Saturday, July 20, 2013

Community Connection

African Impact - The Mara Project in the Naboisho Conservancy

What I enjoyed most about this project is that it is closely connected to the community, both people and animals. The Naboisho Conservancy and this project is less than 3 years old so it’s a work in progress. Our project leader, Lincoln, was fantastic at orchestrating opportunities.

The local people are Masai, which is a unique culture.
Koiyaki Guiding School Students

We stayed down the road from this competitive, excellent school. We talked with the students to give them exposure to “tourists” for real life practice. Most of our guides were local Koiyaki grads and were excellent!

Women Empowerment Project

Of course this was of extreme interest to me. Sarah is the amazing local woman behind this project. We joined a village workshop teaching local women business opportunities such as beadwork, chicken raising and soap making.

Conservancy Management: Cattle grazing. 

All local Masai families own cattle herded by boys. Justin, a native Kenyan, manages the conservancy. He explained to us the cattle grazing rotation that he set up, among many other amazing organizational feats.

Spear throwing

I saw the boy throw the spear into the ground, so the competitive side of me and intrigue of weapons had to give it a go. After careful observation, I got it on the 3rd try.

Working at the primary school

We played games and sang. The kids had beautiful voices. Note: never try to race a Kenyan kid. I totally went down and have scars to prove it.

Living in the bush! 

Here are our basic accommodations. I wanted remote, and we got it. It was actually a lot nicer than I anticipated. 
The bathroom
The two doors on the left were toilets. Didn’t have to squat, but they didn’t flush either. We were lucky enough to have running water, and even warm showers after 3 pm, except for the one day all the water trucks broke down and couldn't deliver.

The massive tent that Elaine and I shared.
Not too shabby, though the no light and big (venomous?) spiders were a minor inconvenience.
Animals seen or heard outside our tent: lions, elephants, giraffes, hyenas, baboon, others???
Animals inside our tent: monkey, big spiders
Animals suspected: baboon (did he take my sock?)

Weather was pretty hot during the day (~85-90 deg) and cool at night (50s). That sun was strong though.

Our common area where meals were served

We had mostly western meals cooked for us which was a luxury. I didn’t mind after 2 weeks of traditional African food. Thankfully, I didn’t get sick once the whole month. Praise for daily doses of Emergen-C and multi-vitamins.

The internet bush

It was quite the challenge to just check e-mail. Forget about surfing the web. But I do like being off the grid. I walked 5 minutes to this bush at 6 am before our days' work, careful to avoid unruly animals. I waved my phone around hoping to get one bar long enough to download e-mail. A 50/50% chance. Then I'd return back the next day to try and send a response e-mail.  A two day process, at best. Anyone who received an e-mail from the bush (literally) should count yourself as special.

laundry time

 Many hours staring out at the savanna grasslands from the jeep

 Our gang

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