This is about a trip to a Samburu village that has decided to settle and abandon the nomadic lifestyle. Ingelai village is home to two ambassadors from the Grevy’s Zebra Trust.
Visiting this village was a good thing for me. As I wrote earlier, I found it difficult to be in the area of Samburu around Baragoi. Baragoi is where the Samburu and Turkana tribes intersect, and these two tribes have been in conflict for generations. Perhaps it is partially this conflict that makes the town feel tense and uncomfortable, but on top of that there seems to be a strong culture of expectation in northern Kenya. I found that the people in the north expect anyone from the west to give them a great deal. Many, many people ask for things from you, and it is often in an aggressive manner. On top of this, there is a strong negative feeling from many people simply when you walk by them. I like to think that this is a lesson for me in letting other people’s negativity slide off me. The poverty up there *is* intense, however some of the “poor” villagers might also own $20,000 to $50,000 worth of cattle their tradition won’t let them ever sell them for anything: to finance their children’s secondary education, to go to the hospital or even if a drought is obviously going to kill them. Within the town there is clearly great poverty and the hospital for the region has no doctors and only two under-qualified nurses.
The people of Ingelai village were completely different in their reactions to us, and it was wonderful. To me it shows that the work the Grevy’s Trust is doing up there is doing something. It was definitely one of the highlights of my trip so far.
If you can’t see the video below, you can watch it here on youtube.