At Sapache it’s a moonlit night as we sit around the dying embers of tonight’s fire with Dipa and his group of Morane (age set warriors) and talk about elephants. “You never chase an elephant away from your village,” says Dipa. “It’s a blessing and we even sprinkle one of our most treasured items – milk – around the boma as a blessing.” Lumbaye Lenguru, himself a Samburu who’s travelled with us for more than 20 years goes on and tell us that you can’t have any traditional ceremony without the sprinkling of milk and the burning of elephant dung – some from an old elephant and some from a calf. By tradition Samburu women wear colorful ornate beaded necklaces (lkiripa) and when scientists collared some lephants in he nearby Samburu national reserve they were appalled by the bland nature of these collars. A large group of the women went to the research station and insisted that they would be allowed to bead these radio collars so as to beautify their elephants.
In Samburu oral history it is believed that the elephant originated as a Samburu woman who became an elephant. That’s why, when an elephant visits, it is treated with great respect like a beloved relative . Recently when 5 elephants were poached near the park, the Samburu rescued the calves and cared for them until they were taken to the Daphne Shedrick Orphanage. And that’s why, with Dipa, Naomi, Tina and the Sepache community we launch the 4×4 Mega World supported elephant art project close to the unfenced boundary of the park, where it counts most. Will keep you posted!