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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.