So good to be back in the wilderness after time spent in the big city of Nairobi. I am at a camp in Samburu County which is in a conservancy called Meibae. It’s a beautiful place but being in northern Kenya means it’s also dry usually. This is currently the rainy season or the end of it at least. There hasn’t been much rain until recently and even then, this parched land could use more. It used to be the rains could be counted on with a fair amount of regularity but because of climate change that is no longer the case. If you talk to any of the mzees (elders), they will tell you that the weather patterns are no longer predictable. For pastoralists, this means that they cannot count on rains to come and the grass to grow so their herds can graze. And this is a problem as you can well imagine. There is also a toll on human populations as well. We in America take water for granted. Yes, there have been parts of the U.S. that have been in drought but in all but the most extreme cases when you turn on your tap water comes out. Imagine if you will not having a tap but relying on what water falls from the sky and whether you can harvest enough of it to help you through the dry periods. Or hoping the water in the dry river bed is flowing close enough to the surface that you can dig down to collect it. Here at this camp, we bring drinking water with us from Nairobi or we boil the water that has been collected in tanks to provide us with drinking water. We are also very judicious about our water use. Showers are kept to a minimum, maybe once or twice a week, and even then, we are careful with our usage. It is a bucket shower and we fill it up, turn on the spigot to let enough water out to get us wet. We then turn it off and soap up. We then rinse, again being judicious with our water usage. It definitely makes you appreciate those showers where you don’t have to turn it on and off and can stand underneath the flow for the entire shower. There are constant reminders around us not to waste water as it is a precious resource here.
There are few, if any, places on earth where you can see a lion set against the backdrop of a capital city. But Kenya has such a place. An incongruous piece of land 117 sq. km. in size known as Nairobi National Park. Most visitors to Kenya can hardly wait to escape the confines of Nairobi and head to the well- known safari destinations of the Masai Mara, Samburu, and the Laikipia Plateau. But for those destined to remain within Nairobi, there is a place where nature's finest is on display 365 days a year.