Mzungu, How Are You?

In Swahili the word “mzungu” means a foreigner, usually a white person.  It can be used in a derogatory manner, but when I hear it from an adorable little girl in a purple dress, smiling and waving to me as our 4Wheel drive speeds by her hut on a dirt road, I am delighted to smile and wave back. She means no insult. The fact that she speaks English to me means she is reaching out, wanting to connect with a foreigner in her home. I am flattered and wonder, sincerely, how am I?

It’s been four months since I became the Executive Director of The Samburu Project (TSP) and I have been in high gear ever since. Volunteering for TSP had been my pet project and hobby for more than 5 years before it became my job. In between our Walk for Water, re-vamping our website and going through my first financial audit, I’ve been asked several times, what makes TSP different than other water charities? There are so many water charities as there is such a tremendous need around the world for clean water. We all know we aren’t as big as Charity Water or Water.org but with 84 wells and providing water to more than 80,000 people, TSP has done some fantastic work in ten years.

In addition to providing clean water, eradicating death from water-borne diseases, and sending more girls to school, the fact that people around the world are connected through TSP is something of which I am particularly proud. As the director of an art gallery for so many years, one of the things I loved most about being in the art world was the people I met along the way. The artists, collectors, scholars, writers, who became friends and brought their gifts and talents into my world was something I absolutely LOVED about being a part of the art community. As the ED of TSP, I am finding a similar sense of community in our work.

Our interns and volunteers who are so young and passionate and want to change the world inspire me every day.  Kiki Swanson, my right hand and “gal Friday” has made the ED transition as smooth as silk.  Not only is she organized and capable of 101 things at once, because of her passion for all things African, she has connected her family and friends from all over the country to TSP.  Our staff in Kenya who know every bush, hill, tree, manyatta and family in Samburu impress me immeasurably. Lucas and Eric each speak Samburu, Swahili and English and probably more languages than that. They know how to survive in the bush and get the car moving when it’s stuck or broken. They are diplomats in the community, engineers in well maintenance and are the face and voice of TSP in Kenya.  The donors are our lifeline. Without them, there would be no water, no sense of community, no TSP. The lives they lead as global citizens give us all purpose to do the work – and some of them are art collectors! The people I have met since becoming involved in TSP have already enriched my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined.

Now, that I am in Kenya, in Samburu on my first official visit, I am meeting the people in village after village whose lives have been changed because of TSP, and that feeling of connecting is stronger than ever. When we roll up to a village in the TSP truck, people come to meet us to say “Ashe Oleng” (thank you in Samburu) and begin to sing and dance as is their way of saying thank you. I want to share that feeling of connectedness with everyone back in the states and UK. We are all connected through this small but mighty organization. As the Dalai Lama said in a lecture I attended before leaving LA to come to Kenya, “we must respect and love eachother, we are all inhabiting this small blue planet.” Through TSP, I truly feel the power of that sentiment.

So when people ask me why TSP is different than the other water charities, I answer that we are a charity that truly connects people, connects them through water, around the globe, on our tiny blue planet. And in answer that that little Samburu girl in the purple dress, this “muzungu” is great, happy to be in this place, right here, right now.

I hope you will stay tuned and continue reading my “Samburu Stories” as I share my adventures in Kenya with all of our TSP friends and family.

Ashe Oleng

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Members of the TSP team for this trip (left to right): Me, Eric Lekolii (TSP Kenya Team), Brendan Curran (Intern), Lucas Lekwale (TSP Project Manager, Kenya Team), Iris Schneider (Journalist and former Los Angeles Times photographer) and the members of the Lolgerdad well community near Archer’s Post, Samburu County, Kenya.

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Linda’s Samburu Story #7 (the epilogue)

So many people ask me what it’s “really” like in Kenya.  What is the food like?  Is it safe? In closing, I want to let everyone know that it is beautiful and the people are wonderful and welcoming.  The food is delicious, sometimes with an Indian twist (samosas and chipatis – yummy!).  Kenyan cuisine includes a lot of soup and stews; chicken, beef, lamb are all common and the produce is all  fresh, hormone and preservative-free. I never felt in danger or on guard while I was there. I will warn that you must be open to things working in their own way and you should be open to the experience to fully enjoy yourself.

The staff of the Sarova Shaba Lodge was wonderful and most accommodating during my stay there. They are all waiting for friends of TSP to visit.   The lodge itself is located on the banks of the Ewaso Ngiro River located within the Samburu National Park. Consequently, getting to and from the lodge was like a mini game drive with many beautiful animals to be seen right along the road, not to mention a local “duty free” shop.  Sadly, we neglected to bring “bathing costumes” because they have a lovely pool but we did avail ourselves of the equally welcoming bar.

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The airport is really a landing strip, waiting area and an airport shop run by local entrepreneurs.  Air Kenya flies there to drop off and pick up passengers once a day. It takes a little more than an hour to Nairobi, a little more if they are making other stops.

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Here is a view from the air of the lodge where you can see dry landscape with a thicket of green trees alongside the river.  Within that lush green patch is the Sarova Shaba Lodge. You can see the old lava flow which we drove over to get to the “tar mack” road.

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My new friend Carol from AirKenya also wants our TSP friends to know that they are eager to meet us.

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All in all, visiting Kenya is an amazing experience, one that is full of surprises.  I didn’t even have a chance to tell you about my midnight rendez-vous with an elephant outside my room on the bank of the river, the tame oryx we met, or Daliana Lekilua a girl with a beautiful smile who goes to school in Archer’s Post so she can be a teacher when she grows up.   I’ll just encourage you to go discover “beautiful Kenya” for yourself.  Until then, if you’ve enjoyed these photos and stories, think about supporting The Samburu Project and changing someone’s life forever!

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Linda’s Samburu Story #6

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I am up early and head out for what surely will be BIG WATER day.  Lucas arrives and reports that things are progressing well and that big water is waiting for us.  As we arrive at the site, I can already see water starting to flow from the drill. After about an hour, Charles can tell we are hitting the second aqua fir.  We all stand in the ready, old men, kids, our crew, waiting for the moment.  Anticipation is building, camera is ready, we are all focused on the drill and the wet soil.

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More drips, more drips until THERE IT IS!!!  A huge gush of water begins to pour out of the drill!  It sprays us and the kids start to smile and laugh and the old men have a look of astonishment! Paul and I hug with relief and joy in our hearts.  The Likitje well has water! As I watched the water flow, I thought back to Splash Bash 2014 and all our friends in Santa Monica and elsewhere who support our work.  I wish they were here to share this moment.

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It didn’t take but about 10 minutes before people started showing up with their jerry cans. Lucas explained to them that we still have much work to do; pour a concrete pad, install the actual pump, test the water and put a fence around it, before it would be ready to use. It didn’t matter, knowing water would be clean and available was cause for joyous celebration.  Once again, I was serenaded and danced with in celebration of this glorious day!

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Oh what Joy!   I think about the long process that Lucas, Paul and Karioke (our hydro-geologist) went through all year to identify the well locations.  I think of Kristen and Kiki who work so hard in the Santa Monica office; the board who are giving their time and constantly pitching the TSP case for support to their friends to keep the organization going.  I think of the countless volunteers who do whatever is asked of them to pitch in, and the well funders who make it all happen.  I think of them all at this exact moment.  In the course of the last year, there have been so many people who have played a role in making this moment happen, people who might never know each other but are a part the The Samburu Project.  All of these people ARE the Samburu Project.  My heart is full with the feeling that we did this!

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I also can’t help but think of the communities in Samburu who have applied to TSP for a well and are still waiting. I am thinking about these little babies, knowing that because of us, they will grow up without ingesting waterborne diseases on a daily basis, that they will go to school and grow up and chase their dreams, just like us.  I am hoping that our good fortune will continue for the remaining 9 wells we are going to drill this year and beyond.  I am hopeful that TSP will grow and thrive for the next 10 years.  But for now, in this moment, my heart is full with the knowledge that we did this!  I’m so lucky to have been here, on the other side of the globe to meet these people and share this moment with them.  Water is Life! Drink it up!

 

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Linda’s Samburu Story #5

You hear the words “pole-pole (pronounced po-lay, po-lay)” a lot in Kenya.  This translates as “slowly slowly” but said with the right intonation in the voice, it also means, “I’m so sorry things are taking so long.”  I am beginning to understand the true meaning in which these words are spoken. With all the delays on the front end of the trip, the well drill is running longer than originally scheduled and I am supposed to be on a plane back to Nairobi today.  Needless to say, I will not be on the 11am Air Kenya flight.  I try calling our travel agent but it is Sunday and their office isn’t open.  I explain my predicament to one of the helpful managers at Sarova Lodge.  He replies “pole pole.” He also remembers that there is an Air Kenya agent staying in the lodge. He will speak with her and sort it out for me while I am in the bush today.  There is also another expression in Kenya that says things will work out.  With that in mind, off I go..BIG WATER day awaits!!!

Out of the lodge, past the giraffe, through the gate, over the lava road, past a lone elephant, onto the tar mak road, zoom past Archer’s Post as I’ve done every day. However, today is not like every other day.  Almost at our turnoff, I see 6 beautifully adorned young ladies in their Sunday finest on the opposite side of the road waiting for the bus. Hold the phone!  Turn the car around! I ask Robert, my driver to translate for me.  Where are they going?  Church and then shopping in Archer’s Post, they reply.  Do they mind if I take their photo as they are looking so beautiful?  They don’t mind at all.  We have some fun taking photos and as we get ready to leave, I get the gist of a conversation that we just came through Archer’s Post and are going the opposite direction.  I tell Robert of course we have time to drive them to church and just like that, our car is now carrying six Samburu girls who sing a song of thanks that seems to have no beginning and no end over 10 kilometers to Archer’s Post.   It’s a good morning in Samburu.

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Back on the road to the drilling site.  You can hear the drilling as we get closer.  We arrive to see the uniforms of the crew hanging out to dry.  The usual suspects who I have come to recognize are congregating around, including Aldo.  Aldo, a Samburu man 40 years old spent four years living in East London married to an English woman before moving back to this area.  He speaks perfect English and tells me how much he loves Chinese and Italian food.

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Also is photographed on the left.

Insofar as it seems the drilling will be going on for a while today, he asks if I want to see where the people get water in this area. Of course I do!  Off we walk about 1/2 mile where I can see a tiny boy down in a hole.  Aldo asks to see the water he is bringing up.  He shows us a cup of brown, dirty liquid that will most likely be filled with waterborne bacteria causing diarrhea.  I have seen photos of similar sites many times over the past 5 years but seeing this in person was a painful dose of reality.

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Walking back to the site, it is HOT!  The sun is sweltering in this area.  Sweat is dripping off me from everywhere.  I feel I can’t complain or even comment about it.  I can’t help but imagine walking out here carrying a jerry can full of water in this heat.  I try to steer our walking under the shade of the trees but there are so many thorns that prick my pants and even pierce through my sneakers that it is impossible.  All in all, this little walk is a real reminder of why we do what we do at The Samburu Project.

The texture of the earth is changing around the drill rig.  It is sandy and wet, water is starting to migrate to the top of the rods and soil out onto the earth. Lucas says the big water is coming but we still have several rods to insert until we get to 70 meters.  Pole-Pole.  Aldo asks if I want to see his house, meet his Samburu wife and father who is more than 100 years old.  Sure!  As we enter through the thorny barrier of the manyatta, there are chickens and kids killing around and then OMG..I couldn’t believe my eyes.  Sitting next to his hut was a small solar panel, inside the hut was a table with about 10 cell phones that were being recharged from the solar panel. I was absolutely amazed to learn that these Samburu who are 90% illiterate were so technologically advanced to have cell phones and solar panels.  Why shouldn’t they have clean water, an education, and good health & hygiene?

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Waiting and drilling, drilling and waiting.  Back at the site, we still have not hit the BIG WATER yet.  I met some very resourceful boys who fashioned a toy out of discarded plastic. Aside from thinking that recycling is alive and well in Samburu, I notice the boy who was gathering water in the hole is with us on site.  Wearing his christmas bear pants, he smiles and I wonder how this water will change his future.

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No BIG WATER today so back to the lodge I go, where much to my delight there were big happenings going on.  At reception I found no one, at the bar I found no one but a little farther a field I could see everyone at the hotel gathered at the riverbank watching a heard of 30 elephants across the river.  They were absolutely magnificent!  Big huge bulls, little babies, all grazing and drinking from the river, putting on a fantastic show for the lodge guests and staff.  We stood watching and taking photos for about an hour until they disappeared back to where they came from.  What an absolutely fantastic treat!

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Despite the fact that today turned out not to be big water day, it was wonderful.  I pinched myself for all the amazing experiences I’ve had here in Samburu and think how grateful I am for everything that has brought me to this moment.  That night I dined with Carol from AirKenya. She sorted out my ticket and said I could take whatever flight was good for me tomorrow or the next day.  Imagine that!  Another Samburu surprise.  Everything is going to work out..but a little pole-pole.

 

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Linda’s Samburu Story #4

I wake up early to the sound of monkeys outside my room and I am excited because today is the big day, the day we start drilling!  I eat my breakfast and eagerly await my ride.  Lucas texts to say they are still setting up the rig, so no need to get to the site early.  UGH! I am itching to be part of the activities but instead I enjoy a second cup of tea and chat with the staff at the Sarova Shaba Lodge. Did I know this was the spot of the home of Joy and George Adamson?  This is the birthplace of Elsa and her beautiful lion cubs.  Memories of watching “Born Free” when I was a littlel girl drift through my brain and I temporarily forget about the drilling. This place is so beautiful.  I had no idea how beautiful it would be.  Lucas texts again, more delays..so I wait.

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Sarova Lodge has a resident naturalist named Chady.  He offers to give me a Samburu 101 Powerpoint presentation about the Samburu people, culture and land.  I learned how they and the Masai tribe are related, both part of the Maa people.  They originally came south from Somalia.  Part of the clan stayed in Samburu and some kept migrating south and ended up in the Mara.  He explained their culture, rituals and their defined structure of their “manyattas” (the Samburu work for their enclosed communities of huts.  Do you know that the earring and long chain in a women’s ear is the equivalent of a wedding ring in western culture?  It was all fascinating but now I am really itching to get out into the bush with the team

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Finally I am picked up, leave the lodge, drive past the giraffe, go through the gate, over the lava road, past some baboons, jump on the “tar mack road” (as the locals call the highway here), through Archer’s Post, off onto a red clay path for about another 20 minutes (are those camels in the distance? Yes.) until finally I see the rig!  WaterLink is here! Lucas welcomes me to the site, shows me the exact spot where drilling will commence.  All the while, there is a growing group of children beginning to congregate around me to see who the stranger is.  As Lucas briefs me, the crew is collecting big rocks to use underneath 4 big pads to steady and level the rig.  This is a very precise operation.  The drill must go into the earth at exactly 90 degrees.  This takes a while.  After much leveling, the rig is finally in place.  The drilling apparatus is raised and it hits a tree branch.  One of the crew (I’m assuming the one who drew a short straw) is hoisted up on the rig with a huge machete (or “panga” as it is called here) to trim back the imposing branches.  With that done, we are finally ready to start!

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Drilling is LOUD and DUSTY!  There are various people standing around watching the drill “hammer” as it begins to penetrate the earth.  Lucas explains that the crew will put the hammer (drill bit) then a succession of 15 rods that are 20 meters on top of each other to get down to 70 meters.  Slowly, slowly the drilling starts and slowly, slowly we see the rod disappear into the ground and another screwed on top of it.  And so the drilling begins.  It seems to me to be tedious work for Charles, the foreman.  While the process is so slow and seemingly hypnotic, he concentrates on the earth that the drill is spitting out, watching for signs of moisture.  The kids and various elders pass by to check on the progress or stick around to watch.   Eventually a soccer game breaks out, young girls scurry by collecting firewood, people come and go and life goes on as the drilling hammers away.

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Everyone settles into a bit of a routine as the hammer pounds the rods into the ground, drilling deeper until at 30 feet we hit fir first aqua fir and a sandy, slushy water comes shooting out.  Our geological report predicted this but it’s so reassuring to see it happen.  Everyone is excited. More drilling will commence until it gets dark but I have to get back to the lodge before then.  The crew will sleep and eat out in the bush until the job is done. I say good night to the crew and locals and call it a day. Tomorrow – BIG WATER (I hope)!

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This boy was able to take a nap right near the well drilling.  That’s some real fomo!

 

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Linda’s Samburu Story #3

Back in the car, we continue winding our way over the red earth, through the thorny trees and bushes to Longerded Well.  I recognize it in the distance from the big white greenhouse that I’ve seen in many TSP photographs.  There are only a few people around the well but we are greeted with smiling faces as is always the case when traveling with Lucas.

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This well serves about 800 people daily but also provides water for the agricultural project which will be planted later in November.  It is here we met Aldo, dressed in the traditional Samburu cloth on the bottom with a Western shirt on the top.  He speaks perfect English and is quite happy to make our acquaintance.  Aldo is Samburu but spent four years living in East London married to a British woman before moving back to this area. He tells me how much he loves and misses Chinese and Italian food and how grateful he is for the well. Samburu continues to be full of surprises for me.

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Lucas gets a call that the well drilling rig has been spotted in Archer’s Post and we are off to take a look.  Like children on Christmas Eve, we want just a peek at Santa Claus.  He’s coming and he’s driving a very big truck that says WaterLink.

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IMG_6600We are all very happy that tomorrow drilling will start.  Lucas has some preparations to make before tomorrow and takes us back to the lodge. Passing through Archer’s Post, we see school children walking home, and this, another Samburu surprise.

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Back through the gate of the Samburu National Reserve, it’s magic hour and we are greeted by some beautiful sights – magic hour, indeed!

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Linda’s Samburu Story #2

It is HOT in Samburu. The weather widget on our phone says it is 90 degrees, and it’s the end of October. Lucas informs us that we are still waiting for the well drilling rig to be operable but he will give us a tour of the area and two other TSP well communities.  It is best to get an early start to avoid the afternoon heat and to see the wells in full action. Lucas picks us up at 9am and off we go. He tells us that he saw about 8 elephants on the road to our camp this morning. I hope they are still there when we pass by that spot.  Sad for us, they have moved on but but we do come across a lone giraffe – a nice way to start the morning. We exit through the gate of the Samburu National Reserve, past the local “Duty Free Shop,” over the dusty, rocky, lava etched road back toward the main highway.  We pass a animal crossing sign with images of elephants, giraffe, zebra and baboons as we work our way toward Archer’s Post.

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Archer’s Post is a bustling town of 6,000 people that hosts businesses and stores of all kinds; hair shops, butcheries, refreshment establishments, lodgings, a bank with an ATM, a Saturday market and several churches. Archer’s Post serves as a general store for whatever one might need in this neck of the woods.
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We arrive at the Loosupulai Well where there are thousand of animals; cows, goats, donkeys, camels and a few dogs. So many animals I can hardly see the well itself.

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There are a group of men happy to greet us, including Jackson, a handsome man with a blue hat and a beautiful smile. He speaks very good English.  With a wink and a smile, he tells us that he learned English in the bush which cracks us up. Later he confesses that he had 3 years of school and seems quite proud to be able to converse with us. He explained to me that they have devised a very organized system for using the well; livestock begin drinking at 4am. Each household has a designated time to use the well and this goes until mid day, after which the women return to collect water for home use. This continues until 11pm. The well is being used from 4am – 11pm every day, 7 days a week. The community estimates this well provides clean water to 2,000 people each day and approximately 5,000 animals.  The men express their gratitude for the water and ask me to take their Thank Yous back to everyone at The Samburu Project.

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Women and children of all ages are taking turns pumping water. OMG – did that goat just give birth? Yes it did. That’s not something this LA girl sees everyday. As you look around it is obvious to see how the well is effecting the community. We see a little girl washing clothes and a mother giving her toddler a bath. I can’t help but ponder what would they do without this well?

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Lucas introduced me to Nikini at this well.  She tells me that she comes to the well twice a day, once to water her animals and again in the afternoon to get water for her family. Before this well she would leave her house at 6 in the morning and return at 4pm in the afternoon in search of water, sometimes encountering elephants and lions along with way. Since this well was installed, her life has changed in so many ways for the better.  She sends two of her five children to school now which makes her very happy. She is grateful for all the people who did this for her and her community.
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As we are about to leave, someone has shown up with a herd of camels and that new borne goat is now walking, chasing it’s mother for milk.  It’s just another day at the Loosupulai Well.  Off to the Longerdad Well next.

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Linda’s Samburu Story #1

I left Los Angeles days ago. Twelve hours flying to London, another eleven flying to Nairobi, 4 hours sleep and then up again at 5am to make an 8am Air Kenya flight to Samburu which would take another hour and a half. As we leave the skyscrapers and traffic of the developing world behind, Mt. Kenya emerges on the horizon. Another half hour and the earth begins to turn a deep red that I’ve see in the American west and Hawaii. Are those giraffe below us? Yes, they are. Five years, approximately 30 hours and I am finally here, in Samburu.

The Kalama Airstrip in Samburu.

The Kalama Airstrip in Samburu.

As we approach the airstrip I can see Lucas waving up at me. I can’t believe I am finally here. Lucas informs us that there is a change of plans. The well drilling rig has a broken part. Someone has been dispatched to Nairobi to get a replacement. (If only we knew, we could have brought it.) We will wait another day for the well drill to begin. In the meantime, we are off to visit the Ntilal #1 Well and to meet the people of that community.

As we head off the main road, we are struck by the magnificent landscape and the bluest sky above. We proceed through the red dirt until we see a huge tree with a protective ring of dried thorny twigs around it. Lucas pulls over and tells me this “structure” is why he works for TSP. We get out of the car and enter the nursery school, the first of its kind in these parts. The students had all gone home for the day but their chalkboard told us that they had classes today. The date on the upper right read 10/20/2015 followed by multiplication tables. It wasn’t hard to imagine their smiling faces on the hand cobbled benches under the shade of the beautiful tree above. Nearby was a 3 walled structure that was their kitchen, also a byproduct of the TSP water. Considering less than 5% of Samburu are literate, this school was proof that TSP is engaged in life changing work for everyone in this community.

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In about 5 minutes, we approach the Ntilal #1 well where we find about a dozen children of various ages pumping water and washing clothes. Our presence was quite the surprise and a foreign, white lady was quite alien to them. Lucas explained that we were here from The Samburu Project and wanted to talk about water. It took a little while to break the ice with the shy, curious toddlers but a few high fives and we had started a game. Shortly we could see the women of the community approaching with their gerry-cans. Their brightly patterned kangas and beautiful beaded jewelry announced their presence. Mama Sarah, who seemed to be the oldest in this group was surprisingly gregarious. She has 9 children and was eager to hug me tightly and thank me for the water. I didn’t have to ask how the water has changed her life, it flowed out of her. She no longer had to walk miles and miles for water. This water is good, doesn’t make her sick. She can tend to her animals and her children now go to school. Life is good, thanks to us at The Samburu Project. Sarah wanted to send her greetings to Bob, my fellow board member and all the other people who helped drill this well. She told the story of sleeping at the well site when the rig pulled up in 2013. Staying there and praying until the clean water came out of the earth. Along with other ladies in this group, she broke into song and dance, as is the Samburu way to celebrate and say thank you.

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Mama Sarah in profile on left with members of the Ntilal #1 Well Community.

Mama Sarah in profile on left with members of the Ntilal #1 Well Community.

Sarah emphatically wanted me to know how greatly they appreciate EVERYTHING we are doing for them. I was so overcome that I fought back tears of joy. I have been telling any and everyone who would listen for 5 years about the work TSP is doing here and now, for the first time, I am seeing our work with my own eyes and feeling in my heart the connection with these ladies. It took a while to remember that I was also here to do a job..ask questions! Right! I ask Sarah and the other ladies if any of them had experiences with wild animals. Yes! They replied, elephants were here this morning, you can see their footprints, droppings and the damage to the fence they made. When they saw the elephants this morning, they were scared and stayed in their homes until the elephants wandered off. They had already had a community meeting early in the afternoon to hatch a plan to repair the fence. The well is their lifeline, they will not stand for it being in jeopardy of being destroyed by more elephants!

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We took more photos and chatted through Lucas and an interpreter George. These ladies have a sister community that is desperate for a well and lobbied Lucas to help. By now the children were comfortable, wanting to touch my skin and red nails. One little girl kissed my hand before running off giggling. Is that a camel in the distance? We said our good-byes not before hoping we see each other again. Whew! There you have it. A day in the life of the Ntilal #1 well community, elephants in the morning and a curly-haired white lady with red nails in the afternoon. Life sure is full of surprises – for us all!  Stay tuned for more stories from Samburu.

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You can see video from this well community visit on The Samburu Project’s Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/samburuproject/

www.thesamburuproject.org

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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.