We had an amazing day yesterday (16 June 2012), warmly welcomed by the teachers and children at Endoinyo Erinka Primary School. This is a boarding school with 525 pupils aging from 2-18 years old at the heart of a small community about an hours drive north of Mara Plains Camp in a stunningly beautiful area. The school was built in part by the Olare Orok Conservancy Trust, and aspires to become ‘a school of excellence’. Judging by the enthusiasm and passion that we witnessed yesterday this school and the students are set to excel at whatever they pour their hearts into.
Posters and paintings on wild animals, trees and conservation by children in years 1-8
300 pupils sang to welcome a team of Mara Plains guides, gardeners and managers to their school for a day focusing solely on conservation of the land that these children are set to one day inherit. Responsibility will ultimately fall to them to protect the Masai Mara ecosystem and it’s biodiversity, and so it is of utmost importance that they love and defend it now for the sake of their future and that of their children and their culture.
The day kicked off with the planting of 180 saplings.
The first tree in the ground…
…and then fun of getting dirty and helping new life grow spread like wild fire!
There are now two separate nurseries, one for sustainable harvesting of firewood for the school canteen and fence posts, and the other of only indigenous species, the latter of which will hopefully expand over time into a business run solely by the students to raise money for projects of their choice.
Each sapling was planted by one child who then attached their name to it’s stem. There will be prizes after six months for all of the children who keep their tree alive and healthy.
Daniel Koya explaining to eager ears about how special elephants are how desperately they need protecting
The children listened very attentively to Daniel, one of the Mara Plains guides, who himself attended Endoinyo Erinka Primary as a boy. Daniel has grown up to be a true warrior of the environment and a highly respected and well-known member of this community, so he is the ideal person to front this campaign and to speak to the children in Maa, their first language, about the benefits and importance of conservation in the area.
Our hope is that many of these children may have been encouraged this day to grow up safeguarding their heritage lands and all of the creatures and plants therein for the benefit of many generations to come.
Lion researcher Dominic Sakat talking about the crucial role predators play in the circle of life in the Mara
After the saplings had been planted, labeled and watered everyone gathered for an incredible performance by the school dance team in honor of Environment Day.
Their moves, chanting, jewellery and outfits were spell binding and everybody present felt extremely privileged to have witnessed the team’s skills first hand.
The Endoinyo Erinka dance team will be competing at the end of this month at national level in Narok town and we are hoping to be there to cheer them all the way. We wish for them every success.
The final event of the day was a last minute addition and one that will be paraded through Africa. Richard, manager of Mara Plains, let the kids in the Environment Club spray paint their Left Hand Green all over his Land Rover! The children were all over the moon to be allowed to decorate this vehicle and we hope that their hand prints will be the first of many such declarations of commitment to conservation across the continent.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank headmaster Willy Loigero and all of the teachers, patrons, volunteers and pupils at Endoinyo Erinka Primary for their participation in this fantastic day and for their dedication to carry the work forward. We hope that this will be the first of many seminars and workshops at this school focusing on conservation of the Masai Mara by and for the Maasai.
With very best wishes,
Lorna, Richard and all the team at Mara Plains
Photographs by Lorna Buchanan-Jardine
Tags: community, Daniel Koya, Dereck and Beverly Joubert, Endoinyo Erinka Primary school, Great Plains Conservation, June 16th 2012, Kenyan Luxury Safari, Maasai, Mara Plains camp, Masai Mara Reserve, Narok, Olare Orok Conservancy Trust, Richard Pye, The Last Lions, World Environment Day
This entry was posted on Sunday, June 17th, 2012 at 6:19 pm
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