I was fortunate enough to have Liz and Terry with me on the ‘Best of Kenya’ Safari. During that safari we visited Francis’ manyatta in Archers Post and they returned to camp inspired to make a difference to the lives of the children they had seen.
A brief potted history would help to explain the culture of the Samburu people. They form part of the Maa speaking peoples of whom the Maasai are best known. Their history is of fighting and cattle rustling with other Maa neighbouring tribes, Turkanas, Rendile, Purko and most recently Somalis. This constant swing of power has affected them all and especially the Samburu. Throughout the nineteenth century they were constantly on the move due in part to the numerous acts of aggression against them and in part to adverse climatic conditions or disease.
It was not until the British appeared on the scene that the Samburu were given a properly defined district of their own and Archers Post is one of the two administrative posts for this area. Northern Kenya was for many years a restricted area which resulted in the benign neglect of the inhabitants. This suited the Samburu who were pleased to be left behind as they preferred to live lives free from alien influences and external pressures. As pastoralists they have an emotional and economic commitment to their stock to the virtual exclusion of anything else.
However, their isolation has left them behind other parts of the country in terms of education, agricultural development and the provision of social services. Only now are changes gradually being felt. The younger generations realize that they must adapt to new ways if the tribe is to progress.
What now for the future, though? We all know that education is the key to a better life for the poor children you see in the pictures. Their only way out of poverty and hardship is to be given a chance eventually to make their own way in a young country, to make something for themselves.
Unfortunately resources are very limited and insufficient to cater for all those young children. Liz and Terry were clearly affected by what they saw and this was demonstrated by their passion and determination to help and their need to find out what they could do.
Well, unlike so many people who visit the third world saying they are going to help and don’t, Liz and Terry did and we are so proud of their achievement in such a short time. We will support them to ensure that Lisa’s School is not just a success but a solid foundation to support children on to further education.
From Terry and Liz
In 2009 we went to Kenya on Safari with Brian and Esther and his wonderful staff. Whilst there we had the opportunity of visiting the small village where Francis, one of Brian’s long serving staff, lives. The village is located just outside of Samburu National Park in Northern Kenya. It is a semi desert environment, the village is extremely poor and consists of huts made from sticks of wood patched with pieces of plastic. The people scratch a living from a few cattle and goats. Not many tourists pass this way as it is well off the beaten track.
As outsiders we have no idea what it must be like to live in such harsh conditions with little chance of reaching one’s potential, let alone feeding and educating your children properly. We discussed this one night over the campfire with Brian and Esther who have also wanted to do something for a while. We decided to embark on this project of building a school with the hope of being able to make a small difference to this little community. So it was decided we would fund raise in the UK and Brian would organise the build.
What started as a little project has of course grown. The cost of building the school and the furniture will be about £7000. The children are on the verge of being malnourished so we want to provide a daily meal for them. The food, the teacher’s wages and ongoing costs will be in the order of £100 per week. In the future we are aiming to sponsor a couple of the older children into secondary education and maybe provide the women with sewing machines to help them generate an income.