Why are all the black faces in conservation in the background?

Nairobi National Park is the only park on earth bordering a capital city. It is the world’s wildlife capital and one afternoon in December 2016, it was celebrating 70 years of existence. Nairobi National park was the first gazetted park in the country, started in 1946. Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) was throwing an evening party in the park to commemorate the event. The small gathering, comprised conservationists, friends of Nairobi national park, assorted Kenyans who earn a living in the wildlife industry and uniformed KWS staffers who appeared to be attending more out of protocol than choice.

There was an air of resignation about the place. Out at the Impala observation point, a panoramic view of open savanna grassland, guests mingled awaiting the arrival of the dignitaries as the catering unit from the Ole Sereni hotel hurried about setting up.

The Idle Thoughts Of An Idle Farmer

Now, on the subject of farming, I can hold my own. Hand me a piece of land and some rainfall and I will be capable of growing food. Farming is one of my gifts. I have a deep connection with the soil.

Owning a pair green fingers is a big deal in this finger twitching, tech savvy, digital generation. I know more people than I care to count who are incapable of tending to a basic houseplant. Leave a plant in their care and consider it dead.

Water Has No Enemy But It Has Owners

My favourite Fela Kuti song is, “Water, No Get Enemy”. There is a hypnotic saxophone that awakens dead nerves carrying through the number. It is from the album “Expensive shit”. In Nairobi, water has enemies and owners. I was thinking about expensive water bottles littering the road sides as I rolled back into the city from the December manenos, to be confronted by the disturbing news of an imminent water shortage. I only get the city supply once a week, so this was not good news. News reports warned; Nairobi to face dry months ahead. Panic!

Act Like A Man, Be Like A Tree

I love trees. As a kid, I would climb them, explore them as though they were an elaborate labyrinth of branches. Trees were treated like personal friends, always ready to play. I would find resting spots, where I could just chill, places to hide, places to play and branches to swing off inspired by Tarzan, the white monkey man. Many a time, we just sat, up there, killing boredom and doing absolutely nothing else.

There were trees in Nairobi where we lived, off Ngong Road. A big tree that had ridges on its trunk burrowed by industrious termites. It had vantage top branches with steady places to perch and hang loose. My brother and I spent a lot of time up there.

In The Land Of Braves, Carry A Big Stick

Do one brave thing today…then run like hell

Bravery is a word only associated with special forces and male marital confessions. Confessing to your wife about an illicit affair is an act of bravery. Spontaneous bravery, where random men save elderly citizens from burning buildings are rarely heard of in the city.

One has to venture into the countryside where acts of bravery are an everyday affair. Fearless men still prowl the rural thickets. Acts that would be deemed literally foolish in the city are regular fare as a result of an uneasy relationship between man and wildlife.

In the country side,  men are expected to defend their homesteads against any dangers. From lurking cattle thieves, granary plunderers, pesky night runners to wild animals. Real men sleep with weapons besides their beds because when the family faces danger, they are expected to be the first responders and usually the only, line of defense.