘the god of nature’ to bring rain..
The magical Ndotos, Matakasia area..
The camel train, crossing a lava flow..
Lkanto.. evening.. What did this mean??
Poi as always impressive
Christmas Eve.. in the middle of the desert!
We came over the hill to find the Tabarsoit school in full swing.. Marje being a teacher soon took over!!
Leyopoko and ‘roadblock’.. always smiling…
the desert and the mountains
one of the very steep luggas flowing out of the Ndotos, still with water in it..
this was rather fun.. for years the warriors have tried to get to this spot to get the honey out but up to now nobody had achieved it..
This young warrior left a message… He writes ‘We the new group, have beaten you all!!’
From the Ndotos across into the Ngarite valley..
early morning set off from camp.. Arsim
Gatap.. sun set from the middle of the Ndotos..
the layers down in the low ground..
After the rain in november, the Cadia flowers were all over.. Just a beautiful refreshing sight..
Cadia petals on the road!

PLEASE PRAY FOR REAL, DRIVING, LUGGA FLOODING RAIN, EVERY ONE… to what ever ‘god’ you like! Northern Kenya is floundering under the pressure of drought, after nearly two years of very weak precipitation..

2 thoughts on “The drought persists… but we are persevereing!

  1. Wonderful post Helen and my heart too breaks for little Aldera after so much…

    And breaks for all the cattle dying from the drought and the destruction too.. but there is hope with you there to bring news to us all far away. And you do so much for them all and that magical place.

    Did you ever think about sand dams for some of the luggas?

    Hope you and Pete are well and hope to see you in Kenya sometime this year.

    Big hugs and love from us all
    Anthea and Richard xxxxx
    ________________________________

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