Community updates

The eye of the river

The “eye of the river” is what the Maasai call the source of a life giving river. The eye, a part of the body so sensitive, that if injured or damaged, would disrupt the whole being of a person and leave man blind and without hope. We are greatly excited and deeply amazed at the extraordinary wisdom of the Maasai elders of the Olorte Community Development Trust  and other community leaders who recognized the importance of conserving the Olkeju Arus River and the ancient Elephant Corridor that link the Naimina Enkiyio Forest(Forest of the Lost Child) with the world renowned Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. DSC_0365

The community based Olkoroi Camp is located on a small hill, curiously enough shaped in the shape of an eye (aerial picture right). The camp lay snug on the edge of this bio-diverse wildlife corridor and water catchment area. It features breathtaking views over the Loita Hills, the surrounding woodland and the bordering Olkeju Arus river gorge. This is also the area that the Maasai elders of the Olorte region of Loita recognize as the source of the Olkeju Arus river and the Olmotonyie Wetland. The “Eye Of The River”.

The year 2014 gave the Walking with Maasai team new hope as we’ve searched through great difficulty for ways in which the Olorte community could buy into the idea of conserving this all important wildlife corridor. We are extremely glad and thankful for the efforts of Joyce Poole and Petter Granli from Elephant Voices and Dickson Ole Kaelo and Daniel Sopia from the Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association who visited us to advise and assess the area and who sponsored a visit for some of our Community Trust and other members of the Olorte community to visit some of the very successful community based conservancies in the Maasai Mara area. The exposure of such field trips to other successful community conservation projects does a lot to stimulate vision and interest into conservation activities from community members.

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Along with the challenges of mobilizing a remote community such as Olorte into considering conservation as an option, there is a huge need for leadership training and skills development. In 2014 our team together with community trust members attended a conference in Nairobi on Sustainable Development hosted by the Boulder Foundation, this conference together with the Work 4 a Living training course has given us the tools to begin training with key role players. Skills training together with field visits to other community conservation projects and creating awareness through village training workshops  within the community is key to the success of establishing a community based conservation project.

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Tourism in Kenya was greatly affected by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa as well as travel warnings due to terrorism activities in other parts of Kenya. This had a very negative effect on the whole country and many tourist camps and lodges had to close their doors and thousands of people lost their jobs. Thanks to the commitment and dedication of the Olkoroi Camp staff and management, the camp stayed operational throughout 2014 and we managed to get some good reviews on BizzNews.com and on the Walking with Maasai FaceBook page.

We are very grateful to all our supporters and friends who keep on encouraging us. We thank you for your support and faith in this project and we wish all a prosperous 2015!

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“These animals can pay for our medicines…”

One evening in March 2007 during a stakeholders meeting between community elders and Walking with Maasai supporters and friends, Peter Ole Nyarket, camp committee and Community Trust chairman addressed the gathering around a bonfire and said the following:

”  We all know the problems we have with these wild animals – the elephants raid our maize plantations, the hyenas, leopards and wild dogs finish our goats and yet we have no benefit from them. They are ours, but the government will not allow us to kill them, we can also not sell them like cows, but they are still ours and if we are clever enough, we should use them! These animals can pay for our medicines and they can provide a way for our children to go to school. If we can make the Olkoroi Camp work, it will help the community…”

Peter addressing the meeting

In 2009 the much-needed and long-awaited mobile clinic vehicle finally arrived in the community. Sponsored by Starfish Clinic Project International it was agreed that money generated through the Olkoroi Wilderness Camp will subsidise the cost of medicine to make it more affordable for community members to attend the clinic.

The mobile clinic visits 3 remote Maasai villages every week with our trained nurse and driver Florence and Daniel.

The mobile unit goes to the outer reaches of the community, fully stocked with meds, vaccinations and emergency equipment.

Florence and Daniel also visit the local schools and provides training on basic hygiene, HIV/Aids education and general healthcare. Read more about the Clinic project here: http://www.scpinternational.org/index.php/scpi/background/

Last year one of our guests at the camp made a very generous donation of £5000 towards the clinic project and plans are on the way to construct a desperately needed clinic building. But more about that later…

More great news is that the Olkoroi Wilderness Camp recently hosted a whole group of doctors and medical volunteers who came to assist the community with health checks and dental care. We are very grateful to Kim de Wit and her amazing team from the States who provided their services free of charge to the community. In July, over a period of two days more that 700 community members received expert health checks and dental care!

Dr. Guild on his way to go and see an elderly patient in a village

Waiting in line to be seen by a doctor

See more here:

http://globalvillageministries.blogspot.com/2012/07/sunday-on-road-to-olorte.html

http://globalvillageministries.blogspot.com/2012/07/monday-in-enairebuk.html

http://globalvillageministries.blogspot.com/2012/07/tuesday-we-spent-in-another-little.html

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