With the first pale light of dawn, I wake to the sounds of a Northern Kenya morning. Wrapping my kanga around my shoulders, I hurry out to the verandah of my tent to watch the day begin. As I sit in my cushioned chair, wild bees murmur in a tree nearby and lizards and insects start to stir in the thatched roof above my tent. In five minutes I count more than 20 species of birds – weavers and bulbuls and hornbills.
The heat starts to rise from the valley floor below the mountain and soon the far landscape becomes a smoky haze. A gentle wind starts to pick up. Daniels arrives with a wicker tray of hot water, hot milk and a small bowl of dried instant coffee.
Sabache Camp is in the shadow of Sabache Mountain. The mountain is also called Ol Lolokwe and it is situated in a beautiful forest alongside a lugga, a veined depression in the side of the mountain where the rainy season spills its wealth over giant boulders, leaving pools of green when the rains stop. On our arrival yesterday, the pools were alive with the melodic sounds of frogs and as the sun set their chorus grew louder. During the night their calls would suddenly stop and there would be dead silence. As I lay in my cocoon of netting and canvas, I wondered what predator visitor could halt their calls. I tried to stay awake so that I could hear other sounds that the frogs had drowned out – the cough of a leopard or the silent footfalls of Aribo, who was diligently patrolling the pathway between our tents.
Kura remained back in Archers last night, so he could be up early to go to Isiolo and withdraw the money for the second grant distribution to the twenty businesses that we have launched in the area. He left me with BOMA’s vehicle, Gumps, and after breakfast I drove us back to Archers, with Aribo riding shotgun. We were looking forward to seeing BOMA’s Mentor in the village, Maria, who would be overseeing the public distribution of grant funds and lead a training session on savings. I will be the silent observer.
Participants in the training program were requested to arrive by 9 a.m., but when David, Corwin and I arrive, the session has yet to start. Maria was busy trying to locate one of the Catholic sisters who had the key to the training hall that we rent. We went over to a local campsite along the rushing waters of the Ewaso Nyiro River where we could sit in the shade and I could access good network and charge my laptop. Finally Kura called and everyone was ready.
More than fifty women were seated on the perimeter seats that surround the hall. I went around the room and shook each of the women’s hands, saying hello and smiling at the numerous babies who were nursing or seated on their mother’s laps. I recognized many of the women from previous visits to Umoja and Kiltamany villages. Maria asked me to say a few words and she translated into Samburu.
And then the training session began.