It has been a month since I left Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit. I have really enjoyed the past four weeks, being with my family and picking up from where I left last. Here I am at Oxford University. How different the two places are!
One of the most important things to me was to make sure that my sister was still going to school. Perhaps she will one day be able to follow in my footsteps to become a Maasai wildlife conservationist, which would be a great achievement, even more so because she is female. Maasai do not recognize any role played by women in society, and this why I want my younger sister to become one of the pioneers in a field dominated by men. Here I am being welcomed back to the community.
As I write this I have now returned to my job, working with the Lion Guardians project; I haven’t yet met any of the new Lion Guardians and am very excited to meet them and chat about my stay in the UK. It has not been easy for me since I got back to the office, especially having to tell the same stories a dozen times! But being part of the Maasai community, I have to tell everyone what I thought of the UK. The most curious aspect is what the weather was like, the type of food I was eating and what I have brought back to the community. This particularly has taken centre stage since the drought has taken most of the people’s livelihood; their livestock. I can feel the effect now and I hope with your support we can hire more Lion Guardians to bridge the gap that has been created by the drought.
There is more to come as I try to settle in. A lot has changed, from the new Lion Guardians to the new coordinator of the Eselenkei Group Ranch, Eric Ole Kesoi. The project now has twice the amount of Guardians since last I was here!
Last but not least is to wish you all belated New Year wishes and a prosperous 2010, as I bring you news of the day to day life in Maasailand and the lions. I am so glad to be back with the project and am very pleased to once again be bringing the news of the Lion Guardians to you.
I can smell home like the rain when it’s about to fall…
I am still here at Oxford University, but I am counting the weeks before I return home after my course. This puts a smile on my face as the weather here is starting to be chilly as the winter approaches! I can’t wait to meet my family and friends again and most importantly the Lion Guardians who have themselves travelled so far to make a difference in our community.
I have been remembering my time with the Lion Guardians, from the sad moments when we lost the Guardians’ favourite lion Sangale to poisoning, to the numerous happy moments when we shared goat roast to celebrate the success of saving lots of other lions from killing by villagers. The happy thing is that I will be coming back soon to share my experiences from one of the worlds leading universities with the Lion Guardians.
It has been a tough time, but with prayers and wishes of good luck from both my blog fans and the Guardians I have been well. I will try to do one more post before leaving Oxford I as bid farewell to some of my friends I made here in the University. Here I am cycling to classes!
For our blog readers it’s you who made this journey a successful one, even during this time when the economy is down you are still with us. Thank you so much and God bless you all.
It has been three months since I joined the University of Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit. Before, I never knew what it meant to collect data and why someone must use specific methods to do it right. That is now history. Thanks to Dr. Lucy Tallents who has been working tirelessly to make sure that I understand all the methods involved in the study of wildlife. Here I am in Oxford, enjoying listening to some musicians playing in the street.
For your information, I am the only student on this course who does not already have a degree. Nevertheless, I have been keeping up quite well with the rest of the students. I am quite amused by statistics, and the logic of working out different questions regarding wildlife and conservation models. I think I want to pursue it to greater length when I finish this course.
Apart from the weather that the natives also have trouble with, everything else has been fine. I have finally moved into my own room. It is really fancy, but at times I get really lonely as I am used to sharing a tent with my colleague back in Kenya. I am not going into details about food. I try to eat pretty much what I can get my hands on, but am really missing the real food of home and the people there; especially my family and other locals that have been dispersed by the raging drought. Here I am in Oxford with a postcard to send home.
I would like to take this chance to thank all the Lion Guardian blog reader for the support they have been giving. It really gives me strength to move on in this tough life. This means that I have an extensive family to count on all the time. May God bless you all. I would especially like to thank Sheri and Owen Hogle who sent me this wonderful suit. Thank you so much! I hope you will agree it looks great!
I try to follow the activities of the Lion Guardians, especially the new project in Eselenkei, just as you do on the blog. This gives me joy in my heart that finally my dream is coming true – that lions across Maasailand are going to be saved from the brink of extinction, and my fellow warriors from other ranches, who were yearning for the program to commence there have been satisfied.
On Saturday, I had to go to London to take an English exam at Acton College. After my exam, I had some time to walk around London, the oldest city I have ever seen!
It was a great experience to see this old city that I had only ever seen in movies before. I got the chance to visit the British Museum and learned a lot about Greek and Egyptian history. Here I am in front of the British Museum…
And inside the museum with a very ancient lion!
I went to Trafalgar Square and saw another lion! I am so proud that there are many statues of the amazing animals we are trying to protect all over London, and I hope this means that the people of England love these animals and want to help protect them. If that is true – please help us with a donation! The Lion Guardians still need your support! And a big thank you to those of you who have donated recently.
I also went to the River Thames and saw St Paul’s Cathedral (you can see it in the distance below).
I also saw Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.
It was such an amazing place, and I only had one afternoon to look at it all, so I plan to visit with my class mates. I’d really like to visit Buckingham Palace and the London Eye too.
After all is said and done, I am crossing my fingers that I will pass the English exam, which will determine my stay here at Oxford University.
This is my first week since leaving Kenya. People are really taking good care of the new “Panthers” as they are known here in Tubney House in Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU). The other students are from Nepal, Zimbabwe, South Africa Bolivia, Madagascar and Bhutan.
The weather is not that good although the people here think that it is the best time of the year for them! Contrary to the weather, the people are extremely nice to us! Lucy Tallents and Murray are helping us to get used to the life in Tubney and navigate around Oxford. Here is our new home!
Yesterday, I was taken out punting by my new “parents” here in England. A punt is a kind of boat that is used on the rivers here in Oxford. We also visited the Codrington Library. It had very beautiful sculptures done many years ago. My new papa and mama took good care of me on Saturday, showing me great places in my new city.
We also got a chance to be welcomed by Professor David Macdonald. His words were those of a father welcoming a son to a new home; he told us that Tubney is just like our homes we left behind. True to his words, this is actually like my place in the Chyulus.
It was a dream come true when I was accepted into the University of Oxford. It has been my goal to continue with my education since I finished High School in 2003, but little did I know that I could end up at one of the world’s best universities!
The Postgraduate Diploma in International Wildlife Conservation Practice is a new course from Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), whichÂ will improve my skills in lion conservation and running the Lion Guardians program and teach me all about conservation research. I am so excited that I will be able to bring these skills back to Maasailand!
The course lasts for 7 months and starts at the end of April, so I have not got long to prepare myself for visiting a very different and much colder country! I also do not have long to train my successor, who I will introduce to you soon. He will keep you posted with Lion Guardians news and stories, and I will keep you updated on my studies and what is happening in Oxford when I am there.
I hope you are excited about this too! I hope it will really benefit the lions and the Lion Guardians, as well as me, my family and my community.