Category Archives: Santa Monica Stories

The David Klein Art Gallery

Earlier this month we had the pleasure of hosting our first Detroit event ever held at the David Klein Gallery.   With the help of our generous supporters we were able to raise over $9,000 with donations still coming in! We would like to extend special thanks to our host committee:


Kristin with our Board Members

Kristin with our Board Members

David Klein & Kate Ostrone

Christine & Robert Schefman

Susan & John Owens

Paul Jacobs & Jim Stout

Linda Hooper

Mary Buzas

Doretta Bonner


Without all of their hard work and support this event would not have been possible! We hope to establish a stronger base both in Michigan and the rest of the United States.  Thanks to Alaina Buzas for the beautiful photographs, be sure to check them out on our Facebook page.  We are looking forward to hosting more events like this in the future so please let us know if you would like to get involved!  Thank you again to everyone who came out to be a part of our work in providing clean water to those in need and we’ll see you next year!

The David Klein Gallery

The David Klein Gallery

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A Mother’s Love

First of all, The Samburu Project would like to wish everyone a happy Mother’s Day!  We hope everyone had a beautiful day spent with friends and family. If there is one thingI noticed on Mother’s Day, it was the outpouring of affection and admiration that flooded all forms of social media. It is apparent that mothers are some of the strongest and most supportive figures we encounter in our lifetime. They are willing to sacrifice anything to meet the needs of their children. This objective remains true no matter where you look, however, what those needs are vary depending on where you’re looking.

mother's day

For the women of Samburu, meeting their children’s most basic needs can be a difficult path to navigate. Gathering water is a strenuous chore that puts stress on the body, even resulting in miscarriage in some cases. Other times moms end up carrying very young children with them on their journeys to water. If a child is old enough, the child is also old enough to contribute to this intense labor. Mothers are spending these hours in search of water instead of playing with their children, teaching them life lessons, and making memories. Time spent obtaining water means less time spent with children and family.

No matter where you are, motherhood remains a difficult yet joyous experience. The Samburu Project works tirelessly to take away some of the burden, providing clean and accessible drinking water to the people of Samburu, allowing mothers to pass their days with their children instead of walking for hours at a time. We believe motherhood doesn’t need to be any more complicated than it already is. We only hope to give mothers the opportunity to cherish and experience the small moments: watching a soccer game, proudly supporting them at a school recitation or even doing homework together. These memories remain an inspirational affirmation of a mother’s unconditional love and we only hope to give all mothers the chance to experience them. Everyday should be a day to recognize the beautiful work these women do: a mother’s love never rests.

Walk for Water 2014

Walk for Water 2014 was the most successful walk we’ve had yet! With 350 participants (that’s 100 more than last year!) we were able to raise $30,000. For us, hosting an event revolved around walking represents a cause near to our hearts.
1522779_10152300890073959_9171298253382588863_oAs we’ve said over and over again, the women of Samburu have to walk up to 12 miles a day to obtain water that may not always be sanitary. That is why we walk. We walk a beautiful 4-mile path along the beach in pleasant weather, recreationally, in the hopes that fewer women in Samburu will have to in the future. It is our goal that in experiencing just a small portion of what these women do daily, as well as hearing first hand accounts such as the inspiring poem Stephen Lentoror shared, you are motivated to take action in a cause that impacts the wellbeing of so many lives.
We’d like to extend special thanks to our sponsors: Metropolitan Water District, Fit On Studios, American Junkie, Rossi, DDH Public Relations, JOL Design, Waiakea Water, Lalicious and Mixed Up Clothing. Such a fantastic event would not have been possible without the generous support of both our sponsors and our participants.  Though the walk is over and the #afterthewalk fundraising drive has officially ended, you can continue to fundraise.  As an added bonus, all donations will go further through the end of April as Razoo is not charging their 2.9% processing fee! We love that! Share the photos on your fundraising page and get your friends donating!  We are truly grateful for the success of Walk for Water 2014 and are eager to begin work on our upcoming projects. Save the date for next year’s Walk for Water 2015–Sunday, April 19th, 2015! Hope to see you there!

Thanks to Steve Gaffney for our awesome photos! You can check more out here:

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Water for Elephants?

The Samburu people have coexisted with the large animal populations in their tribal region in Kenya for centuries, most notably, the African Elephant. In centuries past, the Samburu people and elephants have lived in relative harmony, some anecdotes going so far as to say they shared the same village. In an interview with The Independent a tribesman elaborates, “The first man said the elephant is like us, like our brother, and we have to live together, not hunt elephant. That’s what we say we were told at the beginning. That’s what we still believe. The elephant has always been, and will always be, special to us. This is why we protect it now.” With the proliferation of poaching, this role of protection is even more relevant. Despite the international ban on ivory, elephant poaching still exists and demands attention from policy makers and local initiatives alike. In the wake of enacting new orders of protection coupled with drought conditions, complex and controversial conflicts have arisen between the conservation of elephant populations and preservation of human life in Samburu.
Drought conditions have forced surveyors to expand their search for water, all the while, elephants are drawn to these newly discovered water sources. Described as “violently defensive” the clash between elephants and people over limited resources is especially dangerous. For wildlife activists, elephant safety ranks above all else, resulting in the formation of reservations or plots of land dedicated entirely to wildlife habitats. Human aid activists and locals, however, suggest these government-allocated plots of land grant animals an unfair advantage over humans. The reality is, the government gives elephants completely political control over a region despite previous human habitation. Yet, population growth caused this encroachment into elephant habitats more so than they had in the past. Furthermore, government-allocated land for reservation usage only intensified the issue in some regions. No doubt both sides of the argument have validity, however, clashing opinions result in divergent solutions and exclusionary practices. People are kept out of reservation lands in spite of potential benefits, while a rouge elephant is met with trepidation and resentment. Instead of focusing on conflicting ideologies of human preservation and wildlife conservation, aid-workers must now look back to where it all started: coexistence. Penalize those exploiting the land and animals, not those who are simply trying to survive. Excluding humans from potentially beneficial space brings to question “who is more important: people or animals?”, a debate that is not easy to approach no matter how you look at it.

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Walking for Water

Women of Samburu walk up to 12 miles each day to get water that isn’t always sanitary. I know this fact is written all over the Samburu Project website, instagram, facebook, basically every form of social media you can think of, but I think for a lot of us this idea is difficult to grasp. 12 miles is insanely far to walk. That’s one mile shy of a half marathon, and people train for months at a time for those! I personally get winded on my 15-20 minute walk to class (a mile at most) so 12 miles sounds pretty unbearable. And these women are doing this almost daily. Think of all of the things we do instead of walking in a day. School, work, sports, leisure, everything. Without convenient access to water, Samburu women and children are denied almost all aspects of life we assume are inherent. Imagine not being able to attend school because you need to get some water. It sounds ridiculous but this is the unfortunate reality for millions around the world. The Samburu people need water to survive, however, they have no hope of advancing in the economic or educational world if they have to spend all of their time walking to water.

Silango School

Even worse, most of the water they consume is contaminated, leading to an entirely new set of problems. Water borne illnesses account for more the 3.4 million deaths per year, most of them children. In addition to the tragic loss of life, there is an economic loss. Parents may remove themselves from labor force to care for a sick child meaning they have less to provide the rest of the family. Most of these common illnesses are virtually obsolete in the developed world because of the infrastructure in place that sanitize and transport water. Some may suggest moving closer to where the water is, but for most that is not an option. Samburu land is their culture and leaving it would mean taking on an entirely new way of life. Wells allow for the Samburu people to nurture the growth of their culture and the health of their bodies, encouraging future prosperity for the people.

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Meet Our Interns: Rachael

I have been interning at the Samburu Project for about 4 months now and it has been a real learning opportunity for me. At the beginning of the school year, I was definitely stressed about my skills and past experience in terms of entering the work force. I am a senior at UCLA studying International Development so I guess you could say that I was and still am a little nervous about graduating. After a long summer full of professional rejection (lol) I was feeling a little discouraged. But I got lucky and a friend of mine told me about an opening at the Samburu Project so applied immediately. I have a few friends who worked here in the past so I thought it was a great opportunity. I’m not going to lie…I did not have a strong interest in water sanitation/accessibility, I was a lot more concerned about actually having an internship and getting general experience.
I first worked with another intern in social media to publicize our Samburu Splash Bash event in November. Digging through old pictures and articles, I became familiar with past accomplishments and how much work it takes to drill just one well (and we’ve drilled 63!). I’ve learned what water scarcity means and the distinct social and economic implications it has. In my area of study, we mostly talk about theories of development…why this method failed…why this economist was wrong…why we even look at development. After talking so much about development, being at the Samburu Project is refreshing and enlightening. I actually get to see where theory is put into action and the impact we are having on those most in need. I can definitely say I’ve learned a lot about an issue that at times is overlooked amongst other global concerns. But the truth is, water is at the base of it all: education, economic stability, women’s empowerment, health, anything. Water creates the opportunity to develop in the first place.

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From Santa Monica to Samburu

It’s a perfect sunny and 75° at the Samburu Project Office in Santa Monica, ideal for any outdoor activity and every tourist’s dream. There’s only one problem: it’s the middle of January…wintertime…the rest of the country is freezing. Southern California is, in fact, in the middle of a serious drought not unlike the one all of northern Kenya is facing. But what does it mean to be in the middle of a drought in California compared to the middle of a drought in rural Kenya? Why is it I hear about the impending water shortage, yet when I turn on my faucet water comes out? Why does a drought in Kenya have a devastating impact on the people and economy while in California, we are only faced with the horror of turning off our sprinklers? Depending on where you look, water scarcity and drought can be a minor inconvenience or cause for thousands of deaths, but where does the difference come from?


Water scarcity can be divided into two different categories: economic scarcity and physical scarcity. Economic scarcity suggests that water is physically there, however, a region lacks the infrastructure or bureaucracy to reach and distribute water, making access impossible and forcing more people to share the same dwindling water source. Physical scarcity signifies an actual shortage in water. California and Kenya are both facing physical scarcity but the economic scarcity intensifies the situation in Kenya. That is why The Samburu Project works so tirelessly to survey land, find wells and provide safe, clean water for up to 1,000 people. We want to give the people of the Samburu the same water security other areas of the world have.

The United Nations and the global community have recognized the importance of reducing water scarcity and so have we. We are proud to say we have brought safe water to upwards of 63,000 people in the Samburu Region with the help of you, our supporters, who share the same belief that if water scarcity does not need to exist, it should not.