28 February 2011


On March 4th 2011 the Resource Center will official open the beautiful new buildings as Lale’enok. The new name comes from a Maasai herding term where they send out scouts to survey the grazing and water points in the area and then come back to report where to take the cattle and what areas are currently safe. It is a similar the role the community has in store for the new Resource Center. It will be a hub for all the research and information collected by local and international researchers alike, and be a place where that information can then be distributed, discussed, and applied appropriately for future planning. We are looking forward to hosting over 300 people next Friday from International V.I.Ps to important community members and everyone who has been with us along the way.

The buildings have already been put to good use with the arrival of the two student groups the women had their first opportunity to use their new banda as a welcoming area and a place to sell their beadwork. What a successful opening it was, with the Chairlady and the committee there to welcome everyone. There were many members of the women’s group who showed up with their unique handiwork and beautiful shukas and kangas and it was an exciting mix of cultures for the students to interact with the woman and pick up a few souvenirs along the way.

Maji Maji (and more) Maji!

February has turned into a very prosperous month! Everything started off very dry as we were well into the dry season and the usual migrations down to the swamp grazing were well under way. However, by the middle of the month we had 5 days straight of rain receiving up to 36mm a night and instantly turning the arid landscape into a sea of tiny green shoots. It is an amazing transformation to watch and a shift you can feel as you drive through the Maasai settlements where relaxed and cheerful moods have settled upon us all as we watch the grass grow. Even the wildlife is responding with sightings of new baby zebra, impala, and even wildebeest across the area. This is the first sighting of wildebeest calving since the 2009 drought and it is a positive sign towards the recovery of populations.

It is not just rain from the sky that is cause for delight, but camp now officially has running water from taps! The days of buckets showers are over and though some of us will reminisce the old days it is certainly an exciting progression for the center. All this water has created both a beautiful and functional facility to welcome our two returning University Groups. The first is the Canadian Field Studies in Africa Program from the University of McGill in Montreal Canada. The group spent 3 nights at the center talking with elders and community leaders on issues ranging from land tenure and subdivision to conservancy arrangements and livestock issues. They were even lucky enough to overlap with a visit from David Western who gave a lecture on the history of conservation in Kenya and how this area fits into the larger picture of ecosystem management

The group visited the shambas in Nguruman, took a drive to see the flamingos in Lake Magadi, and learnt tracking techniques from our carnivore researchers. Overlapping with their departure we had our second University team come through from Sweden. Interested more specifically with cattle behaviour and interactions with the wildlife the Swedish team spent half their days walking with cattle and learning about local herding practises while using the other half of the day to visit the conservancy and learn about tracking techniques. They were even lucky enough to see 2 male cheetahs just outside of camp! It has been a busy time at camp and a wonderful experience to have visitors using the new center. We are thankful for all the support and enthusiasm!