Category Archives: Health

Water will flow finally for people and Grevy’s in Masikita!!

Lene Maria clean water for Masikita

Yes the remote, dusty, dangerous centre of Masikita is the next lucky place to receive a Solar water project!! Thanks to the Bergum family from Norway who sadly lost their daughter, Lene Maria in the Utoya shooting, so wanted to remember her in a rather special and unusual way.. Also thanks to the VOSS foundation for organising the whole thing… Masikita is a very important place for many nomadic communities who come from far and wide to graze their stock here, and also for the Grevy Zebra, that live here.. The biggest problem on the Elbarta plains, where this little centre is, is WATER!! ( and insecurity, but not much we can do there!..) The Milgis Trust hopes that this project will really alleviate this problem.. We have put a very good and reliable Lorentz pump, and 12 powerful solar panels, to make sure there will always be enough for every one!.. The community are very excited about the prospects of sharing with the Grevy Zebras, and are building a special trough for this!!
On the 20th-23rd Feb. the Bergum family and representatives from VOSS foundation will be walking to Masikita to celebrate with the people, and hand over the WATER…

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DSC04531.JPG The old and the new!! A nice little group of young camels, grazing near the solar panels, in the evening light..

So what goes into these water projects, just a few photos of putting the whole thing together.. All the supplies are brought up from Nairobi in a 10 ton lorry, which in itself is an exciting 2 day journey.. Then the work starts!

DSC09047.JPG Digging the trench and laying the pipe is done mainly by the community.. this time its about 2.50 kms

DSC04461.JPG The women came to dig the trench because the men are busy looking after their stock.. The threat of Cattle thieves is very real at the moment and nobody can afford to rest.. The word relax does not exist in this part of the world!.. As usual the trench digging is done with plenty of good spirit.. DSC04450.JPG

DSC04467.JPG The lovely lady in blue, right of the child came to shake my hand with great vigour, as four months ago she was blind!.. Thanks to the eye mission in South Horr she now can dig the trench.. She is a very very happy lady!!

Next is the Solar panels.. From setting out the Solar array and welding the stand together, DSC09097.JPG

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and finally making sure that the solar panels are not steal able! I’m afraid even out here its a big problem..

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At the bore hole, taking the old diesel pump out, DSC09230.JPG

and gently putting the solar pump in..

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Now to sorting out the control boxes, and the wiring.. much concentration, and don’t need any mistakes! theres alot of power coming from those solar panels!

DSC04495.JPG Drilling holes to bolt the Control boxes, and again to make sure every thing is unstealable!

DSC04514.JPG Which wires goes where!!..

DSC04533.JPG Discussing the situation..

Finally when the solar panels were connected, the water came pouring out of the bore hole and its 5 pm!

DSC04524.JPG First person to take a drink, and excitement all round!

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DSC09347.JPG Making a sturdy base for the two 10000 litre tanks above the centre on the hill..

finally last but not least the grevys trough going in out side the centre,

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DSC04468.JPG life’s full of strains and struggles and the mother of this child came to ask for help.. Has any one ever seen any thing like this before, any one know what it is.. or where we can turn to for help this unfortunate family..

DSC04478.JPG the latest Milgis orphan!! Its literally 1 and half inches long, but strong and full of the joys of life!! Its a northern Crombec.. He/she may be small but such a character!!

Opening Eyes for the Elephants…

HORR VALLEY NOVEMBER 2nd to the 9th 2012 Milgis/MEAK Eye mission KINDLY SPONSORED by Andrew Prudnell Bruce, Ina Astrup and friends…

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This lovely Lady on the left was completely blind in both eyes, and was brought into Ngurnit in 2007.. He she is now leading another blind person in to the Mission at South Horr!

As I have mentioned many times!, the Elephants want to return to their old haunts, and Mt Nyiru is one of their favourite areas… But they are taking it very carefully as 40 years ago every single Elephant on this beautiful Mountain, and paradise for these animals, was killed by poachers.. One of The Milgis Trusts aims is to see them back safely.. This does not ‘just happen’, as there are many obstacles to tackle… One big one is the People in this area have forgotten how to live with these Gentle Giants, so NOW need to be gently reminded!..( Actually 40 years ago they probably weren’t so gentle as they were being annihilated, now they are cool!, and are ONLY looking for a safe place to live) No better way to get your message across, than to get into the communities personally and talk to them.. So why not give them a present while your at it! Give as many blind people in the area their sight back!

This a small collection of pictures taken during the week in South Horr, that says it all..

ARRIVING.. Any one with an eye problem is welcome..

DSC01294.JPG This woman is completely blind..

DSC01335.JPG The vehicles go out to the whole area and collect every one that has been screened by Daniel learaman, our warrior EYE man who can identify Cataracts and Trachoma

DSC01344.JPG After a long drive through the Chalbi desert this man takes a loooong drink.. hopefully the trip here will be worth it and he will go home with his sight..

DSC01171.JPG THIS IS STAKWELLS SPORT CENTRE IN SOUTH HORR, now turned into a eye centre!

Every one gets their Eyesight tested first ..

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Then to see the Doctor.. Dr George Odiambo Ohito, who came up with the LIONs team from Loresho Eye Hospital.. Carol, Grace, and Macharia, plus Jerry and Phylistas, DSC01186.JPG

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This poor girl below, had to have her eye removed.. But at least she will be much more comfortable..

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DSC01210.JPG The man on the left has a wonderful story… He is a Rendille man, a great character, who has been travelling for several years by foot down to wards Tanzania, buying and selling cattle.. He was on his way home finally, and was walking down the Milgis Lugga, on his way back to Korr, when he heard that there was an eye doctor coming.. He jumped on the car, and has not looked back..He had his cataract removed, and now will spread the conservation messages far and wide!!

DSC01208.JPG Lesoloyia, the Milgis Manager making up amusing soft banter at the gateway into the surgery room, so as to calm every one down!!

The scary room where it all happens,

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But they’re soon out, being carefully lead to a place to rest by our scouts..

DSC01358.JPG This woman has just had a cataract removed..

DSC01369.JPG Looking for her shoes!.. She had Bilateral TPR, as a result of Trachoma.. The Eye lashes turn into their eye and scratch until they lose the eye.. One of our main aims is to eradicate this problem.. see below..

Resting after the operation..

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DSC01366.JPG A child from the desert enjoying a a square meal.. Her Mother had a Bilateral cataracts..

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The Kitchen.. There was 6 girls and many volunteers who worked tirelessly cooking and looking after their every need around the clock, for the patients!

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Grubs up!!

DSC01280.JPG After a long Journey somebody went around and helped every one wash there hands.. Luxury!! At home they probably don’t have enough water for this…

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DSC01244.JPG these three Lady’s enjoying seeing their meal!

DSC01242.JPG At least my lovely woman had a nice meal while she was there!

Early morning cup of tea, before the Doctor comes to remove the bandages..

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DSC01314.JPG this little girl came in from kargi , she has cataracts and was referred to Nairobi.. Her grandmother accompanied her .. She had 2 cataracts done..

The wonderful happy stories after their patches are removed are special..

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Dr George did 214 operations in the week.. 182 Cataracts, and 28 Tprs and 4 others! 4 children were referred to Nairobi..

I love this picture below, its my old Rendille friend telling all the new comers from Kargi, thats all going to go well.. We had nobody in the building who could speak the language! So wasn’t it lucky he was there!

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A Huge amount of THANKS to MEAK,

DSC01381.JPG and by the way… this woman had a broken arm and came to find help… Can you believe it MEAK had an orthopaedic mission going on at the same time in Nanyuki, so she was rushed off to Nanyuki in an aeroplane, two days later she was smiling with gratefulness!!

PARAMOUNT ‘THANKS’ to Andrew and Sophie Prudnell Bruce, and Ina Astrup and all other contributers for raising the funds for this amazing mission..

Thankyou Beverly Othwein for being there for us,

LIONS Loresho Eye Hospital,

Samburu Sports Centre, and Stakwell.. who was unbelievably kind to the hundreds of people that came, and was helpful every where..

The many volunteers who worked tirelessly..

Marwell Wildlife, for lending an extra vehicle to collect the patients..
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Tropicair, for bringing the Doctors and Nurses up to South Horr for costs only..

Also so many thanks to Isabel Wilcox for all the support you give to the Latakwen Dispensary, and Rita Lekisaat pictured above with Supukan Lesoloyia, the Milgis Trust Manager..

Well done learaman..Learaman the milgis Eye Warrior.JPG

Daniel learaman, who is kindly sponsored by Jane Furse has spent the last year walking the entire area that the Milgis trust operates in and further , tying to explain to people that they need to wash there faces, in order to stop the flies laying eggs on their eye lids… The awful suffering,Trachoma that follows is not kind to any one..

Thanks to all!!

The Milgis is roaring!

In more ways than one!! Scouts working hard, and Elephants happy, Tractor going strong, Schools going well, Sponsor kids back at school, etc, etc but perhaps today the most important bit of news, on this one year anniversary since Pete’s mega walk on Oct 15th 2011…. IT IS RAINING in Northern Kenya!!.. Soooo Exciting..

DSC00891-001.JPG This picture was taken last week as we walked up the Milgis Lugga, on our way home from a safari from Ngurnit.. *it was hot, really HOT!.. The signs for rain were looking good!.. Not a cloud in the sky in this picture, but thats the last thing to happen out here!..

DSC00900.JPG *The winds blowing up the Milgis Lugga between the Matthews and Ndotos have been very impressive… The white in the picture above is the sand being picked up.. Its looks like a mirage, but it is sand, and it really stings your legs!..

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That same afternoon, we played a football match on the beautiful flat sand of the Barsaloi Lugga.. Actually it was one of the funniest football matches I’ve ever watched.. Samburu V Norwegians… The score was a draw, at least we thought it was .. Every one was laughing so much.!! ..

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One week later ….. This is what the Milgis lugga looks like today!!!… A roaring, raging muddy river !!.. Thats where we were walking one week ago…

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*But again we had plenty of warning as the flowering Acacias were absolutely fabulous..

DSC00569-001.JPG Acacia Melifera.. The Honey Acacia in flower as far as the eye can see..

*And of course whorl winds all over! DSC01074-001.JPG You can see the Acacia Melifera in flower in the fore ground..

DSC00518.JPG DSC00519.JPG The Aroma is extraordinary..

The Elephants were on the move again !!http://milgistrust.wildlifedirect.org/How on earth do the Elephants know its going to rain??

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*The wind storms in Kaisut desert were amazing.. Lifting red dust high into the sky.. *The Guinea fowl were singing the rain song… *The trees were all bursting into leaf.. *The 9th October morning the clouds arrived… So its all good in the Milgis… …(*signs of rain coming)

Other bits of good news….

Despite unbelievable winds, NO FIRES this year in the mountains and in the Luggas.. .. I am really proud to say that the message has got through, and apart from the odd accident its been an amazing dry season…

Mureya, now a beautiful young Rendille girl, and normal, but when we first met her, she was completely crazy.. She lost her Father and Mother, also her own baby in a cholera outbreak about 2 years ago… She met us on a safari back in August at Ngurnit, and it was a pitiful sight.. Moses Lesoloyia, held a kind hand out to her and invited her into the camp, gave her a cup of tea, and I think this was the first time she had felt kindness to her since she discovered her family were gone.. .. We sent her down to the Nakuru mental hospital, and with in a few days she was back home but this time with people who cared for her..

Just a couple of pictures of a beautiful Grevy Zebra, taken at Anderi, on the East side of Mt Nyiru… Isn’t it a magnificent Animal.. They’re only about 2700-3000 left in the whole world, and one of their biggest problems is getting to water in the dry season.. They walk miles and miles to find it.. Here all is good and the water was easily available to them..

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Masiketa are going to be the lucky ones for the next VOSS/Lena Bergum water project. What is the connection here of Lene Bergum and Masiketa.. Lena Maria Bergum was killed on Utoya Island in Norway, and her parents want a memory that means something… The people at Masiketa centre which is about 30 kms North of Elkanto, have been asking us for help with water for a long time, and this may be very fitting for the Bergum family .. This an amazing place because they live with the permanent stress of attacks from armed stock thieves, and yet people choose to live there.!! 6/11/08 heres a harrowing story.. not for the fainthearted though… Why do people choose to live there, with this permanent threat on their shoulders?? Because the grazing for their animals, their livelihood, and ‘bank’ is good.. There is a school, and a clinic there, plus a pretty good number of people..There isn’t a single family here that hasn’t lost, or had wounded a member of their family to the bullet.. But they are very resilient and always look forward to a new day!. There are times when many, many people come from far and wide ( as far as 200 kms away) to find grazing for their livestock.. Talking with Elders at tank site.JPG Heres Pete discussing with the Elders of Masiketa on where to put the main tank..

As I have mentioned several times in my blogs, the Elephants have this urge to get back to Mt Nyiru, which a few have done, but have returned to the Ndotos, because they are not sure… One of the biggest problems is because they have not been seen there in the last 40 years, every one wants to see them.. This of course makes them nervous.. We still have alot of work to do on this, and theres no better way than spending time, and creating awareness while helping people with their eye problems!.. The Milgis Trust in conjunction with MEAK will be doing another Eye mission up at South Horr on the 2nd of November for a week..

DSC00239.JPG In May last year this girl was almost blind, but thanks to MEAK and the Lions eye team she is back on the road..

Doctor George Ohito with 5 nurses from the L.I.O.N.S Eye Hospital will be there.. … We are hoping once again to reach out to many people who live in darkness but with a simple cataract operation, they will get their sight back.. Also many people with Tracoma need help.. Daniel Learaman ‘our Warrior eye man’ has screened far and wide, right up to Loiangalani and Mt Kulal to find patients who can be helped.. He has screened over a 1000 people, and he has 400 on his list!.. I am sure some people may chicken out but many will benefit.. Then I can get my bit in while they are recovering about the Wildlife, and Forests!!

Finally a great picture of an Elephant .. Its on the wall in a little road side shop in Ilaut.. There has not been Elephants here for 40 years.. This is a positive sign!

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again a huge huge THANKS to all who support the Milgis!..

WE ARE WINNING!!

By the way Our CD ‘Samburu Echos’ is nearly ready.. We are hoping to sell it to raise money for the Milgis Trust.. ‘Samburu helping Samburu’ through song… Next Blog will have all the info.. Its really beautifully done thanks to Gavin Hogg and Ben Evans, and many other generous people…..

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??

A real reason to SMILE!! THREE actually!!

THE FIRST REASON IS THESE TWO CAN SEE AGAIN, AND THE SECOND IS SOME OF OUR NEW PAN DAMS HAVE WATER IN THEM!!!!! THIRD ‘ JUST AROUND THE CORNER ‘ ART AUCTION was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!!!

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This brother and sister, had never seen each other before!! WHY?? Because they were born blind!!.. With the wonderful LIONS club Eye team, and MEAKs incredible organisation, and dedication and TROPICAIR‘s Generosity, well over 100 Nomadic people living in the Milgis Ecosystem, are better off than a month ago!! About 140 Cataract and TPR (tracoma complications) operations were performed, but many were bilateral..

THANK YOU VERY VERY MUCH TO ALL WHO WERE INVOLVED IN THIS GREAT MISSION… Especially to Beverly for making it possible .. You are amazing..

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Beverly who has supported the Milgis in many different ways, was back again to help physically, and financially.. Here is a very very happy person, thanking her, and Daniel Learaman, who found her! He has been out there walking from Manyatta to Manyatta, for 4 months, identifying peoples eye problems, and telling them to come to Latakwen, 1st may 2011!!

DSC00947.JPG Daniel in the field identifying the problem..

DSC07636.JPG Daniel is absolutely thrilled to sit next to this lovely girl, who he has taken alot of trouble to bring to the Mission.. Below she was handed a mirror, and she immediately admired her beads, and adjusted them!..

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The vehicles went far and wide to collect patients, and sadly the only rain we have had this year fell during this week!.. Most of it upstream but it still made it incredibly difficult to gather all the waiting patients, from miles around..

DSC00917.JPG Crossing the Milgis Lugga, on the first day, but later it was not possible to cross by car as then a huge flood came down.. Although the rain was a ‘ God send ‘, people who could not see, were stranded very where.. But the drivers worked day and night to try to collect every one.. How could they miss such an incredible thing.. An opportunity to see again, for free!! Free food, and transport…

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As usual the MILGIS MESSAGE was spread far and wide, Below, Just before the vehicles left to take each group of people back to theirs homes.. All the scouts and the manager Moses Lesoloyia, would spend half an hour explaining where this help came from, why, and how.. The Milgis was started because of two things that happened.. One there was an enormous destructive fire in the Matthews Forest, and secondly there was a beautiful bull Elephant, shot in the knee, and eventually died of its wounds.. This is what sparked it off, and all these fringe benefits come to people who CARE FOR THE FUTURE OF THIS AREA AND ITS FLORA AND FAUNA!!

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DSC01019.JPG Ready to go well armed with good eyes,and a serious message to take home!! ‘ Look after your future’!!

Some places had pretty good rain.. Certainly the big luggas were flooded for a few days… But the rain was very patchy, and some places had none.. But a few of the pan dams I am happy to say have a little water in them.. The people who have been absolutely struggeling for water in Aarge area were the luckiest!! ..

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I have to tell you that they deserve every drop they got, because they get the prize for not cutting one single tree down for their goats, and sheep, no burning, and have been thoroughly responsible in every way.. We are delighted!! This area to the South East of the Ol Donyo Maras has been very very dry.. I know our friends in Portugal, will be ‘ over the moon ‘ .. Thanks to you both..

LAST But not least.. The ‘ JUST AROUND THE CORNER’ ‘ art Auction has been and Gone, with absolutely unbelievable results… Well done ALL, and THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR BELIEVING AND SUPPORTING VOSS foundation AND MILGIS PROJECTS… LONG LIVE THE MILGIS ECOSYSTEM.. its people, forests and wildlife!

‘EYE’ for conservation.. and Art Auction..

TO WIN IN CONSERVATION YOU NEED THE PEOPLE ‘ON THE SAME BOAT’!!… There are many people with severe eye problems in these areas..

lining up.jpg Registering the patients..

We are going to be busy the first week of may!.. The little tiny centre of Latakwen will be bustling for 1 week!.. One of our Milgis partners is MEAK ( Medical and Educational AID to Kenya) a lovely little charity from England, run by the unbelievably dedicated Mike and Dee Belliere.. Through MEAK we will be helping the Samburu people see again!.. There will be a team of nine people from ‘LIONS’ Club Kenya.. 2 Eye surgeons, 4 nurses, 1 outreach co-ordinator, plus a dentist and nurse!!

While we are out on safari we come across many people with terrible eye problems, and its actually not that difficult or expensive to help!! BUT ITS A HUGE AMOUNT OF WORK!! We did it in 2005, and again in 2007, and these pictures below show some of the extraordinary moments!..

THANK you Beverly for funding this..

This woman had been sitting in her home up near Mt Nyiru for quite some years, blind, not being able to help, feeling useless.. She heard their was help, and jumped at the thought of possibly seeing again!.. She arrived at Ngurnit Dispensary in the back of a lorry, 100kms to see the doctors!.. She was lead up to the clinic..

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catarracts.jpg Bilateral Cataracts and completly blind..

catarract operation.jpg In to the operating room… scary moments, but worth it! Its over in 10- 15 minutes! Last time we worked with Dr Helen Roberts, from Kwale eye hospital, this time it will be LIONS club…

may 07 077.jpg Here she is, with her friends, and quite happy!!

Wait 24 hrs and the patch is removed! cup of tea after the operation.jpgFree food and tea for all our patients!!

MT scout explaining after care-1.jpg Daniel Learaman, who had a one week training at Kwale Eye hospital, reassures the ladies that all will be well!

may 07 078.JPG I love this picture of our woman, back in the lorry and on her way home, she is having a look at her neighbours beads!! Isn’t that great!!

latakwens oldest man, blind and cant walk.jpgThis old man, maybe in his 90s, was brought in he had been living in darkness for a long time, and had given up living.. But after the operation, he ate a hearty meal, the old man after op..jpg and was taken home for the night… Apparently he took his own patch off, early the next morning, and BINGO, he could see his camels.. He then stuck it back on to come to the dispensary!, and told us he could already see!!.. He lived another 5 years, showing interest in the goings on, around him!.. Amazing!..

Lastly this is the lovely girl, that had been blind from birth.. She is mentioned in the health (section of our main website)

yes she will see for 1st time in life.jpg This was the moment Dr George took off the patches to check if she could see.. The man on the left is the area chief, who wanted to be the first to know!! This girl now is out with her livestock, living a wonder full nomadic life, in song, yet she spent 18 years in darkness.. Her two brothers are blind, and will be coming to the clinic!!

Lastly, thanks to MILGIS TRUST/MEAK these two girls have found help.. The girl with her husband had the most terrible Madura foot, and had most of her lower leg amputated.. For the last 3 years she has been trying to live in the desert, on one leg.. We managed to help her get a prosthetic leg.. .. Nov.Dec 2010 261.JPG

Now she is walking perfectly

Nov.Dec 2010 058.JPG This girl, has a goitre problem, she could die if its not treated, treatment is massively expensive, but through MEAK, we have managed to find help through LIONS… Thanks so much!..

Finally I am away for 3 weeks, but I would like to remind you all of the exciting ART AUCTION, ON THE 22ND MAY.. ‘JUST AROUND THE CORNER’ .. It is raising money for VOSS foundation/Milgis projects..

http://www.thevossfoundation.org/assets/JAC_salgskatalog_Mons-copy-lav.pdf

Toyota landcruiser is on the Milgis wish list!.. but don’t run away?? PLSE read on….

All pics fr Lesoloyia Nov 09 156.jpg This fabulous bull died in July 09.. REASON.. conflict over water in the drought.. He was shot at, and died many days later from his wounds.. Tooooo sad.. This picture is here to show you the size of the one that died in Seren.. Killed by poachers..

Its a sad time for us.. We have let one of our beautiful Elephants down.. Last week we had our first really serious/professional, if you can call it that, Elephant poaching incident north of the Ndoto Mountains a beautiful ‘Sangilai’ or lone bull was shot dead, his tusks removed, (not by a Samburu I’m sure), with a saw at Seren… Only 5 years ago he would not have been in this area because he was still warey of what happened 30 years ago, but because we have given them security they have been feeling braver, and going to places that they used to be frightened of.. So have we failed in our duty??… Of course not.. because our 22 scouts ( we need more) can’t be every where all the time and we are covering a huge area.. But its woken us up, not only us, but all the communities, and KWS!.. On hearing the news, our scouts rushed to the scene, but for most of them it was 1 to 2 days walk.. Too slow for this kind of emergency.. I’m sure you’ll agree.. We know who did it, and it is being followed up and ‘no stone will be left unturned’, by our scouts nor by KWS.. What we really really need now is a vehicle, a reliable one where we can move quickly!

Each time I write a blog to try to raise money, I always notice theres abit of silence on the comments!! I’m sure you are all having a fit at this one! A new Toyota Landcruiser is no exception, it is around $ 50000 .. But with in 6 months of writing my wishes, each time somebody quietly perks up with the money!! The vet. project P9272444.jpg‘QUALITY V QUANTITY!)
P9222399.JPG

water harvesting programme, nov 10 039.jpg written about in my last blog are good examples… We now have the money, and its for us to implement them!! So here we go.. But we now need a vehicle to keep up..

Why do we need a vehicle… Doesn’t every one walk in the Milgis area ?? Yes I agree but for example with this poaching incident we needed to move fast!! With the trust gaining momentum, the manager needs a vehicle to follow up on all Wildlife work, and to keep up with all the other programmes to keep the people ‘on the same ship’, and keep them involved in conserving their land and their wildlife!! ..

As I mentioned earlier our livestock veterinary project is financed for 3 years.. We are very very grateful to Rupert Watson for believing in us and organising the funds… In short we have many plans, but most importantly is to try improve the quality of the livestock, by !encouraging! the pastoralists who are experts in livestock husbandry, but have their short falls.. like *keeping too many animals in over grazed areas, and the *wrong usage of modern drugs, being two important problems… *Controlling outbreaks of disease.. This camel died of hemorrhagic septacaemia.. a perfectly healthy animal was dead in 12 hours.. August 2010 126.jpg To lose a camel like this with a disease that can actually be controlled is unforgivable.. Forget how much it is worth to the stock man..We want to try to contain the problem, not have so many animals die, and hopefully not let it spread to the wild animals, who seem to be so easily taken out when there is an outbreak.. Especially lately the lesser kudu, and Dikdiks.. The other advantages of this programme… *Working out a better system than just breeding, and breeding and not selling, then finding they loose so many animals in a drought! *Stemming the terrible erosion.. *Encouraging the keeping of camels, P9212303.jpg who only browse, and their feet do so much less damage to the environment.. *This dog has terrible mange, the warrior really loves his dog, sony jan 10 340.jpg but has no way to treat it. The dog is his watch man, warns him of predators, and looks after his cows..

*Giving dogs a better future by vaccinating against rabies and and treating worms etc, so that they can in turn be more active in warning of predators.. It would also mitigate the terrible fear of rabies the Samburu people have..

sony jan 10 322.jpg We wanted to inject this dog, but it had never been handled, so this is how they dealt with the problem.. Shame…

This Donkey was downed by a hyena, P9242439.jpg it took the hyena 2 minutes to inflict this damage.. The owner was ready to kill all the hyenas in the area.. We tried to help, but we were on safari, so could not continue the treatment.. Our resident vet can help with many situations like this..

Again there is no stopping to how this programme can grow, and the important thing is to believe that Wildlife and People can live in the same place! hard to believe when you see this Donkey, but if there had been a healthy dog around to look after the animals in the Koral, it would not have happened..

Last but NOT least.. The people in this area deserve good medical attention, and we can say thank you to MEAK for this..

leso's pics 105-1.jpg

The Clinic in Latakwen is fully functional now with a full time nurse, who is always on standby for medical problems or emergencies.. The only thing we need is a vehicle to transport patients when she can’t deal with the situation!

leso's pics 076-3.jpgleso's pics 077-3.jpg

This lad came in with Madura foot.. There is no way he could walk to hospital… 100 kms. He will probably have to have his foot amputated, only because he found help too late….

There are many links to other blogs here ,please try and check them out…

To solve some of the major problems emerging Milgis Trust unveils our new vet proposal…

Milgis Trust

Vet Unit, northern Kenya

In a place as remote as the Ndoto Mountains and Matthews Range of northern Kenya where do the people turn when their animal is in trouble?

Our conservation veterinary unit will not only offer desperately needed veterinary services to the livestock of the incredibly remote Samburu, Rendille and Turkana nomadic tribes, but will campaign without fail to improve quality rather than quantity of livestock in the hope of reducing the degradation of the land, the struggle for water and therefore the presence of human/wildlife conflict.

On top of this, because it is such a inaccessible area, with approval from the veterinary department of the KWS we will give first aid care to the young or sick wild animals, that we find abandoned…Either to nurture them back to being fit enough to return to the wild with the least trauma, or to arrange for them to go to further care.. Just this year we have had several animals brought in that needed help.. [The Greater Kudu calf, mother killed by hunting dogs, baby warthog, found stuck in the mud were perfect examples, of animals that may have survived if they had had vet care ]

This project will be life changing for the people, and their valuable livestock and the entire ecosystem of over 4,000 sq kms that the Milgis Trust team works tirelessly to conserve.

very young greater kudu...JPG Very young greater kudu… his stomach lining was bleeding having been picked up after his mother was killed, by wild dog, and fed from dirty bottles…

This Vet Unit will practise standard veterinary care and help to coordinate referrals and transportation for wildlife to other wildlife care/veterinary units in emergency situations. It will be a permanent presence at the MT headquarters with a full-time qualified vet charging a small fee for services for community livestock. There would not be any thing like the amount of lose of stock this year if the animals were healthy before the drought begun.. It will also be a conservation campaigning unit that will offer advice and guidance on how to improve quality rather than quantity of livestock, as well as livestock marketing and work to combat land degradation, human/wildlife conflict and drought crisis.

Dead livestock.jpg Common scene every day…

The Milgis Vet Unit’s 4 objective S’s & how we can accomplish those objectives:

SPEED of response to emergency calls

(Patrolling scouts, vet on call, communication devices, vehicle)

SKILL of a trained field vet in handling calls and campaigning

(Permanent trained field vet located at MT HQ)

SAFETY of the animal whilst in our care

(Trained staff helpers, quality equipment, medical supplies, feed and resources)

SUSTAINABILITY of the aftercare of the animal its accommodation and its safe release

(Permanent veterinary building and enclosure, continuous collaboration and support from conservancies in the area)

METHODOLOGY:

1) Construction of Vet Unit building and enclosure at Milgis Trust HQ

· Building 1. Vets accommodation on site.

· Building 2. Veterinary surgery, feed store, medical store & equipment store

· Enclosure. 2 x Fenced Pens and 2 x Covered pens

2) Purchase of Vet Vehicle

3) Purchase of supplies

· Medical equipment

· Medicines and supplies

· Animal feed

· Transport resources and petrol

4) Hiring permanent government qualified field vet

· Interviewed by KWS and Milgis Trust

5) Set-up an efficient communication rapid-response radio system

· Connect Milgis Trust scouts, Mini Vet Unit & KWS

6) Create an Emergency fund & backup support

· Air transport backup if needed to DSWT or other in Nairobi

7) Create Community awareness and fee list for veterinary services for community livestock

· Communities would pay a fee to have their livestock treated

· Regular and continual livestock campaigns to reduce quantity of stock and raise quality

· Health checks and rabies vaccinations of domestic dogs

Spitting Cobras! friend or foe.???

We are all conservationists , us lot who write the blogs and our readers!, but I can see we are divided, about SNAKES!!..Thanks so much for every ones nice ‘ good recovery’ comments to Pete!… Actually he is back in hospital, as now the secondary infection which we have been warned about is coming out.. Abscesses, but we hope to have that under control soon, and get on to the ‘home strait soon’… Ay, Ay, Ay…The moral of the story is don’t get bitten by a snake! We all know that but as Anna hopes, and I hope!!, it was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time… But Anna, I thought two wrongs made a right!?? To be positive the Right of this is we’ve all learnt abit more, and all your comments are adding to our experience…But Sheryl, when you come to Africa, if I’ve made 48 years with out even a threat from a snake, don’t worry!!.. I’ll send a Samburu into the shower with you with his ‘rungu’ because after two days here we won’t beable to live with you!!!

Our trip to the doc., turned out to be a ‘funny’ story, now at least, as Pete has got over it, and the doc apologised!! We had been told that if there are any signs of soft swellings etc to go and see a doctor…So we make an appointment, and head to Nanyuki Cottage hospital, Dr Butt is an expert on snake bite, but as we are getting out of the car we get a phone call that don’t bother to come unfortunately there has been two emergencies, and he can’t see you, but we persevered and waited, and we were told 2 hours and he will be with you… Good news.. !! But suddenly, 15 minutes before our ‘D’ time a vehicle comes racing in at high speed..There was guy who had been shot, so we were told sorry but you’ll have to come back tomorrow.. Luckily the head nurse had seen Pete, and she told the doctor… Sorry please give Pete 5 minutes… When he saw Pete’s ankle, he now realised he had two more emergencies, but the operating theatre was already occupied.. The doc made a quick decision, and Pete had to endure a ‘bush type op.!’as if he had left it any longer, it would turned into septicaemia… Pete nearly expired!.. But he survived to tell the tale, and today he is feeling so much better!!..

Bob, actually probably the snake expert of all of us!… glad you saw my blog, actually was going to contact you on this experience, when you update your book, you must ask Wamba hospital, about all the various, esp.red spitter bites they deal with.. While we were there was a woman who was bitten on her finger, and they actually brought the snake in for identification!… On our part, at 3 am with Pete there was no sign of panic, or surprise they went about getting the Fav-Afrique anti-venom, into Pete as soon as possible!!… Two weeks before two children sleeping in the same bed, one was bitten on the cheek, pretty big reaction, the other one was bitten on the forehead,.. no reaction at all .. obviously all the venom had gone into the first, one!.. Both cases were lucky to be close to Wamba!.. That Rendille kid was pretty lucky to find you!.. The good news!!, as most of us conservationists believe… is really, snakes are usually heading in the opposite direction, and don’t want to know… What is strange about this incident is… The snake came from the out side.. he was not cornered, Pete actually was, although he did not know it, until it was too late.. !! Wrong place at wrong time!!.. or what??

What its like to be bitten by a Spitting Cobra!!..a serious night mare…

You may be wondering ‘why the silence’, on my part… No blogs, but this ordeal ‘got’ to me thats for sure!!… Imagine this situation!!… Friday 5th June 9.30 pm, we are at Elkanto.. miles from nowhere.. We were meant be leaving on a dream safari to climb over the Ndoto Mountains… But it wasn’t to be.. Pete Ilsley, my partner and a trustee of the Milgis Trust, had just finished his open air shower, standing there drying his back, when he feels a tap on his leg, and then a second tap… Its full moon, but his leg is in the shadows, and he can’t see what it is, so he finds his torch, thinking it may be a big cricket or something else like that, thats landed on his leg!! Not a man to panic, as sometimes brushing things off your self can be more dangerous…. BUT Ha Ha… It was a five foot copper coloured collared spitting cobra, literally chewing on his leg…

spitting cobra 001.jpgThis is a juvenile copper coloured spitting cobra… Not the one that got Pete!

A sight he will never forget!!.. Unbelievably frightening, he hit it hard with his towel twice before he let go… He shouted ‘Helen, Helen I’ve been bitten by a snake… ‘ By this time, I was fast a sleep, I was really tired… but the moment I saw the bite marks I knew there was no more sleep to be had, and that we had to move fast !!.. OUR NIGHT MARE HAD BEGUN!.. The most important thing is not to panic! … I was given some BLACK STONES 25 years ago, by a Belgian guy who came on safari… I have carried them on every single trip since then and never used them!….. So the first thing I did was cut through the bite marks to make them bleed, and stuck the black stone on both bites… Do they work?? We believe they do!! many people are divided, from absolutely NOT, don’t know, and they DO work… We are definitely in the ‘believe in them’ category, after what we went through!!.. All the Samburu ran to help, and we made a decision that we had to get to a hospital, AS QUICK AS POSSIBLE!.. So ten guys picked him up in a blanket, and headed down the mountain side to the vehicle… We wrapped the whole leg in crepe bandages to try to stem the flow of poison to the rest of the body… and we set off… The excruciating pain that followed, was like somebody peeling off his skin, and rubbing salt in… It is only 91.5 kms to Wamba Hospital, but it took us five and a half hours of hell, to get there…there is hardly a road to start with, and the part of the road that exists was badly washed away, in the last rains… Not this year!! Pete was complaining of unbelievable pain in his stomach, which we later found out was the poison [enzymes] literally digesting Pete’s insides… 3 am we eventually arrive and Pete tells me he can taste blood in his mouth… Wamba hospital can take full credit for saving Pete’s life, but it was a battle, also to get the pain under control, and eventually they ‘knocked him out’… Luckily he knew nothing until Sunday morning… But we had a very worrying Saturday…

I am so sad this has happened…I LOVE those snakes.. I have lived side by side with them all these years, why did this one get so angry. It was not cornered, was it chasing a mouse, or looking for water, or just crazy with humans, and all that we are doing to destroy our world?? I was born and brought up living in the bush, I enjoy it so much because it is not possible to get lonely, as there is always something around , be it a lizard, mouse, snake, bird, dikdik, cricket, scorpion, hyena, Genet cat what ever… all the beautiful things that live in the bush, and now I feel let down… Now every one tells me you can not live with snakes??… Two weeks later Pete is doing well.. sounds like hes a snake hater now!!.. and I don’t blame him.. He still has a very swollen foot, and who knows which way it will go, but amazingly no necrosis, which we were warned of… I think that was because of the BLACK STONE!