Here we go:
FIRE and FIREBREAKS
LAND OF HOPE 2013
It was after a visit to this school, that I decided to embark in the land of Hope mission:
Imana and some of the Land of Hope kids
We thank from the heart OUR VOLUNTEERS:
DR. BAS VAN DER BORNE AND HIS TEAM
THE DUTCH BIG FIVE: DR. SYTSE AND ERNA SIJBRANDIJ AND THEIR THREE BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS
The new Clinic at Ndidika
COMMUNITY, FRIENDSHIP AND FUN
MAKENA (SVEVA) AND HER TEAM
WHEN IT RAINS, IT POURS....
FIRE AND FIREBREAKS
THANKS TO IMPROVED SECURITY and the support of the KWS:
2012: 44 ELEPHANTS POACHED.
2013: 4 ELEPHANTS POACHED (ONE, TUSKS RETRIEVED)
the elephant Female and her unborn calf. A family pay respect to their remains, and community youth come to visit, too.
Our patrol Commander Zachary Nderitu ( right, early in the year, during a drilling exercise with KWS) was shot in an ambush when pursuing poachers in the line of duty.
IN THIS PART OF THE REGIONS
Students look at the Enghelesha Forest.
TWO SPECIES NEW TO SCIENCE WITHIN MONTHS FROM ONE ANOTHER FOUND ON OL ARI NYIRO
1. THE NEW BUTTERFLY: Aslauga gallmannae, Lippert and Collins (discovered by Mike Roberts) a butterfly only existing in our protected Enghelesha forest
Tomopterna gallmanni SP Anura: Pyxicephalidae: A species of NEW sand frog formerly unknown to science, that Victor Wasonga and Mike Roberts had found in one of our sixty man- made dams in the central area of Ol ari Nyiro.
PHOTO CREDITS: AMEDEO BUONAJUTI, MANUELA MONTELLA
WITH SPECIAL THANKS
FOR LAND OF HOPE:
DR. CRISTINA CAPPELLETTI AND THE MAISHA MAREFU ITALIAN TEAM
BIANCA NOTARBARTOLO DI SCIARA AND HER FAMILY
IAN HICKS AND SUSIE GRANT
SOPHIE BARKER AND THE RAINBOW COLLECTION
SLOANN GLOAG AND THE JONATHAN GLOAG CENTRE NUTAN MALDE AND FAMILY
Although it is not yet the end of the year, so much has happened, we need to tell you!
Thank you for your support in 2013!
But, mostly, thank you for your friendship.
Once again, for us at The Gallmann Memorial Foundation, in Ol ari Nyiro, it has been a year of giving.
More news will come with the end of year update, and the Environment update: but because we are approaching the festivities of Christmas and New Year, I thought it appropriate to send you a quick , community, update.
We initiated a sustainable firewood project- from the fast- regrowing lelechwa shrubs: neighboring groups of community women regularly come to maintain the wildlife fence, and go with as much firewood as they can carry.. and local schools come to help themselves, for free.
This project fullfills a basic need and is contributing to stop the denuding of the indigenous vegetation, and to save trees that take over a generation to grow.
We kept feeding the less fortunate kids of our neighbours.
... And, this year, thanks to the support of our friends, we finished at last the building of our Land of Hope community project, complete with a running track, a nursery,a vocational centre and a surgery; and rain water collection system, in addition to the working Bore- hole that gives the most basic, vital, but otherwise unavailable neccessity: clean, free, fresh water to our neigbouring families: now,we are fencing the entire Land of Hope..
and... The kids already love it!
It will bloom fully in 2014, once the fence( a LONG FENCE! Under way) will make it secure- and hopefully we shall be able to secure salaries for all the teachers and staff.
Art and Sports are amongst the extra activities we are implementing there. Music, and play.
And, we have a .. Surgery!
And a kitchen.
... and few months ago, with support from our sponsors, we donated a basic pre-fabricated structure to the community of Ndidika... Whose women had to travel ten km on a cart and a donkey to reach the closest help!
So, as soon as both ready, the generous volunteers Italian of Maisha Marefu, and later Dutch doctors came, these last bringing tons of special adjustable glasses... literally,'blind could see".. and that included our cook Christopher!
We are blessed to be able to assist the needy, and could not do it without your help.
On the Wildlife and environment side... MUCH has happened! And with better training and improved security, plus outreach to our neighbours, we have lost 4 elephants in 2013 - cross fingers and touch wood, the year has not yet ended!- as opposed to 44(yes. FOURTYFOUR!) in 2012.
There have been some amazing biodiversity discoveries, and developments. This will warrant a separate update.
Watch out for it!
Thank you: we send you blessings from the heart and our love, as we approach the special time of Christmas
Kuki, with Sveva and the Team of The Gallmann Memorial Foundation in Ol ari Nyiroh On the Great Rift Valley of Kenya.
- 10th December 2013 -
It is a good morning in Ol ari Nyiro, birds singing , in front of my office window endless savannah with wild olives and acacia as far as the eye can see, and everything is possible.
So, I want to share something special with you.
Back in early June 2013 I proudly announced the extraordinary discovery- with relative official description - METAMORPHOSIS Volume 24: 3–6, Michel Libert 1 & Steve C. Collins2 and naming (Aslauga gallmannae)- of a new species of butterfly endemic to our Enghelesha Forest, that Mike Roberts had discovered and very generously named after us.
Today-11th November 2013- I am overwhelmed by another tribute of selfless generosity by Domnick Victor Wasonga, a young gifted Herpetologist from the Department of Zoology of the National Museums of Kenya, to years of single minded conservation efforts of the biodiversity of Ol ari Nyiro : the discovering, publishing - ZOOTAXA ISSN 1175-5326 (print edition) ISSN 1175-5334 (online edition) - OF A NEW SPECIES OF FROG (yes you read correctly, FROG)...and its naming!
Here I humbly- and with glow- present you:
Tomopterna gallmanni SP Anura: Pyxicephalidae: A species of NEW sand frog formerly unknown to science, that Victor and Mike Roberts had found in one of our sixty man- made dams in the central area of Ol ari Nyiro.
During their last visit, the National Museums discovered 59 SPECIES new to our already extensive list( These included 1 snake, 7 birds, 43 invertebrates , 2 fish, and 6 plants). And here I enclosed the Executive summary of this Research.
As we keep exploring in awe and respect the thousands secrets of this land, with gratitude to Victor, and with a singing heart I send you love, blessings and thank you for your support
Kuki, Sveva and all the Team of the Gallmann Memorial Foundation
in Ol ari Nyiro, The Place of Springs
On the Great Rift Valley of Kenya
on 11th November 2013
"To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower' -William Blake
... and we do need your help -PLEASE- to keep it all going... will write in detail.
tanti tanti baci.
A is a male
D is a female
On 24th of June 2013 The elephant female was shot and from her womb a dead, unborn calf erupted.
On 15 of August 2013 : JUST BONES LEFT
EVERYDAY OR NIGHT ELEPHANT FRIENDS CAME TO MOURN ON THE CARCASS, RANGERS REPORTED.
WE SAW ALL THE TRACKS.
ON 15TH OCTOBER 2013 WE SET AN INFRARED CAMERA.
ON 16TH OCTOBER THIS PHOTOS WERE TAKEN.
THE FEMALES FAMILY THAT CAME IN THE NIGHT TO MOURN AT THE CARCASS OF THEIR FRIEND, WAS THE FAMILY TO WHICH THE POACHED FEMALE ELEPHANT AND HER UNBORN CALF BELONGED.
THE CALF IN THIS PHOTO WAS BORN A FEW DAYS BEFORE THE BOY CALF DIED, UNBORN .
HE WOULD HAVE BEEN HIS SAME AGE.
NO COMMENT: JUST SHAME.
Kuki and Team
From Ol ari Nyiro
On the Great Rift Valley
On 25th October 2013
PS WE THANK OUR GAC TRUSTEE ROGER ROWE FOR THE GENEROUS GIFT OF FOUR INFRARED CAMERAS (THE EARLIER FOUR HAD ALL BEEN 'EATEN' BY LIONS!)
PPS In 2012 44 elephants were poached in Ol ari Nyiro. The elephant female, and her calf are 2 of 3 elephant casualties in 2013 .Thank you for your help.
In the October morning the shots were heard, and Sveva gave the alarm.
Birds scattered from the talllest branches, trumpeting madly the elephant family ran, and amongst the impassive lelechwa bushes, the young bull elephant lay dead.
His face was hacked off by the poacher's axe, his soft butchered trunk thrown aside -casually on the grass, like an insult.
The 3rd casualty this year 2013. Last year at this time we had lost 35: and by the end of 2012 we would count 44.
But for as long as even one elephant is murdered for his teeth, there is no complacency.
The rangers found him covered with the branches of the Euclea tree which they cut down to conceal the carcass- two murders- and delay its discovery and the ensuing chase.
The poachers were fast and experienced.
By evening the tusks were already with the Rift Valley trader, hidden in a sack amongst second- hand clothes, soon in the truck on its way to the buyer, and the markets across the sea.
Road blocks..? Road blocks a dream.
During the day the bush tracks look empty.. only Dik Diks like elves leaping through the side shrubs and from dusk to dawn we hear howls of Hyena feasting, lusty throat roars of feeding lions.
But in the mystery of the night back come the silent shadows of the elephant family.
Patient wise presences, enduring veteran survivors of the mindless cruelty of humans.
Life seems to go on- just.
From Ol ari Nyiro,
A very sad Kuki
Tonight 3rd October 2013
(ouch, this earlier update was left on my outbox... and here it is for you):
In the dry season in Africa, it seems that rains will never come...heat, dust and dry twigs, relentless work to prevent bushfires...
Clouds gather, skies open, the graded roads become rivers, and we spend hours and nights digging everyone up... including the tractors meant to go to the rescue
Then sun comes out again, everything shines on our magical hills, wild jasmin jewel all bushes... and we start again with firebreaks to prevent future, dry season nightmares.
... and in the meantime at Land of Hope,
the Running track is built, (hundreds of kids use it regularly), the buildings completed ...
and and back comes enthusiastic Dr.Cristina with her smile and tons of gifts to help the community
The Ndidika clinic is opened, the waiting place fills with children, uji is cooked, bread, milk, out come the drums, the children are fed and play, and artist Edwin Onyango comes from Nairobi to teach them how to paint... and all join in...
If in town they paint cars, buildings, motorbikes accidents...if in town colours are yellow and red and black, if 'Town Kids' - we learnt from him- paint cars and car crashes, buildings and boda- boda bikes, here (he was amazed to see) it is fresh springs and flowers, running streams and cool green glades
Edwin saw his FIRST ELEPHANT, too, his first IMPALA and inspired and dreaming, he created a magical mural of nature untarnished.
Elephants with young young calves come in the night next to my garden, and from a very green Laikipia we send you love and thank you for your support.
Kuki Sveva and the Team
of the Laikipia Highlands games 2013
in Ol ari Nyiro,
LAIKIPIA NATURE CONSERVANCY
on The Great Rift Valley
like every year, the annual fever of activity took over Ol ari Nyiro in the months leading to the SIXTH edition of our Laikipia Highlands Games-Sports for Peace.
From July, a band of Mutaro women worked to clear the fields of anthills, remove hay and rocks.
Our tractor with Joseph cut the grass, and taylor Kariuki Githau churned out hundreds of flags on his old Singer pedal machine, that Fundi Maina and his team of builders stapled on hundreds sustainable sysal poles we bought from Ol Donyo Oloip's self - help women group, and that the Mission tractor transported.
At Land of Hope Sports complex(!) Coach Kibaru and Silas, -with Ronald Lemuna-trained our youth team.
The Road Gang with Kairu and Dan were flat out on the roads, where the seasonal springs (Ol ari Nyiro = The Place of Springs) bubbled up unexpected making travelling a true ordeal...( all got stuck...see below)
Our women team made enough lelechwa sustainable eco-charcoal for Cooks Cristopher, Wachira and Kamau to cook mountains of samosas and biscuits, and water tanks were transported to the campsites, field toilets erected, marquees, tents, platforms...
Mutaro kids practiced the National Anthem, and when Bianca came back again to train them, there was rejoicing..
and then... rains came, and came and came.. roads became mud baths, tractors got stuck.. and your truly-me- moved to the field to sleep in the camp in a tent to propitiate the Gods of rain and the spirit of nature with ancient enchantments that have never failed me.
Sun rises saw me wondering amongst the bewildered Impala, while warthog scattered, tails straight, all knowing that in a few days they could reclaim their plains.
... and Nature listened: on the day of the Games a bright sun rose...THOUSANDS of festive people and diverse tribes in all regalia, feathers waiving in the breeze and beads gleaming, converged with varied transports on the fields, singing.
We stood for the Anthem and heard the Muslim prayer from the Sheik, the Christian from Don Giacomo and the Jewish Peace Prayer from the Torah from Gil Haskel the Ambassador of Israel (many envoys attending).
All shook hands- love and excitement was the spirit of the crowds. Competitions began.
It was Michele who told me first. Soon all envoys were looking in their smart phones, and the mood changed.
Extraordinary evil had struck at Westgate in Nairobi- and the hours and days of horror and uncertainty began with the unavoidable suddenness of nightmares.
History will tell, explanations are impossible.
Up on the games for peace fields, it felt surreal: nature untouched, untarnished, birds singing, people still rejoicing- all seemed the same, news had not yet reached most.
When the time came for Price Giving and Speeches, and my turn to talk, I asked everyone to stand, to observe a minute of silence in respect for the victims of the senseless , insane, incredible massacre.
Never like this year Sports for Peace were more meaningful and poignant.Never like this year. People held hands, embraced, rejoiced together.
From up here, my friends who care the world over, we send prayers for humanity to find sanity, and for the spirit of healing and peace to come, to come and endure.
Kuki Sveva and the Team
of the Laikipia Highlands games 2013
in Ol ari Nyiro,
LAIKIPIA NATURE CONSERVANCY
on The Great Rift Valley,
on the 22nd of September 2013
It has been a strange month- so much happened in it- and it has flown.
In my next update -soon- I shall talk of community, projects, old tombs, and the magic of Land of Hope. Today, again, it is:
The tusks that cost her her life - small and thin- were weighed and taken by the KWS.
Of the elephant female only a few scattered bones, in the grass trodden by many feet. Nothing is left of her calf.
The scavengers took him.
In the night, when only the moon watches and the roars of lions searching the thick bush for buffalo reverberates from the hills, the elephant come.
The remains of the elephant female are visited by her family: our patrol commander Merinyo Lenawasae watched at dawn one of the rare males approach, stop, feel the scattered bones- gently- with his stretched trunk- and stand head down, for a long time, mourning.
The tragedy of the young mother and her unborn calf, had left a deep impression on the rangers.
In the day we bring the school children, the community, to see, and to reflect.
Merinyo tells them the story of elephants he watched as a child, when herding cattle in the Samburu reserve.
Small and large herds returning again and again to stand by the carcass of a friend, in reverence, sometimes picking up a bone, putting a leafy Mukinyei branch on them- ' just like people'.
But it is people who killed them for gain.
We have lots of elephants at this time: shy. We see their dung on the road, but seldom their body.
Only the rangers following their tracks in thick bush do.
Large herds of young, scared, confused, pregnant females coming back to give birth here where they were born, now that rains have come and grass is green and plenty.
The story of the slaughter of the mother and her unborn elephant child has gone through the world, and through the social media reached many.
Some help has been forthcoming, and we have been recruiting more rangers (still far from enough) and undergone - Sunday- one full day of training with the KWS.
We trust more help will materialise.
A little girl called Crosby, in far Away Texas, has taken this as her cause: the dreadful news have captured her imagination, and yet , she has not yet seen a 'real elephant' in the bush: she has been walking and walking to raise awareness for the elephant plight.
There is growing concern in Kenya for the ongoing holocaust.
Few days ago four elephants were shot at Sosian-a ranch in Laikipia west not far from us: two dead, tusks of one gone, and two badly wounded-they will die.
A new campaign aimed to bring the message to and stimulate action from the Kenyan grass roots called" Hands off our Elephants" has been launched and is gaining momentum.
Kenya's First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has agreed to champion it. I attended its grand launch and listened to her moving speech,bringing hundreds of letters from Laikipia Schoolchildren on the subject: "The plight of the elephants and a world without them".
As Richard Leakey said at the event about committing to put an end to this senseless waste :
"Yes, we can. Yes, we must."
Back in rainy Laikipia, in the midst of the horrors, from very bush, the red lilies bloom,
and we send you all love, and blessings
Kuki Sveva and Team
In Ol ari Nyiro
Laikipia Nature Conservancy
on the Great Rift valley
on 24th July 2013
a small herd of females and calves, quickly drink and head for the comparative safety of the thick bush
|like unexpected hope, the red lilies bloom|
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