DAY 1

We met at the bus station – we were a diverse group of people originating from many parts of the world: Uganda, Somalia, India, Cyprus, Hungary, USA along with many locals. Soon we were all packed in several matatus and we were now heading towards North Laikipia where our final destination was located: The Natuum womens’ community.

We came here to learn water harvesting techniques for arid lands but what I was observing as we were leaving the big city behind, was anything but dry. Dense vegetation was covering most of the land: acres of eucalyptus, bananas and pineapple plantations were spreading till the eye could see.

“This doesn’t really look like a challenged land needing attention,” I thought to myself. But things, were about to change as we left the last city behind.

After Nanyuki, vegetation became scarcer. Trees and shrubs were becoming more aggressive. Thorny acacias and opuntia ficus seemed to have taken over the area. They probably were the only species hardy enough to survive these harsh conditions.

The road was bumpy and we were picking up mounts of dust as were hastily cutting through the desert. We were now entering the home of many wild animals: giraffes, zebra, wild elephants, but it seemed as WE were the “wildlife crossing” their ecosystem. We were leaving behind community after community and it seemed as we were dwelling deeper and deeper into the heart of erosion and desertification.

Now, while we were promised to spend only an hour on dirt road, two hours have passed and we were still crammed in those hot minibuses. The driver speeded up for the last time onto a steep uphill and he stopped. We have arrived. All the fatigue and discomfort we had accumulated packed so tightly for so long in those small matatus, vanished in a blink of an eye the moment we stepped on the land of the Natuum women. They had formed a colorful circle dressed up in their traditional Maasai garments, singing and dancing. One by one we were all drawn into the circle, immersed in their uplifting mood.

What a mind-blowing ceremony! In this unique way, they have managed to make us all feel so very well welcomed in their community.

I took a deep breath and looked around. It all now made sense. We have just stepped onto the heart of water scarcity.

This, was the perfect site to learn how harsh life can be in the absence of water.

This, was the place to understand the fundamental principles of water harvesting.

This, was the ideal land to learn how to regenerate life through proper design and help create prosperity and a promising future for the generations to come.

To find more information on the course organised in Natuum women’s group in Laikipia North, with Warren Brush, click here.