We had traveled from Nairobi to Marsabit by road, snaking through the busy Nairobi Thika highway, to Nanyuki, Isiolo and finally to our destination, Intrepids Hotel where we were to be hosted. It was a long and tiring journey indeed, having left Nairobi very early in the morning at 5.30 a.mand getting to the hotel at 6.15 pm
This training and distribution of water filters were sponsored by friends from the University of Ohio, USA. Some of them had been to Kenya for a holiday and they saw the locals directly use water from River Ewaso Nyiro for drinking and cooking. They got more concerned when they visited the surrounding manyattas (villages) and discovered that there was a high prevalence of water-borne diseases especially on children below five years. This prompted them to fundraise and to purchase water filtration systems for the villagers. Our mission during this trip was to give education on water and hygiene, train on the proper use of the water filters and to deliver the water filters to the Samburu people. The whole process was being coordinated by Tilas who is a local, a friend to the sponsors and works as a Naturalist at the hotel.
Tilas is one person who makes everything seem easy and possible through his easy talk, ever-smiling face and good storytelling ability. His genuine concern for the welfare of the people of his Samburu community is touching in many ways and was instrumental in making this water filter project possible. Tilas made our stay very memorable with his stories. One, in particular, was his journey of education and college and how tough it was to get to where he was. Coming from a minority community, people rarely recognized them and at one time in college someone was asked how many people they were in their hostel to which a response was given that they were ten students and a Samburu; a Samburu being a non-entity in this case.
Unlike college, this time the water filters were being received by the people of Samburu. Thanks to the efforts of Tilas and good-intentioned friends from Ohio University.