Monday, May 4, 2015

GO TEAM AMARA!

 

I would like to recognize the staff of Amara for all the hard work they put into the recent Ivory Belongs to Elephants Walk! It was a very hot, long and hard journey – mostly walking 437 kilometers. They needed to be there to help Jim Nyamu find his way to all the communities. We provided our vehicle, which sustained a couple of injuries itself – but the guys worked very hard!

Isaac Maina was there for at least 3 weeks of the walk – from the start, with a respite, and the last 3 weeks full time. He fixed broken generators, speakers and cables, as he is a natural engineer (besides having a university degree in engineering!). He spoke and advised and provided his inimitable spirit of collaboration and his deeply heartfelt desire to make conservation work in this country! Isaac has been supporting Amara from it's inception, and I am deeply grateful to him.

Peter Towett was Mr. All About. He did most of the driving – included a few unplanned trips to mechanics for repairs. He took most of the photos. He helped sort out the equipment, and I'm sure that he kept everyone in good spirits and on their toes.

Jacob Dadi was the leader of the Tsavo Team. He was on the committee that organized all the food and water donations, he planned the walk through Taveta and Taita – the majority of the events. He manned the loudspeaker on top of the car during the day. He introduced Jim to all the schools and communities where we work, and he continued putting forth Amara's information about the value of conservation. He is a great ambassador indeed. He walked every step that Jim did.

The whole team deserves a medal for all of their work. I know that while he hasn't said so, Jim must know that he could not have done this event without the Amara team support. I hope that the attention he has gained will filter down to people understanding the value of the community outreach that we do,and have been doing for many years now in collaboration with KWS and all local people in the Tsavo Conservation Area. We provide information where it is most needed, through showing films in Kiswahili, holding meetings and barazas and doing capacity building, including tree nursery construction training. We liaise between the different interest groups. Going forward we plan to be able also to provide project support for community efforts to protect their livelihoods whilst protecting their environment.

GO TEAM!! Congratulations to you all! Lori Bergemann

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