I started working in the Samburu Lowlands in 1994. I arrived in town on the top of truck, there had been many double and even triple rainbows over the Mathews Range. I was sitting next to man wearing beads and with a fancy hair do who was also carrying a spear. He advised me when to duck to avoid being lacerated by acacia thorns as we lumbered, swayed, creaked and vibrated our way down the track from Archers Post to Wamba. It was as romantic a modern entrance could have been — with the joy of the evening, my sense of elation — amplified by the exuberant melodic horn blasts as we – the passengers in “Babys Coach” — were driven up to the top of Wamba’s main street in a cloud of dust and sound.
That first night, my then only contact, a young man who I had met the previous year when I had come through the village of Wamba for one night with my mycologist friend, David Arora, and who had subsequently written
The focus of my study is the smoke cured and fermented milk of the Samburu, a cultural group closely allied with the Maasai.
Over my many years of study in this area I have built up a small infrastructure of translators and others who I work with on my projects. I am open to helping independent researchers and small university groups quickly get started on Lowland projects through helping you with contacts, translators, and support infrastructure if you need it.
The area I work in, and thus the areas where I can offer support, is the area that includes the villages of Lengusaka and Wamba, the Namunak and Westgate Conservancies, and the Lowland area as far as the Llusen Gap and Lodungokwe along the C79/C78 road between Archers Post and Marsala. My contacts within this region could also help you with adjoining territory including up to Barasloi and over to Laisamis.
This region is changing very rapidly. It is suffering serious degradation from overgrazing and climate change. It is also now being to feel the effects of a reasonably intensive development, including road building and electrification. The old ways are ending very rapidly. Anyone considering research projects in this area should think about coming sooner rather than later as in the last few years pastoralism so there is a need to document this transitional time sooner rather than later.
I will be pleased to speak with anyone interested in working in this area via WhatsApp so write to me to make an appointment.