Category Archives: Samburu

Frozen Elephants?

In May 2010, we were camping on the South side of Mt Nyiru, when one of the Samburu came and asked me if I had seen the Frozen people…… What on earth was he talking about? So off we went to check it out!..

to find the rest of the story please go to the ‘The Milgis Journal’

http://milgistrust.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/frozen-elephants-or-elephant-matywooins/

And this is the main link http://milgistrust.wordpress.com/

If you would like to be reminded each time I write a blog, please follow these instructions!! On the left hand column of the homepage of the Milgis Journal there is a button called FOLLOW US HERE – above that button is a box where you can write in your email address. Write in your email address and then press the button FOLLOW US HERE –

Elephant Matywooins?

sorry but for some reason I can not get the pictures to go on? I have tried again under a different title but still the same..

Kosma our Milgis Honorary scout gets married!

And what a special day it was… The Colours, The singing, The dancing.. and most important The seriousness of Kosmas big day!!..

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Most people who have been on safari with us will recognise Kosma.. He along with Lemagas, are the heart and soul of our Safaris.. Kos works incredibly hard and keeps all our guests very happy!!.. Hes was chosen as our Milgis Honorary scout because every time we have had orphaned animals brought in, he has taken it upon himself to get them through their young days.. His prize was Aarge the cheetah who was so emaciated and lonely when she was found, and he gave her a reason to live.. In Samburu tradition it would be unusual for a young man to be so important in the Milgis Hierarchy but after the walk he did with Pete.. 65kms from Ngurnit to Elkanto for the Elephants and Lions he gained it naturally!!.. His radio call sign is ‘LGWAAK’ which means Hadada Ibis, a bird with plenty to say!. Kos has always got advice and lots to say on the Milgis radio network!

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Kosma and his best man.. And below All ‘his’ warriors! at least on this wonderful day..They were there for him!

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I love this picture below of all the warriors headdresses.. This is them singing the ‘baringoi’ the song that is the starter at all ceremonies..

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THE JOURNEY to collect his beautiful bride!!.. Starts in Sware..

DSC04410.JPG The two all important sheep, one for the brides mother ‘pakerr’ and one for someone poor who will be lucky!

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Flooded rivers to cross.. Matabauwa..half way to Ngurnit!

NGURNIT.. Finally there.. 27th April.. The girl is from the neighbouring Rendille tribe, their traditions are very alike.. but their language is completely different… although living on the border of Samburu she at least speaks the language!!..

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Delivering the ‘Pakerr’ to the brides mother..

DSC04433-001.JPG The cow that will be slaughtered at the wedding, has to be pure white with no makings on its skin..

DSC04823.JPG The women sorting out all the meat.. Each part of the cow is carefully cut and shared out to the various groups of people..

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The bride ‘Gaiberten’ and her friends she will be leaving behind.. Poi mountain in the back ground.. Ngurnit is the most dramatically beautiful place.. Towering mountains on one side and desert on the other.. and with all the colour and song it was extra beautiful!

THE PARTY STARTS!

DSC04472.JPG The married men and women generally dance first.. Every one gives it there best..

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Then its the warriors and girls that take the show on.. From 2 pm till midnight they danced and sung, the most rhythmic beautiful sounds..

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Every one that is not married can join in.. Hours and hours they will dance like this.. .. How they keep it up is beyond me.. Right into the full moon night..

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We camped very close to the party, in fact from where I took this picture, and of course one was not able to sleep! But what it reminded me, is to tell all those that have the Ndoilo CD that always make sure you listen to it in a special place, with no other distractions, or noise.. Turn it on when theres a full moon coming over the horizon, or when you have a breathtaking view to look at.. Turn the volume up!, take a glass of wine and relax…. Don’t try to listen to it as back ground music!!

Anyway… Back to the wedding!.. THE NEXT MORNING.. every one waits patiently for the bride to come out of her house for the last time..

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DSC04870.JPG Finally our beautiful ‘Gaibarten’ arrives in all her finery, and carrying her baby on her back.. Yes kosma has a baby!!

DSC04875.JPG Here she is waiting to be lead out of her old home by her two men!

DSC04877.JPG The blessing from the elders as the three leave the manyatta for the last time..

DSC04884.JPG The best man must look after every need of the girl, as Kosma can’t look back wards.. Her feet must not touch any water all the way home, so in theory the best man has to carry her, but luckily for him this time he will be spared!..

DSC04882.JPG Taking a drink of milk to quench her thirst, as she has a long journey..

DSC04890.JPG The 3 of them must not look back.. Only forwards..

Usually of course they would be walking the distance back home, but because of Kosmas long years of hard work and wonderful reliability he managed to buy himself an old landrover!.. So she’s abit lucky!! Although its going to be long and hot ‘safari’ in the front of that Landrover, for about 130 kms over roads that most people would not call a road! especially now after our amazing rains this year! It will take two days..

DSC04902.JPG Going Home! And by the way the fire she will light in her new home has to be started with dung from a young Elephant!

The Milgis Trust aims to conserve the wildlife, the habitat and the peoples way of life.. This means we admire the culture of these beautiful people and we truly believe they should not lose any of their old ways.. They are good, sound and make very good sense.. This wedding was true Samburu/Rendille tradition at its best! HAPPY DAYS KOS FROM ALL OF US…


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

Sarah’s endurance race for Elephants…

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Sarah… THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS!! Below is her letter to her friends and acquaintances.. We are ABSOLUTELY delighted that this is for our Elephants!! We wish Sarah all the very best, and we know shes going to beat all records because its for the best cause in the book!! GO>>>> SARAH!!!

Dear Friends,

I have long had this crazy dream of skiing Vasaloppet, so finally I registered to compete on February 25th . The Vasa race is an annual long distance (90km/56 miles) cross-country ski race between the village of Slen and Mora (imagine London to Brighton). It is the oldest, the longest, and the biggest (in terms of participants) cross-country ski race in the world. The race was inspired by Swedish King Gustav Vasa in 1520 when he was escaping the troops of Christian II (Christian the Tyrant).

I’m not sure I’m going to make it to the finish line, and even if I do, I sincerely doubt I’ll be able to match Pippa Middleton’s impressive time of 7hr 13mins despite my father wishing the contrary.. Out of the 15,800 racers only about 10% are women, I believe this is because it is ridiculously difficult – as you can see in this brilliant clip from last years race:Â Vasaloppet 2011 Aj AJ Oj OJ.mov

If you want to place a bet on me making it to the finish line then I would really love to be able to share this with a cause very close to my heart, The Milgis Trust and Elephant conservation. Please help me to lend a small contribution by donating to the paypal account for the The Milgis Trust

Milgis Trust website http://www.milgistrustkenya.com

The Milgis Trust is based in Northern Kenya and works to conserve the wildlife, habitat and pastoral ways of life in the remote and beautiful Milgis area, which covers 8,000 sq km around the Milgis River. It really is the most remarkable organisation. Managing on a small budget it does so much, supporting the community through health, education and clean water projects, and protecting the diverse but fragile Milgis eco-system, including fighting the escalating battle against wildlife poaching through its network of Milgis Trust scouts. It is working well but they can’t do it without the funds, so this very, very important, and they appreciate this so much!

£75 provides food provisions for the Milgis Trust primary school for one week, £100 pays for the essential wildlife scouts meeting, which happens every two months £220 pays wages for the Milgis Trust Medical Clinic nurse for one month £5,000 pays for an operation with a wildlife vet to dart and treat an elephant wounded by poachers.

Elephant conservation

The Elephants in Africa are being decimated once more after about 20 years of slight respite, and the saddest thing is that the world will realise this when it’s too late! The Milgis Trust is doing every thing possible to keep them safe. Working together with their local communities around the Milgis Lugga things are going pretty well, but they cannot rest one day because poachers are out there. They employ 30 scouts, who are uniformed and are in contact on the radio 24 hrs, their job it is to keep watch and deal with any threats to the Elephants (and of course all wildlife), and their habitat all the time. They also employ over 30 ‘ilkirimats’ the Samburu word for caretaker/informer who get half a wage but work closely with their respective scouts to keep watch. , xo Sarah

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This is the Elephant we call mammoth.. He is/was the gentlest coolest ‘Sangalai’ I’ve ever known.. He is/was huge.. I say this because he has a beautiful pair of tusks and he may not be with us any more.. We think that he must be a descendant of the famous Marsabit ‘Ahmed’ because of the shape of his tusks.. I think of him every day, and hope to ‘Ngai’ that he is still with us, and he will pitch up one day as he has done before.. Although we have not had any trouble since January last year, except in the Matthews of which we have our suspicions, there are no fences or barriers and he may have wondered off into an area where the poaching is rife.. [ this wonderfully eerie picture was taken in August 2011 on the night camera.. He visited our camp while out on safari..] .. His absence/silence is killing me!… But we are always positive, and I think he will pitch up on the 25th of February!! .. We have a warrior who wants to devote his life to the safety of this Elephant and all the Sangalais, and some of the money that Sarah raises will go to wards his wages..

DSC02060.JPG ‘Rogero’ as he is fondly known by the Samburu.. [ Its actually Mammoths real name ], would be a very happy man if he did pitch up..

This below is what I wrote to Sarah when she told she was going to do the longest, hardest endurance Skiing race in the World for the Elephants!!

Sarah, You are an absolute star and I am and our special friends the Elephants will be eternally grateful for any bit of help.. THANK YOU SO SO MUCH!! We will be thinking of you, and sending serious vibes over the airways, from the Elephants as well!, for you to beat Pippa’s record, as we also believe you will do it!!

You might think I am joking, but Elephants are not fools!! two times that i know of where they have really proved that they do know whats going on!..

Pete did a walk for them, 65 kms in October 2011, its on my 3 blogs written in Oct 2011… Petes mega walk in 1 day for the elephants and lions… Wow!! you are all stars, and the last one… the Elephant whisperer made it!.. please try to look up the last one especially how the 3 Elephants waited for Pete to arrive, and they greeted him!!

Also theres this incredible story in South Africa of a man who rescued a group of Elephants that were going to be shot, and many years later he died, and the Elephants arrived at his home to pay their last respects.. If I can find the story I will send you the link!.. He wrote a book called ‘The Elephant whisperer’.. its really lovely!!

Keep up the spirit Sarah, WE ARE WITH YOU ALL THE WAY!! All the best Helen

SARAH.. GOOD LUCK!!!!!

Happy Days to all our Milgis Friends!!

AND SO MANY THANKS TO ALL OUR SUPPORTERS…

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Full moon in the Milgis… The planet below the lower cloud is Jupiter!

Well our good news is that all our dams are full!, after a wonderful after thought of ‘Ngai’, who sent an unbelievably perfect day of rain to Samburuland, 4 days ago and filled all their Dams!! What a perfect Christmas present this year!!!..

This means there will plenty more of happy mums like this one below!!

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Desert Warthog with her youngsters…

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This is the Caracal’s new friend!…. Her name is ‘Three legs’ or ‘Ngajek uni’ in maa..

The Caracal kitten, will eventually be freed at Elkanto, the Milgis base, where it has a very good chance of a good life, and with lots of other Caracal’s around, and lots to eat.. It is doing very well, and is becoming a very close friend of this poor little puppy that was found almost dead in a ditch, dragging herself along with her front legs, one of her back legs was very infected… She is now back on four legs you’ll be happy to hear!! talk about a surviver!!.

‘LDOILO’- Echoes from Samburuland

FINALLY MY DREAM HAS COME TRUE!!! I’ve been talking about it for sooooo many years, 25 years actually!, ever since I first heard their voices, and now we have it!.. A beautiful recording of songs, chants and sounds from the Samburu!..

DSC01482.JPG The front cover fittingly in the colours of the Kenya Flag!!

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*You can’t buy this. This is not for sale. This is more of a gift from the soul of Samburuland, than just another CD.

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This CD is absolutely beautifully presented and is a wonderful selection of Northern Kenya’s every day, sounds, songs and flute music from the Samburu people in the Milgis Ecosystem… ..

THANKYOU GAVIN HOGG AND BEN EVANS and every one else involved in making this masterpiece of music!!… Especially the Samburu people for believing in us! In believing in the ‘Milgis’ and producing such special sounds!! Its ‘brilliant’ to have your full support!..

* BUT, YOU can be a part of it. You NEED to be a part of it…. Because when you play this music as loud as you can, and you do it in a place where you can really listen….. JUST LISTEN…. You will feel the warm wind of the northern Kenyan mountains against your skin, the sand of her luggas pressed down under your feet and you will start to move and sway until your spirit jumps with the Morans on the river bed. This is music that transports you and it speaks of the beauty, the trail, the tradition and the majesty of life, the way it has always been here. It will haunt you back to life. *words from Zeke Davidson when he first heard it!

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How it started!…. This is how Gavin describes the moment..

‘The first morning while we were drinking tea on the lugga, wondering how it would start. When from somewhere deep in the bush and down the lugga, we heard the distant chants of an approaching band of people.. Slowly it grew louder and louder, the sound growing in intensity and excitement, until fianlly 25 warriors appeared through the scrub in full tribal dress with spears and full voice.. They had come to sing.. The excitement of that moment will remain with me for the rest of my life!’

This was the start of what developed into an incredible week for all who were involved..

*You can’t pay for it though. Putting a dollar value on a disc would render it worthless. It simply won’t make the marketing values needed on a disc by disc basis. We need you to make a gesture that speaks to the same profound sense of place and spirit that the sounds on this disc will bring into your life. For a donation upwards of $200, the Samburu communities of this region, will gladly share their ancient chants with you!

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*If you believe in wild places, in places with untameable spirits that defy all of the harsh realities of today’s over used world. You want to be a part of a community making their own ways work, unquestioningly. Support Echoes in Samburuland, make these voices heard where you are, and we will send you one of these disc’s to transport you here whenever you can be with us.

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DSC00058.JPG BEN EVANS..

DSC00071.JPG A beautiful trio in looks and sounds!

‘Ldoilo’ means Echoes in the Maa language… An appropriate title given the location of the recording,- a natural ravine, with towering cliff faces that gave a wonderful resonance and echo to the recordings.. It is also has significance in a way that we hope the message of the Samburu and their way of life and custodianship of their environment, will echo from their homeland to spread awareness around the world…

The songs from this area have never been recorded properly before .. We recorded every thing live on location . You will hear the sounds of wildlife in the bush included… We want you the listener, to be transported into the Milgis: to feel the heat, the elements of life, to smell the aroma, and to listen to the sound and songs of the samburu… Close your eyes, be at peace, sit back and TAKE TIME to absorb this extraordinary aural experience!!!

these are the words of Gavin taken from the cover…

Warm up the first evening!! ‘MPARINKOI’

DSC00024.JPG Mparinkoi; This is the first song sung in any daytime ceremony.. The group will consist of singers from different clans. The chants are from different clan members boasting about the achievements of heir own clan, how brave or fast they are.. The clans sing of respect and rivalry between them selves… DSC00027.JPG One day many years ago, I was at a Samburu wedding.. It was just unbelievably colourful and the early morning singing was incredible, but at about midday there seemed to be abit of a lull in the proceedings, so I decided to climb up a small hill and watch from a distance for a while.. Suddenly I heard this roar of voices, which sent a shiver up my spine… It was the elders and Junior elders at the ceremony ‘tuning up’ for this extraordinary show!.. Its abit like an orchestra tuning up their instruments before they play a symphony!.. But this is voices.. Every man throws his voice as far as he can, so that when it comes to this amazing ‘Mparinkoi’ his voice will be heard!… Its REALLY impressive!.. We had to do this recording several times as when they whole group landed on the ground in tandem, Ben’s microphone went crazy!! We worked it out eventually by putting a mattress under the microphones to cushion the vibrations!!

DSC00081.JPG Men, women and children came from far and wide to participate with immense pride and dedication to perform their songs

DSC01463.JPG This beautiful animal is the Milgis’ latest orphan… he needs to be fed!…….

So PLEASE… become one of the esteemed members of the ‘Ldoilo’ clan, and contribute to the Milgis Trust… We have been kindly given a stand at the Ngong Racecourse, Nairobi.. At the Christmas fair on the 1st and 2nd of December 2012… We will be there with the LDOILO CDs!! If you can’t be there you can press the donate button on this page, pay your donation, and you will recieve a reciept from NWHS/Milgis Trust, which you can forward to us, with your postal address…. We will in turn get this unique CD to you!!.. Other wise don’t hesitate to contact Helen or Gavin..

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!!

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!!