Category Archives: Education

Milgis *****Stars*****. there are many.

Milgis School.JPG paintings by Nderi-’2′ .. in the new Milgis School classroom.. The *lad has been top scholar of the School, since the school started in 2006!! He says he wants to become the president of Kenya!!.. Good luck to him!

The **‘Stars’** of the Milgis Trust are many.. and most of you, the supporters are mentioned on the website, but just to say thanks to you ALL again and to follow up on some of our recent ‘stars’!! From our donors, large and Small, to all the individuals that volunteer, the hard working Trustees, and Milgis employees who all work to wards one GOAL..

‘ TO KEEP THE WILDLIFE SAFE, AND MAKE SURE EVERY ONE, HUMANS AND ANIMALS HAVE ‘PLENTY’ TO LIVE OFF!!

To achieve this… *Some of us dress up as Elephants, *some give money every month, *some risk their lives following suspects tracks, or *climb mountains to give us a radio reports… *Nderi-’2′ paints incredibly clever messages on every wall that is paint able, *And some ski 90 kms to help keep the Elephants safe!! *ETC *ETC the list goes on! The Milgis Trust is a true collection of dedicated people.. just to mention a few…

DSC01416.JPG The Milgis school has taken this very sweet little ‘Elephant show’ far and wide…

DSC04667-001.JPG The Milgis School environmental club headed by *Titus!

Milgis School 1.JPG The standard 7 new *TOTO TRUST Class room…

Milgis School mural.JPG Somehow he manages to ‘say it all’ in every painting he has done for us.. Beautiful stuff *Nderi-’2′.. Thank you..

Our scouts are real *stars.. Brave and on the ball..

Gelegele 27 (1).JPG They are up and out early, early every day, to report to the Milgis base any news from their areas..

DSC00102.JPG Out on patrol… Looking for that spot where he can find the base.. He is behind the Ndoto mountains about 50 kms away, trying to use a VHF radio which should only work on line of sight, but he somehow gets them!!

Manager Lesoloyia.JPG Our big *’Lakera’ *(star in Maa)! The manager of the Milgis Trust.. Moses Supukan Lesoloyia.. on his way to celebrate the Samburu way!

DSC08465.JPG *Cecilie who is the most unbelievably dedicated Trustee.. You are total star!! Asante!

DSC01435.JPG For many years the women have been asking me for help to find a market for their bead work, so that they can gain abit more Independence!.. Heres Maria teaching the women to use their amazing beading skills to make something the western world will buy.. Thank you *Maria!

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Now to 3 very important solid Milgis Supporters!!

A very special THANKs to *Beverly who quietly ‘just gives’ where ever she can get her foot in the door.. You NEVER let us down..

**Bruce you are a ‘SUPER STAR’ of note.. Wish you would come and see us!!

Also *Pirjo.. You follow every moment in the Milgis, and now you have employed a very important warrior and dedicated informer Scout!! I will not mention his name as he has an important job to do.. BUT He is an orphan, both parents gone before he was even old enough to know them, and was taken on by a crippled relative…Hes struggled all his life from a little boy, highly respected, very tough, and determined.. And I am delighted to say dedicated to our Elephants!!.. He is a home guard..

*Sarah is definitely one of the stars!! She entered one of the most difficult Ski races for our Elephants.. And through her friends managed to raise around $ 4500 .. Well done Sarah..

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Sarah’s words! 26th Feb 2013 ‘ I made it!! It took me 7hr and 41 mins( which I’m super happy with), it was unbelievably tough, but with every ones support, and thinking of the Elephants in the Milgis when I was struggling along, it was worth every minute .. I am so happy ‘we’ did it and that I made it to the finish!

The start was incredible, thousands of eager lycra clad skiers jostling, pushing and shoving up a narrow 4km long hill, skis and poles flying all over the place. The few downhill slopes were great for catching ones breath but an obstacle course trying to avoid skiers falling like bowling pins all over the place. After roughly 50km what little wax I had under my skis was all gone which was great on the flats but impossible up the slopes and hills, I found myself sliding backwards rather than forwards so had to stop twice to reapply more wax. All I can say is it was a challenge, a joy and an incredible adventure!! ‘

Here you can see Swedish Televisions coverage from the race on Monday morning http://www.svtplay.se/klipp/1054575/oppet-spar-med-sol-och-var

For any of her ***friends that did not receive this please find the letter below!!

Dear all, a huge and sincere THANK YOU for supporting Sarah in her great ski race last month, and in turn donating to the Milgis TrustWe have lived and operated walking safaris ( www.wildfrontierskenya.com ) in this part of Northern Kenya for many years, nearly 30 years actually, and watched in dismay as the humans living here just were not noticing that they were destroying themselves by being thoughtless… Burning their forests, killing the wildlife, overgrazing, cutting down trees etc,etc .. Its was nuts!, so in 2004 we decided after alot of thought as we knew it would change our lives to a new ‘gear’, we started the MILGIS TRUST… Conserving the Wildlife, the habitat and the pastoral peoples way of life.. Wildlife because its value needs to be valued, and theres less and less places for wildlife to live freely as it does here, the habitat because with out it we are all finished, and the pastoral way of life because I truly believe nomad ism is the best way to live in these dryer places of the world!..

So we went ahead and funnily enough our biggest and most worrying challenge is fund raising, only because Pete and I are as the world would say ‘uneducated’! We are not so good on our computers, but we know every track in the sand on the Milgis Lugga!! Despite this drawback, the Trust is making true, true progress in all other ways.. The forests have stopped burning, the wildlife is not being killed, and the people can see, and benefit from it all!.. Most of all, as we continue to do our walking safaris throughout the area we find that our work is gaining great tracks every day.!.

WHATS THE BIG CHALLENGE THEN???… As you all know Elephant poaching in Africa has become a scourge, its extremely DANGEROUS and SAD .. Dangerous because the money involved is so much and the poachers don’t care for lives.. Human nor Elephants, and sad because it is breaking up the wonderful family system that these gentle giants live by.. With all the big Elephants, male and females being shot, leaving the smaller ones reeling… Also they live in absolute fear, and its a horrible, horrible thing to watch…. WE THE MILGIS TRUST WILL NOT AND CAN NOT LET THIS HAPPEN, AND WILL DO WHAT EVER NECESSARY TO STOP IT… BUT ITS HARD… REALLY HARD TO FINANCE IT..

When Sarah wrote to me about her race, and that she wanted to help us out with our ‘Elephant watch’, I could not believe that somebody who lives so far away from the midst of these terrible deeds that are happening all around us, cared so much.. To half kill herself to help us out!!.. So first of all this is a very grateful thank you to you Sarah, and then to all your incredibly generous friends, who through sending funds to the Milgis Trust, will help us keep these poachers at bay.. And I say at bay, because of our hard working brave scouts, along with the wonderfully co-operative communities we live and work with, we have only lost one Elephant to poachers in the area where we operate since January 2012.. We’ve had many come in wounded from other areas from gun shots and die, but not shot in the area we cover.. BUT WE CAN NOT REST ONE DAY AS THE THREAT IS VERY CLOSE ALL THE TIME..

So please don’t hesitate to keep in touch with us by checking out our news from time to time.. and if you feel like supporting us in the future we would be eternally grateful…

So many THANKS from all of us in the Milgis.. The Milgis is a very personal trust mostly run by volunteers, Pete and I and many more extremely hard working friends, and every cent will make a huge difference.. ..

All the very best Helen…

THANK YOU TO ALL THE DEDICATED MILGIS SUPPORTERS HOWEVER THEY FOUND US and WHERE EVER THEY COME FROM.. Helen and Pete, and the whole team.. .. ***As a token of our thanks any one who donates $ 200 or more to the Milgis Trust.. please don’t forget to ask for a copy of our beautiful Samburu singing and chanting CD, recorded in the Parsaloi Lugga in June 2012

To be successfull in conservation you have to work with the communities….

The Milgis Trust takes this issue very seriously, working very closely with the Samburu and Rendille pastoral people who live here.. Together we are endeavouring to keep this WILD AND BEAUTIFUL place in Northern Kenya preserved..

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While out on an evening walk on our last safari, these two Elephants are out in the open with out a concern in the world! It certainly was not like that a few years ago in the Milgis Lugga! I’ve just read in the Laikipia Wildlife Forum newsletter a quote that I found really fitting from Guiseppe, a man who’s just spent just over a year filming through out Laikipia.. In his travels he came to this great conclusion!…… He learnt that co-existence between man and beast is possible if the right attitude is in place.. The point here being ‘ATTITUDE’! Ideas should be implemented only when people are ready to embrace them.. Ideas should be proposed, NOT imposed.. …… This was his final comment, complimenting the LWF in its work there!!

I AGREE with these words entirely, and time working with the communities is extremely important..

DSC00499-001.JPG Many of the Trusts activities are supported by the visitors who come on the Wild Frontiers Walking Safaris .. People who’ve enjoyed this magnificent part of the world, the beautiful people, wildlife, and exceptional scenery!.. Its impressed them, and they want to keep it that way!.. Thanks to all.. Your support is invaluable.. ..
So what does the Milgis Trust do to include the Samburu and Rendille communities in Conservation.. To make sure that even they will beable to see the Elephants in generations to come… First we remind them… ITS THEIR COUNTRY AND ITS THEIR FUTURE!!… So it should be well in their interest, to keep their home country in tip top shape!… That means LIVING IN HARMONY WITH NATURE!!.. ..

We spend alot of time holding meetings, and creating awareness through out the area.. Our Manager Moses Lesoloyia, believes the Samburu and Rendille are natural conservationists any way, but somehow greed, foreign intervention, and politics had affected them… We are reversing the damage as best we can together NOW.. We employ 28 scouts, and 19 informers from through out the 6000 square kilometre area that we are currently covering, who work tirelessly with their communities in creating awareness.. They all come to the Milgis Base every two months for a meeting and all aspects of conservation with in their areas are discussed..

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Some of the issues that came up at the last meeting….

Ceder Trees are being cut down on top of the Ndoto Mountains, and are being sold to traders.. The scout from the area could be closing his eyes to the problem, and was reprimanded.. A group of scouts will try to unravel who is involved in what here.. The trading will stop!..

Many scouts reported that Wild Dog, Cheetahs and Leopards are killing livestock.. This is always a serious concern, and we have tried to counter act this problem, by paying double the camp fees to the areas we camp on safari if we see any of the predators.. Its the least we can do to try to resolve this problem.. Then the people losing goats and sheep will get compensated…. Its helps.. But what we really need to try to do is increase the natural food for these predators.. The problem here is of course the antelopes have one kid, the predators have 4 cubs… its unfair!.. Other wise Lions are on the increase, and the good news is only one was reported killing livestock on the lower Milgis, the others are behaving!..

Somebody stole a gun, from a home guard and he had threatened to kill Elephants.. The scouts and community are taking this threat very seriously..

People are killing Ostriches for their feathers… Also young Ostriches are being taken by people who think that if they keep Ostriches the tourists will come and see them, they all died … Others are stealing Ostrich eggs in the name of research.. this will be followed up, by scouts and the community, and KWS will be informed.. ..

DSC00419.JPG We saw at least a 100 Ostriches, dancing, on the Elbarta plains the other day.. What a sight.. We also were happy to see 4 Adult and 4 young Grevy Zebra.. Good to see they are breeding..

Back to the meeting!.. Elephant poaching is a serious threat and every one must keep their eyes open, and be careful.. KWS are working closely with our scouts on these issues.. 3 armed men were seen, and followed by the scouts and community members.. They also threatened a child who was looking after the goats.. They were followed until they left the area to the North, but not with out stealing a goat!.. The people here are very vigilant on the tracks and its quite difficult to go any where with out being noticed!..

these are just a few of the issues our men and women face … All in a days work!!.. Other wise, many scouts reported good news.. Elephants living peacefully with plenty of water in most places, because of unseasonable rain which graced many places in the Ndotos.. The Scout in Seren said that the community there watched in absolute awe as the Elephants were sliding up and down the banks of one of the new dams!……. The Awareness trip in June was very successful, and they managed to cover many communities from West of the Matthews, both sides of the Ndotos, through to Mt Nyiru… They showed films on conservation issues, they then discuss it all with the communities.. The big issue up at Nyiru is the return of the Elephants..

DSC00411.JPG They are even brave enough to walk strait down the road now!!.. But when they get there the people are so excited to see Elephants that they are chased away again.. Nyiru is a very important refuge for the returning Elephants, and we need to make sure they are safe..

Rabies, rears it ugly head now and then, and many communities are asking for help with this.. Over the last few months, we have injected many dogs, and camels against rabies…

Several places scouts reported Wild animals are increasing.. Especially Giraffes, greater Kudu and gerenuk..

A good start to keeping with the locals is employment, the Milgis employs over 50 people from the local area, just in conservation alone..

DSC00289-001.JPG Quite alot of the Milgis team…

Other things that are going on as we speak in the Milgis…

Building a new eco-friendly Classroom, Thanks a million to TOTO TRUST… Who have also raised the funds for a teacher for the Milgis Primary School! DSC00700.JPG This will be Class 7… One more to go!

Digging pan dams, for people, livestock and wildlife..

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Leroiya and Service (21).JPG Our tractor at work in Leroiya..

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DSC00284.JPG finished product.. we gather yesterday they had a big storm here and the dam is now full of water..

Water projects.. We have just done a recce to search for the 5th VOSS foundation water project.. We drove 300 kms, all around the North end of the Ndotos, and found 3 places with serious water issues..

DSC00361.JPG Kasipo.. Theres a good bore hole but the hand pump is broken.. NO WATER!

sDiscussing the water project with Chairman of Masiketa.JPG In Masiketa, they have a very good bore hole, but getting Diesel for the pump is a big problem.. When they do get it the pump only pumps for two hours then it gets too hot! The community are anticipating a huge influx of people into the area, which usually happens at this time of the year, hope not as many as last year! The East side of the country will not get rain until October.. They are desperate for a solar pump, and asked us to come and see the problems there.. Pete discussing the situation with the masiketa community..

Seren tank that leaks.JPG Seren, they had a very expensive water system!! Unfortunately very short lived because the floods came, the well was destroyed, the pipeline washed away!! What wasn’t washed away was broken by the Elephants because they were not part of the equation of water beneficiaries! At Seren theres lots of tanks, and NO WATER! and whats more if they did have water, this tank leaks!

Other community help we try to give is… Sponsoring children to go to secondary School, and we help with health issues…We renovated the dispensary in Latakwen, and we employ a good reliable nurse, and helper so as to help the sick… thank you isabel.. http://www.happeningafrica.com/kenyan-nurse-rita-makes-it-happen-a-well-run-clinic-in-northern-kenya/
In November we will bring cataract surgeons in conjunction with MEAK to help the blind see again.. ..

DSC00140.JPG Lastly quite a funny story!.. ‘Our’ Elephant in the sand (refer to my last blog) nearly caused a serious stir in the communities! One of our Scouts who was on his way to the meeting came across it and the hairs on his neck immediately raised with fear!.. He checked it out, and studied its implications, and rushed on down the Lugga to report to the rest of the scouts, that there was a very dangerous sign in the Lugga, and that there was an imminent plan to attack from the Turkana and its pointing to Ilgwe Eldome! .. Just shows how different cultures can misunderstand each other! Part of every day life in northern Kenya is livestock raiding between the tribes, and sometimes the Turkana when they are planning to raid they will make a structure, or effigy on the track facing the direction they intend to attack.. Our Scout took one look at ‘our ‘ Elephant and had a ‘fit’…

DSC00723.JPG The Milgis Lugga catching the morning light.. July 2012..

World environment day was celebrated in the Milgis also!!

And what a special day it was!!… Right in the remotest corner of Northern Kenya the children from the Milgis School came to celebrate with us on the Lugga! One might call it World Elephant day!, as it all seemed to be about Elephants! But thats ok, because they are the talk of 2012..

DSC00195.JPG This was their wonderful creation..

And the idea came from this! Eley hedge (1).jpg All the way from Penpont in Whales.. This beautiful hedge was the very hard work of Gavin Hogg, who came to the Milgis with Ben Evans on a mission to record the beautiful songs of the Samburu people.. All in aid of raising money for the Milgis work ‘Samburu helping Samburu’.. ‘ Echo’s ‘ what goes out, comes back to preserve this wonderful place!

DSC00035.JPG More on this incredibly exciting project coming soon but lets concentrate on the day in question… WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY.. which was on the 9th June, and Gavin said he was going to draw a huge Elephant in the sand, and the children from the Milgis school are to fill it in, with sticks, stones or what ever they could find in the Lugga.. It was a brilliant idea… The children all arrived in all their finery and Gavin got them all to work!!

DSC00134.JPG ” Collect any thing you can find to fill the elephant in.”.

DSC00117.JPG The beginning of the Elephant, just the out line.. The enthusiasm was extraordinary and soon there was over 100 children, and 20 warriors rushing around gathering what ever they could find to fill him in!

DSC00109.JPG From the little guys to the head boy!

DSC00126.JPG The warriors finding white stones for the tusks..

DSC00130.JPG A group of camels on their way to water, pass by!! and below two women wonder past.. none of them even fazed!DSC00155.JPG Finally the Elephant has taken shape and all the children climb up the side of the canyon to view their creation.. DSC00143.JPG Gavin with his arms up.. This was such an exciting day for him!!

DSC00157.JPG With the Elephant below them, the children sat in silence just looking…. Then a few words on what World Environment day is all about.. Our honorary Scout Kosma gave them a story from Dr Zeus’s Lorax book.. Thanks to Julia Hailes in England for sending this excellent story with a very strong message.. Its all about how greed destroys the world…. Kosma did a brill job talking them through the story.. mmmmm, aaahhhh, oooooo.. Were the comments from the children.. Shocking they said! From a people who are usually very unselfish, and incredibly generous this was an aw fall story..

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Later Kosma explaining it to a group of warriors! DSC00092.JPG

Next… The children did a small play..

DSC00180.JPG This was a very moving show… ‘Samburu love Elephants, and will protect them forever’.. was the jist.. It was for me a tearjerker of note!! .. The singer was calling for all Kenyans to look after these gentle giants…

DSC00189.JPG The School environment Club with their teacher Titus Lekirere, having an animal discussion!

Finally a rip roaring dance, performed by the Milgis School cultural club, under the guidance of their teacher Mike Lesiantaam.. DSC_0343.JPG

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The Canyon in the Milgis was alive with colour and absolutely beautiful ‘Echos’. What goes out will come back!!

Milgis news!!

What on earth happened to the year.. It was only January the other day, now its May, the rainy season already!!… mmmm… But we do have good news from the Milgis!

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Elephants have been on the move once more!. Back to places 30/40 years ago they were completely wiped out of.. Now its a safer place to be as an Elephant than most places!, with our help, and our scouts and informers are being extremely vigilant.. Water is their problem now, which we have tried to solve for them also with pan dams, on their routes!

The smart new Nursery classroom in Latakwen

Some sad Eley news too… A two year old youngster that we darted and treated with Matthew the KWS vet, with a very swollen leg is taken by Hyenas..

Water for the people in Urra, west Ndotos.. THANK YOU VOSS!!

5 more needy children are lucky to go to school,

Most of the now 24 pan dams we dug have water in them!! Unfortunately the rains seem to have been quite patchy through out the area… But its sufficient, because luckily the people here are still nomadic, and if they haven’t had rain at home they can move.. ..

Despite this incredible show in the Matthews, it didn’t pour with rain this night..

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But impressive sight anyway !

DSC03952.JPG 18.55.. The same cloud just over half an hour later in the moon light, and not a drop of rain!!

Great excitement on the radio this week as the news of 34 Elephants venturing north into areas that they have not been seen for a very long time.. For obvious reasons with the situation at the moment I am not saying where, but a very significant happening as it means that they are generally feeling safe up here… I would like to say well done our scouts, and informers and also especially to the communities, who are now working incredibly close with THE MILGIS TRUST to keep their wildlife safe!..Good for them!

DSC03970.JPG As our Milgis Logo portrays.. The Camel (the communities) protecting the Elephant ( the wildlife)..

DSC03793.JPG ‘Gentle’ being the operative word! they don’t want to bother people! This is a painting, done by Nderitu on the wall of the new class room in the Milgis school! Portraying again, you mind your on business, the Eleys will as well!.. Talking of new!!.. We also have a huge thank you to Toto Trust for the beautiful new colourful Nursery classroom in Latakwen..

DSC03716.JPG Thank you TOTO TRUST!

While we are on the subjects of Elephants.. This is a sad story about this poor little youngster.. We had a call on the radio that there was a small Elephant, the size of a donkey all on his own dragging his leg, down in the lower Milgis.. Matthew the KWS vet flew up with Pete, from OlPejeta to dart and treat him.. But its not as easy as that!! We battled to get to where he was, and against our better judgement we decided to follow the Milgis Lugga to where he was.. mmmm Not a good plan!! Because the rains in November/December had been so good the sand on the Milgis Lugga was incredibly soft we got stuck and stuck and STUCK!!.. Eventually we walked the last 6 kms in the heat of the day!, carrying all the veterinary gear to where the Elephant was being monitored, by our scouts, and a very helpful KWS team from Marsabit.. By the way KWS we are so grateful to get your support up there!
DSC03840.JPG We were lucky after an hour in the incredibly thick bush to beable to dart and treat his very swollen leg.. probably a bullet wound.. We got him up again and our scouts spent a week with him, watching his every move as much as they could in the thick bush, and from all reports he was making a good recovery.. DSC03851.JPG They were trying to make friends with him, and making good progress, so that we could move him to an easier place to monitor him.. Then unfortunately we got a report that they had started seeing Hyena tracks around.. Before we were able to make the next complicated plan, about 30 hyenas came in and killed him in the night..

I’m afraid we were devastated …. This is another result of poaching sadly..

To happier things!.. We THANK VOSS foundation once again, for all the incredible support they give to the Milgis.. We are unbelievably lucky to be working with you… In February friends of VOSS walked with the camels from the Milgis out to Urra, west of the Ndotos, to open another water project !! Once again an beautiful celebration, people came from far and wide to say THANK YOU… This is now the 4th water project we have done with VOSS.. The others are in Latakwen, Sware, and Ol Donyo Nasipa!

DSC03541.JPG The girls from Norway! Thank you for coming all this way to help..

DSC03540.JPG Urra is a little centre, in the foothills of the western side of the Ndotos.. There is a small school, and many people live around in manyattas..

DSC03526.JPG The well, and solar panels, and the watchman’s house.. His job is to look after the solar panels, and well, and to make sure there is plenty of water for the people of Urra, and the Elephants!!

DSC03530.JPG The beautiful Samburu women singing their praises to the Voss visitors.. Wonderful singing and dancing, and lots of fun was had by all..

DSC03534.JPG Beautiful clean water up at the Urra school..

Before! Why did we choose Urra.. DSCN0869.JPG During the dry times the people in Urra really struggle to get to water, and when they do the Elephants kept on breaking their wells every night, but they put up with it!! People from 20 kms around were also coming for water here as well.. It became an impossible situation.. SO They came and asked for help!

DSCN0865.JPG A carpet of Dung in the drought, from all the animals visiting the well..

Logistics of doing these water projects.. Interesting!!

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The sponsorship programme…

DSC03954.JPG This Samburu girl from Parsaloi is very clever!! She passed all her primary school exams with flying colours but her family could not afford to send her to secondary school.. All the family livestock had been stolen in a raid, and her father had died.. So she was sent back to primary school.. But the teachers said this was ridiculous, so asked the community to try to help.. The community tried their best to help her out, but she did not have enough to see her through to the 2nd term so would be sent home, so I am pleased to say the Little Troll Foundation has guaranteed her through the to the end of her schooling.. Thank you so much, to them and to the others, wanaduma, and other Norwegian friends this year who are helping us send 5 new children to school, making the sponsor programme now helping 25 children.. All who have the same story as this girl..

All the Dams are full, or nearly!! Below is the newest one at Lorok Onyoke, a really really dry place usually.. In the dry season the nearest good water is around 15/20 kms away.. thank you to our friends in Portugal..

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Before and after pictures!

Lorok Onyoke pan dam.. DSC03922.JPG

Elephants can take the credit for less fires…

Hello every one…No I’m not dead, just been very busy travelling, or safariing as we say! DSC03472.JPG

For those that don’t already know this is how I make my living!.. Walking safaris through paradise and beyond with camels carrying the gear!..

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Loooong time since my last blog!! We have walked the length and breadth of the area that the Milgis Trust covers with our camels since December 2011… From Mt Nyiru in the north, a huge massif, just to the South East of Lake Turkana..

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DSC03606.JPG photo taken from the lovely grassy plains to the East of the Ndotos.. Ol Donyo Mara are the hills to the right

To Baio to the East, this amazing Mountain in the Kaisut desert catching the beautiful evening light..

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across the beautiful Ndoto Mountains.. sony jan 10 033.jpg 3 times!, Once from the South, then the North and then we went with the VOSS women to open the new water project at Urra in the foothills to the West of these magnificent mountains!
And lastly Lenkiyio (The Matthews).. Through the lovely forests and into the Ngeng valley.. jan. 06 025.jpg This is Matthews Peak

Over the top with the camels!!.. quite a feat..

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It has been absolutely fabulous to see for ourselves the good work the Milgis scouts are doing, and what we are achieving…(Now 28 scouts and 15 informers!!) AND I think we now have proof that the Elephants can take the credit for no fires burning on the Mountains!!.. Its absolutely wonderfull news!!.. Contrary to a news paper article saying that Elephants don’t like to climb mountains.. I don’t think its true actually!.. Because numerous times we have followed Elephants up very narrow and steep paths, and with out there good work we would be still cutting our way through!!

This dung up near Aldera rock proves it!!olympus oct 09 - jan 10 196.jpg

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IMG_0335.JPG And these paths is what they create… With out them this thick bush is impenetrable!! In the last 30 years because the Elephants weren’t around, all up the flanks of our valuable ‘Islands in the desert’ , the water towers of Northern Kenya, the bush became so thick that when the people could not get there animals up in to the mountains for dry season grazing they started lighting fires.. Absolute destruction beyond belief was happening, BUT now the Elephants are back this ridiculous passtime of burning, has has become a thing of the past I am happy to say.. Hip hip hooray!! AND

A HUGE ‘ONE UP’ FOR THE ELEPHANTS!!!

We have been watching in total dismay as Mt Kenya and the Aberdares, both National parks have been burning completely out of control.. Huge huge fires.. I don’t know how they started, or by who but they have been very serious, just for fun i took this picture on the 15th March, just before sunrise… DSC03737.JPG

The sun rose right over the top on this day!!

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Back to our Mountains the Ndotos and Lenkiyio (Matthews) and Nyiru.. Yes so far, there have been no fires and if you have been following my blogs you would know how desperate it has been in former years.. several Blogs on this terrible and stupid situation …Fires lit by people who have decided it would help to get rid of this very thick bush, and of course one just can ‘ Kiss goodbye ‘ to the whole side of the mountain.. With the strike of one match the Samburu have no idea what damage they are doing to their very own future.

If you don’t find time to read the others Please read this one blog I wrote way back to know how frustrated I was…Click on this….

‘Painted Wolf’ Bonanza!! & Thank you, Marwell..

Happy New Year to every one, and heres to a safe, and happy 2012 to all creatures great and Small.. … We celebrated our new year near the WILD Dog’s… What a pleasure !!!..

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These 3 pictures were taken by Lemagas, with an ordinary camera!!

DSC02914-1.JPG Inside their den…

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Then this little sequence of beauty’s with the night camera, in the same den!

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Theres at least 12 puppies, and maybe 14 adults

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We left the night camera in the den for a week, and found the dogs had, had a good chew on it!! But it still works..

DSC02950.JPG Painted wolves.. Thats a better name for these beautiful animals..

The Milgis Trust Thanks Marwell Wildlife and Zeke Davidson for your support.. Below is a small introduction by Zeke of the work we are doing together.. .. The technical side of things!.. ( Sorry his pictures would not post, so I’ve improvised with mine)

Hello to all the Milgis Trust Bloggers! I still feel new to the Milgis, but have been visiting here for the past 18 months or so now. I work with Marwell Wildlife, a Uk based charity dedicated to the conservation of biodiversity and other natural resources. We achieve this through restoration of species and habitats, promoting sustainable living, and by inspiring change through science, education & public engagement – which is something of a mouthful!

grevy.JPG Marwells Speciality.. The Grevy Zebra.. Thanks to Marwell Zoo introducing us to these night cameras, they really opened our eyes.. Theres far more out there than one thinks, but its very nocturnal!! H

Suffice to say that when the trust approached Marwell in January 2010 with a request to look at “some data” they had, and help to get some monitoring established, we jumped at the chance to work with this dynamic, dedicated and intensely passionate team. The data is turning out to be a quietly understated GOLDMINE for conservation action. We will get to more on that in a few months time as we develop analyses out of the historic information we have in hand already. But I am sure I don’t need to explain the value of continuous sightings reports from 24 scouts making daily observations of wildlife in the Milgis ecosystem over the past 5 years! We hope to plot the return of elephants to the Milgis and beyond, to catalogue her amazing biodiversity and to provide information that will help people living here make real time decisions about conserving their environment, while maintaining their livelihoods and traditions in a timeless lifestyle that is still relevant today.

As we settle into 2012, we can happily say that the ground work has been laid for a long term partnership between Marwell and the Milgis Trust. We at Marwell are thrilled and feel really honoured, not to mention incredibly lucky, to have been sought out by Helen and her team. Over the past two years we have instituted regular training workshops for the growing force of scouts, ( now nearly 30, and 12 informers) we have standardised observation methodologies and entered the digital age by converting the data collection onto a computer based database.

And that is the real nub of this post, because not long ago we had word that our efforts to help Milgis Trust raise funds specifically for elephant conservation and research have been successful. In a phone call from their Head Quarters, the US Fish and Wildlife Service African Elephant Program confirmed that we had been successful in our grant application. We are now ready to begin a wide scale elephant conservation project, underpinned by the scouts and their data collecting activities, and the ongoing work of the trust.

This is hugely significant news. The focus on elephants will serve as a flagship to understanding not only how the Milgis functions, but how all her species use the land, her resources and coexist alongside the pastoralist Samburu people who live there too. Elephants have lead the way for our partnership and just as the young ones follow the old matriarchs back to Mt. Nyiru and beyond, we will follow them too. Learning from their travels which habitats are most important, which areas need close protection, which water points are their old standbys for crossing the barren lands and how we can ensure their permanence now that they have returned.

wider area bgs-3.jpg The area the Milgis Trust covers.. remember wildlife does not know borders, so the scouts follow their migrations.. There are NO fences, and these important water towers are needed to keep the Fauna and Flora well watered and fed!

This elephant project will focus on conserving habitat connectivity for African elephant (Loxodonta africana) populations in Northern Kenya , and will be the most northerly based elephant conservation study in East Africa. So this work is a vital expansion of the direct efforts being brought to bear on the global conservation of African elephants. As Helen has always maintained, elephants have historically inhabited this ecosystem, although were absent for several years from the mid 1980′s until more recently thanks to poachers. By formally undertaking research and monitoring on these mega herbivores we will maintain the area as a holistically functioning ecosystem, without fences or segregation between wildlife and local pastoral communities. This area is an important migratory corridor between the complex of protected areas in the south, (Laikipia and Samburu, Buffalo Springs and wildlife reserves), the Marsabit Massif to the north east (the northern extent of the Samburu-Laikipia elephant population) and Mt Nyiru ( in the north west.)

However, much of this information is still based solely on local anecdotal knowledge. To ensure that it is accepted by both the communities and planning authorities we will have to put the Milgis elephant highways on the map with irrefutable data. In spite of the serious depletion in elephant numbers since the late 1970s, this area is currently home to the second largest elephant population in Kenya. The area is extremely isolated geographically, and elephants are facing several threats, including, among st others; intensifying habitat loss and fragmentation owing to the expanding human population, severely limiting climatic conditions, persecution by commercial ivory poaching and indiscriminate and illegal killing..

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The Milgis Trust Elephant Project (MTEP) will be continuing to investigate this human/elephant conflict and the spatial dynamics of the population through the established network of Milgis scouts and engaging pastoralists in a programme of community based conservation activities. The project will seek to understand elephant habitat use and behaviour, sustainability and conservation in remote northern areas, and will also engage local communities in education workshops and participatory planning, in an effort to increase awareness, involvement and ownership of elephant conservation. In this way we are building a legacy of community based conservation and management with less dependence on foreign aid and external funding. These are tried and tested methods that have been used with great success in areas such as the Ruaha wilderness in Tanzania where large carnivores have had a reputation of man eating, the Tsavo-Amboseli Ecosystem in Kenya where lion guardians are recruited from the Maasai warrior caste who have historically hunted lion as a rite of passage, and for the long term protection of mountain gorillas in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda, to name just three examples.

Already we have begun to build a detailed Geographic Information System (GIS), or electronic map, to be able to visualise the landscape the Milgis elephants are using..The urgency for providing scout training is growing as increasing elephant presence in these areas might potentially also increase the opportunity for conflict with people and livestock. Conflict is chiefly anticipated over water availability, especially during times of drought. It is therefore vital that the Trust’s operations continue to promote elephant conservation to local communities whilst increasing community awareness of the benefits of elephants.

You might wonder what the trade off for living with elephants would be to a family living in a simple manyatta right in among st these giants. Well, local communities have already expressed positive attitudes to wards elephants as they are perceived to provide essential benefits to their pastoral lifestyles. There are many examples, but just one here, they maintain open routes through dense bush and provide access to mountain grazing areas. This access facilitates sustainable grazing as herds of livestock can be relocated to allow lowland areas to recover during dry seasons. Until recently these areas had been lost to community grazing management as elephants had been absent from the area for many years. The people were now turning to burning, to beable to get their livestock into the mountains, with devastating results. However, with the elephants gradual return, these valuable resources are slowly becoming available again. This observation comes directly from the people living in the Milgis area and is a key reason why the Trust has established this project. This work is a direct response to the communities request for assistance in securing their livelihoods and forms part of the Trusts commitment to improving resources through conservation action.

All this is a very neat fit for Marwell’s conservation goals through the restoration of species and habitats, promoting sustainable living, and inspiring change through science, education & public engagement! But you can follow all that on www.marwell.org.uk and on Twitter and Facebook too.

No ordinary Parents day!

The theme of this absolutely wonderfull Milgis Primary School parents day!! LONG LIVE OUR CULTURE ‘OUR’ WILDLIFE AND THEIR /’OUR’ HABITAT!!… This is our future…
DSC02634-1.JPG The Milgis Cultural Club, with their Teacher Mike Lesiantaam leading the beautiful dance, called ‘Kichome’.. The words of this song, remind people of the seriousness of getting married.. and what follows.. Urging the communities to respect marriage ceremonies, conduct marriage in an acceptable manner, and keep it sacred.. Through this process, communities are formed, through a nuclear family..

When we were invited to this special day, I had no inkling that it was going to be so special and so close to my heart and what I believe in… I told them that it was the best parents day that I had even attended in my life!! How special it was..

DSC02632.JPG The next song, touched on discipline.. respect to the elder generation.. Women and Men.. Discipline helps to cultivate peace and promote harmony among the community members.. The next song was about Wildlife, how important it is to protect and preserve.. Wildlife is sacred to to the Samburu communities, and should be protect at all costs.. So where did we go wrong?.. Who taught us to kill it? we didn’t used to…

DSC02640.JPG Thumbs up to that!! We need our wildlife!

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DSC02662.JPG The mothers!.. They sang a wonderful song of THANKS to all that had helped them get to where they are.. They have a beautiful school, with 6 classrooms, water, teachers and books.. They have Dams, Communications, health services, etc etc and they gave Pete and I two special carved and beaded sticks, as a present.. DSC02691.JPG

DSC02694-1.JPG The mothers having a break, in the shade of one of the classrooms, note the picture of Leopards, above their heads.. Every where you look in the Milgis School, one is reminded that looking after your environment is the key to a good life!

DSC02688.JPG Next was our scouts with their wonderful teacher Titus Lekirere, on a serious mission to explain the value of trees!! Trees give us every thing we need.. From Shade to wood, to fruit to browse for our Animals, from wood for fires to wood for our sticks.. From bringing the rain, and stopping desertification, to EVERY THING.. We must respect them!!.. DSC02681.JPG This last year throughout the drought, James Lentamalei, planted and managed to keep at least 30 trees alive, by bring water from 5 kms away by donkey.. He was given lots of praise by these youngsters.. Lentamaleis trees are now about 6 feet tall..

DSC02677-1.JPG it was a great gathering of the community!

Last but not least… the results!!… 3 top students of each glass..

DSC02696.JPG Class I DSC02698.JPG Class 2

DSC02699.JPG Class 3

DSC02700.JPG Class 4

DSC02703.JPG Class 5

I hated my schools that I went to, so when I was asked by the community to build a school for their children, it was a daunting prospect, and there was one condition… The school would have to be influenced by the Milgis Trusts concept.. PRESERVING THE WILDLIFE, THEIR HABITAT, AND THE PEOPLES WAY OF LIFE.. Maybe I worded the last bit wrong, but its the Culture of the Samburu, to me that is so valuable.. I’ve lived amoungst many different peoples, but none of them have the respect for each other, better than the Samburu.. They don’t need police, and jails they need elders!! Wise old people with plenty of experience!

I am so proud of our school as it follows our principals…The three .. Wildlife, Environment and Culture Clubs they have formed are so important, and are flourishing! The Head master of the School, Johnathan Loltianya handed this note to me, after I had told him how delighted I was with the way the school was going.. It described what each dance or song was about, and finished with these words!

Core values of Culture.. Culture in a community helps unite members, guides them positively, and binds them in love and harmony. Culture protects the youth from abuse, the elderly from abandonment, and it promotes respect amoungst different genders.. Without Culture , the society behaves like blind people, lost in a field of terraces, gullies and deep cliffs… CULTURE IS PEOPLE AND PEOPLE ARE CULTURE.. THEY SHOULD NEVER SEPARATE!!

The milgis Primary School…November 2011

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and below in August 2011!

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All is good!!

Thank’s to all for keeping the ‘Milgis’ busy!!

We would so like to THANK every one who supports ‘THE MILGIS’… So many people!!! What with Pete and Kosma’s walk which has been a great success… You can be sure that our scouts are out there working hard to look after those WISE OLD ELEPHANTS… AND trying their best to keep those Milgis LIONS safe!! A very very special thanks to Bruce who pledged £65, but times ed (X) it by 100 ! !WOW!! Thanks to Bruce, and thanks to all.. As I said before the Elephants can continue to trumpet, and those Lions WILL roar again! Kosma, you are now an ‘HONORARY’ scout to the Milgis… We will turn to your incredible wisdom (for such a young man!) for help, for many years!! Aarge is your claim to faim, but you have done so much more!

The Supporter list for the Milgis is Long, and so we are being kept very busy with all the projects!!!!!

SO WHATS GOING ON AT THE MOMENT!!

We are going to put a water project in at Nyiroiya… We THANK the ‘Just around the corner’ art auction and VOSS FOUNDATION for supporting the Milgis operations, and for the funds for a very interesting new water project in the desert East of the Ndotos Range!!.. The Solar panels have arrived in Kenya and we are going to start work as soon as the rains stop!! YES its still raining up north!

DSC07294.JPG This hand pump broke down ten years ago!! When we went to recce this project we came across some PRETTY THIRSTY PEOPLE… This project is going to really be of great help to many NOMADIC people, and animals..

DSC01287.JPG The nearest water especially in the dry season is about 20 kms away from here, near the Ndoto Mountains.. There are many people living here, who would dearly enjoy an ‘easier’ drink….

USFW ( US FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE) for a HUGE amount of support to our Elephant’s… The scouts, and operations.. Thank you…

IEF (International Elephant foundation) for facilitating water for the Elephants.. They supported a project to dig wells for the Elephants in the Luggas when the water was too far for them to reach.. Also two pan dams were hand excavated, on important Elephant routes, this we did with the communities.. These are now full of water now!! The Elephant are having a field day!

MEAK is supporting the Latakwen dispensary, employing a Nurse and cleaner and a scout, who’s job is to eradicate Trachoma, and to inform people if they have a cataracts.. ( seen in the background by the car in the striped shirt checking an old mans eyes for cataracts) Also helping so many people who have no where to turn to for help for some absolutely terrible ailments… Bringing the LIONS team in may 2011 to operate on cataracts and perform TPR ops, was very successful, and September 2012, the team will be back.. Not forgetting the new Milgis Vehicle!!

DSC00937.JPG Our prize for the year! Thank you to every one for the funds to buy, run and maintain this extremely useful pickup!!

TOTO Trust and Wanaduma continue to support several schools in the area.. building class rooms, and supporting teachers, buying books, and materials to keep the schools running.. .DSC01248-1.JPG This is the Nursery school built in Latakwen thanks to Toto Trust.. Its the smartest building in town!! DSC00746.JPG

The building on the right is new, and will soon be adorned by our Artist, Nderitu’s beautiful paintings of wildlife and habitat messages!

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Assembly at the Milgis school! Now at least 150 children.. We have now built 5 class rooms, an office, store, a small Kitchen, staff houses and a Nursery… So we need to build 3 more class rooms, ONLY and then its a full school!! The school has running water, brought up from the Lugga.. Well it did until the floods came, the well was swamped a few days ago, but we will sort this out soonest!!

Marwell zoo, and Zeke… Here he is pretending to be an Elephant!!

Scout and Sponsor kids meeting 8.11 (11).JPG He is giving a lecture on how close one should get to an Elephant… Present is all the Milgis scouts, and the children who are being sent to school in our sponsorship programme.. You might ask why would Zeke know better than, the Samburu!, but remember the Elephants were wiped out of this area by poachers, in the 70s and 80s, and some people have forgotten how to live with these wonderful animals!.. Scout and Sponsor kids meeting 8.11 (13).JPG

A little earlier on we had been watching an Elephant in the Lugga below the base.. Then we saw a warrior walking down the lugga obviously not looking around but when he saw this Elephant, lets say 50 meters in front of him, he did a 180 and headed back in the direction he came from at high speed, but suddenly thought to himself ”why am I running!!” Actually the Elephant was just standing there, and had not even seen him!!DSC01615.JPG You can see the warrior in the middle of the lugga. These dry river beds of course are used as highways, but theres a big ‘jam’ in this one!DSC01616-1.JPG You can’t see the warrior too well in the picture but hes quite close in the shade on the left bank!! Now the Elephant had noticed him, but was cool… The warrior obviously had a loooong way to go because he was keen to get past him, and on his way, so was edging along the left side of the lugga, only to his dismay, out popped 3 others,!! He then hot footed back to go a different way!! What Zeke was trying to explain is Elephants have comfort zones, and how close they like ‘the enemy’ to get to them is to be noted! They don’t have good eye sight, but very good hearing! It obviously depends on the mood of the Elephant !! And as long as we respect that you are pretty safe!! But these Elephants here were very quiet and content!!,

Scout and Sponsor kids meeting 8.11 (15).JPG Every two months all the 28 scouts and as many of the Milgis Wildlife Ambassadors walk to the Milgis base for a meeting, and when we can we incorporate the children that we are sponsoring to go to secondary school… In the holidays we hold a weeks adventure for these mostly very poor, quite clever children at the base.. We call it the wildlife club.. Thank you to mostly the ‘Women helping Women’ from Norway for this highly appreciated help..

Scout and Sponsor kids meeting 8.11 (16).JPG The whole group… Milgis Scouts and Wildlife club members, that enjoyed Zekes lecture!! We now have 20 children who are sponsored to go to secondary school… Thank you to all the sponsor parents from Norway and England..

Thank you Zeke and Marwell zoo for all you support in trying to monitor the wildlife in the area.. and lots more! Scout and Sponsor kids meeting 8.11 (33).JPG Zeke with the scouts, putting their last two months GPS co-ordinates, in the records..

Andre and Maria… We are very grateful for you contacting us! Andre is a water expert! Invaluable up there.. And Maria is going to help the communities, make sell-able artifacts, and to market them.. .. Watch this space!!

The Dam project is just amazingly successful.. Thank you to our friends in Portugal, for unbelievable continuing support here… Water is life, life comes from water!!… Since the tractor arrived last year on site we have built 14 dams… and they are ALL FULL TO OVERFLOWING NOW!!!

DSC02425.JPG Our newest dam in Ilgwe Eldome! Already has water in it.. not quite full in this picture, but it is now!!

DSC01745.JPG I love this picture of Elephant tracks in the mud!!

Wildlife Direct… you have been amazing!! Thank you for helping us all out .. That is… To GET OUR MESSAGE OUT TO THE WORLD.. WE WOULD BE ‘NO WHERE’ WITH OUT YOU… Last but unbelievably important is CATMAN of NWHS… Never a dull moment with you!! How are your two Tigers doing???? We really really thank you!!

FINALLY A NOTE TO FINISH ON…… I thought that Daphne Sheldrick hit the nail on the head with her comments below…

It is never just the poached elephant, but the dependent young that die too, and the whole herd is torn apart and irreplaceable wisdom lost as matriarchs fall. Those with the understanding and vital knowledge of how to guide their families through the harsh dry seasons that grip these areas almost annually, with the knowledge of where vital water sources lie, where safe migratory passages are, all that crucial wisdom goes with them. The beautiful big breeding bulls whose guidance and discipline is so vital for the younger male generations growing up in their wake, their demise is immeasurable too. If Africa’s elephants are to be saved the demand for ivory has to be eliminated within its far eastern destinations… Only a total ban on the sale of all ivory and ivory products, whether legal or illegal, will stem the slaughter. Impoverished communities living alongside national Parks, and in areas like ours cannot resist temptation of this nature. Elephants are being killed daily so that there tusks could be calved into a decorative ornament, or hanko. Thank goodness for DSWT and KWS that have saved many little Elephants, for they too would have been the ivory demands collateral damage.

POACHING RAVAGES ELEPHANT SOCIETY

THANK YOU TO ALL THE MILGIS VOLUNTEERS< SUPPORTERS< DONATORS< Especially to all our very special personal friends, who’ve been on safari with us and been so so generous.. From Pete and Helen, and Moses Lesoloyia, our manager, and all the Samburu who are benefiting from your incredible donations.. who’ve I forgotten??

‘Milgis’ projects gaining momentum.. First WATER!

1) Water Harvesting projects…

a) Thanks to our friends in Portugal!! Every year our scouts report many wildlife deaths because of lack of water.. In the lower Milgis several Grevy Zebra died trying to get to water this year… It is absolutely paramount that we deal with this problem, and not ignore it….. Its not an easy one, but we are trying our best…If we don’t do any thing at all we will continue to see wildlife disappearing off the face of the earth…. We only get about 3 or 4 months of the year when it rains, thousands/millions of gallons of water, rush off the Ndotos, and Matthews ranges, and disappear into the desert…The best we can do is harvest this water!! We have a very exciting new addition to the Milgis team…

This !! Dam machine 002.jpg

nov 10 014.jpg loading the machine onto the lorry for transportation to Northern Kenya…

We have spent the last two months teaching a Samburu man to drive it… they don’t grow on trees!.. But Lesukat from Maralal is ready to go and the team have just left for the East side of the Ndotos.. Hopefully we will have some results to show you soon!

Thank you to Gemka (center), leso's pics 111-2.jpg from B.P.S.for having the patience!, to teach Lesurkat, and lolbirdai to operate the machine!

b) Thanks to INTERNATIONAL ELEPHANT FOUNDATION… As you all know last year was one of the worst droughts to hit Kenya… Death was rife.. It was a terrible time.. Amongst many other Wild animals, including Grevy Zebras, we lost about 20 young Elephants due to not being able to get to water in the deep wells… Our scouts tried their best but we could not keep up with the demand.. All pics fr Lesoloyia Nov 09 133.jpg

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To avoid the possibility of the same problem this year, we wrote a proposal to IEF asking for funds.. We were now covered and ready to employ enough people to make Eley friendly wells, but as you know the rains came, and up to September this year the Elephants have not had any problems with water!!… ( I hear today all the luggas are flooding, finally some more rain up north!, it has been abit slow)

In stead, because the Elephants are trying to make the break to get to Mt Nyiru, but there is big problem.. no water enroute, and the pans that they used to drink from have not been kept up… What I mean by this is Elephants keep their own water holes open, by bathing, in them, and throwing mud around.. So each time they visit them they help keep them open, but as I mentioned in my blog in 22/6/10 the Elephant have not been there for decades due to poaching.. So recently we have opened up two pan dams by hand, one on the north side of the Ndotos, and one south west.. Basically on the route to Nyiru!

IEF dam project 007.jpg Old pan dam site, that was not holding water any more..

digging the pan outIEF dam project 011.jpg ..

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Finished pan Dam.. next picture will be full of water, we hope!, with an Elephant in it..

2) Clean Drinking WATER, Thanks to the VOSS foundation, to the Center of Ol Donyo Nasipa..

swari water launch 017.jpg The elders blessing the well at Sware in feb. 2010 in the traditional way with milk..

In Febuary 2010 we had a fabulous safari from the Milgis to Sware, with some very enthusiastic Norwegians, and at the end we handed over to the people of Sware, a little center about 5 kms south of the Seiya Lugga, a special gift ….WATER, yes water!! Thats all, but they were extremely happy.. It was a beautiful opening with a lovely show of ‘thanks’ at the school, Clinic, and at the main outlet… All the Women ‘dressed up to the nines’, to celebrate this special occasion…. It was especially satisfying for me as 20 years ago I lived there, and they asked me several times to try to organise water to this little village… Finally they got it in Febuary 2010… Now when somebody has malaria, he does not need to walk 5 kms to get a cup of water to swallow his pills!!.. And Sware is booming!

swari water launch 026.jpg The children sang beautiful songs about water, and the eldest girl recited this poem..

YOU HAVE TO TALK ABOUT WATER…WATER IS LIFE……….. YOU HAVE TO THINK ABOUT WATER…WATER IS LIFE…….. YOU HAVE TO DREAM ABOUT WATER….WATER IS LIFE…… YOU HAVE TO SING ABOUT WATER…. WATER IS LIFE……. YOU HAVE TO DRINK WATER……WATER IS LIFE………….

WITH OUT WATER, THERE IS NO LIFE.!!..

swari water launch 070.jpg Some of the Norwegian women, who came for the opening.. It is very important for people on both sides, the giving (above)and the receiving (below) to meet, and exchange there feelings!!

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The women of Sware sang as usual with so much energy, and were very emotional.. and wholesomely thankfully..

On the way to Sware, two things hit us hard.. First we came across the children from Ol Donyo Nasipa school, down in the Lugga collecting water.. No harm really, but except they had walked 4 kms, of good school time, plus they had to carry 5 liters of water back up the hill 4 kms, some of the children very small, and then get on with school… We followed the children back up to the school, and some of the Norwegian women, tried to carry the water and found its quite heavy actually! Also several things could have happened in the night to the well.. … like a flood could have passed in the night, or Elephants could have ruined the well, like here! a well destroyed by Elephants....jpg so no water for the children at all.. or even worse a flood comes through when they are still in the well…

Then later on when we were sitting having breakfast on the bank of the Lugga we saw a woman carrying a 20 liter gerry can up the hill… For those that have tried to carry 20 liters, how far did you get!! Its heavy… Very!!.. Her Donkey had died in the drought and this was her only option… This tweaked the Womens consciences!.. So at the beginning of next year the little center of Ol Donyo Nasipa will have clean drinking water, for the school, and center, and we hope the government will then put a clinic in!!

The tank and pipes….loading the lorry-1.jpg being loaded, on to the lorry..

Digging the well..
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Putting the casing into the well, so that the sides do not fall in..
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You can not do a conservation project with out the local people that live in the area.. So all these projects keep us ‘ALL on the same ship’! Also a percentage of funds from all these projects goes to the core operations… Thank you all!.. NEXT blog.. More projects.. Women Scouts, M.E.A.K.,milgis cheetahs football team, and Milgis Trust with all its success needs a vehicle!!..

Milgis School moves on nicely…

Parents day at the Milgis primary school…. Its a little different here, as much colour and song as one can find!!.. The women here dressed up to the nines!!

August 2010 183.jpgThe mothers..

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The whole colourful scene… The parents and children..

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The school Logo: The area is called Ilgwe Eldome, which means ELEPHANT HEAD, so that is depicted here… The theme of the Milgis is in side the shield.. Camels and Elephants can live together! We had a visit from our friends from the Toto Trust from Uk in August who have promised to keep their wonderful support to the school up… Thanks for coming, and for your help, with teachers and class rooms in 4 schools now… Milgis.. Latakwen, and Suruan… And we have just added on the teachers wages at a little nursery school at Nonchurra.. Thanks from from all!

August 2010 181.jpg The children in their smart uniforms… Thanks to wanaduma as well!

August 2010 185.jpg BUT NOT TO FORGET the all important issue of keeping their traditions… In my opinion extremely important, and paramount in this school.. .. The children sang absolutely beautifuly…

August 2010 135.jpgThe newest class room that was kindly donated by the wanaduma children’s project.. Thank you Suzanne and Richard and all at Wanaduma.. This is our 5th class room now… The school is coming along very nicely thanks!..

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These 5 lovely paintings by our old Friend Nderit-2 carrying the Milgis Trust message loud and clear.. “Share the lugga, and share alike”… Isn’t it a wonderful scene.. The above is out side the office of the school, next to the school logo… The Children in this school, need to be reminded every day, that its not a problem, living with Wildlife.. They used to, why does it have to be different now… What has the world come to.. We seem to be putting the wildlife behind fences.. Why?? … People think wild animals are dangerous, but not nearly as dangerous as driving down the road… I’ve lived and walked amoungst all these animals all my life, I have NEVER been threatened, and if you respect them they will respect you… So I hope these children who can’t miss seeing this message, will listen… I keep on telling them that there are not many places in the world like theirs so keep it, nurture it!!

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This lovely scene is painted on the side of the Nursery school.. Right next to the entrance of the school, anyone entering the school and each and every child walks past it in the morning, and will be reminded of the beautiful animals that exist in their land!! I love the female lions expression.. Don’t you??..