Yesterday I went to the Soysambu Wildlife Conservancy near Nakuru, Kenya. It’s only a two hour drive from Nairobi but the difference is drastic. About halfway there, the road suddenly takes a turn and you’re looking out across the Great Rift Valley. You can see for miles. It even feels like you’re back in Colorado because it’s cold, the elevation is high and there’s pine trees everywhere.
After a brief photo op, we descended into the valley and arrived at Soysambu. Evidently, the 48,000 acre property was first settled by the famous African explorer Lord Delamere in the early 20th Century. You can follow the link to read more because I had no clue who he was. While we were waiting for the director who was on the other side of the property to arrive, we took some tea and walked around the grounds. The place is beautiful, perfect for a weekend getaway from Nairobi.
Once she came, we discussed the opportunity of beginning a stove project in her communities. There are an estimated 25,000 people scattered throughout the property who continue to live in extreme poverty. The Conservancy would like to assist the people in these communities and not just work to save the animals. They were really excited about the prospect of a stove program and what it could do for the people there. They even wanted to test the stoves against traditional three-stone fires at the end of the month to see the benefits for themselves.
Before we left, we got the opportunity to visit the school next door. Currently, there is a separate hut where they cook all the school’s lunches. There are two really big three-stone fires in separate rooms with big pots of rice and beans on each. Even though the UN recently donated food for the entire month of July, the problem now is finding enough wood to cook with. Because they have no money to spend on fuel, the school requires the kids to bring a piece of firewood each day which counts as their lunch-pass. It’s funny how things like firewood become so valuable when there’s so little of it. By cutting firewood use in half, I believe we can really help struggling schools like this one.