Lari is a watchman at Sadhana Forest Kenya (SFK). Not only does he look out for the campus and project, but he also contributes greatly to the overall daily running of activities. He says it's a very good job and he loves working at SFK. It's somewhere he can help out in many different ways.
Lari lives with his family, both older and younger generations, next door to the SFK land. He has five brothers and three sisters and they all grew up in the same homestead where the family still resides. Like his two older brothers, he started school around the age of seven or eight years old. However, he was only able to attend for two years. To allow for the older children to continue attending school, Lari dropped out to help with the family's cattle, sheep, and goats. This was the beginning of a very rough time for the family. For a number of years there were extreme droughts and the animals became sick. Lari's father had to travel farther and farther away to find suitable grazing, and had to hire other people to help with his herds. When Lari was 11 years old, his father died. Eventually, all of their animals became sick and died as well. Animals represent Samburu families’ wealth and livelihood. So, without any animals, the family was ruined. Lari and his two older brothers moved to Nairobi to find work in order to provide for the family. As soon as they had saved enough money, they would be able to buy a few sheep and cows to begin to recover.
During a particularly harsh drought, Lari visited home and became very close friends with the man he was herding livestock with. The difficult experience connected them so deeply that, at the end of their time together, the friend offered Lari his niece to marry. Everyone was pleased with the arrangement and worked together to prepare for the wedding. Lari and his wife now have three children of their own.
Recently, we sat down with Lari to ask him about his experiences with Sadhana Forest and what it means to him.
What is a typical day for you here?
In the morning, I wake up knowing exactly what to do. I come straight to Sadhana Forest to water trees. After breakfast, I often prepare lunch for the team of volunteers. In the afternoon, I am involved in a variety of activities - different every day. Sometimes I plant trees or take care of the nurseries. Other times I help around the campus with construction and repairs.
What has Sadhana Forest Kenya changed about your life?
When I worked in Nairobi, I was very far away from my family. Now I live right next door to where I work. Not only I am making more money than I made at my previous job, but I am also at home more often to care for my family. I can manage how the money is spent and I can see for myself that my family is fed and well taken care of. I am so happy that I have enough food to share. Other people in the community who need food can come to my home and eat. SFK has made a huge improvement in my life. Before, my elderly mother and my sisters had to walk very far to fetch water, and the water they could access was from the river and dirty. Now my family and I have constant access to clean water from Sadhana Forest Kenya's bore hole, right next door, like the rest of the local community. We have also received trees which will bear food for generations to come, so my family does not have to experience a crisis whenever drought comes. Finally my family can relax a little and they don't all have to work so hard.
I am sending this as a part of a newsletter that will be read by many people all around the world; is there anything that you would like to say to them/if you could send any message around the world, what would it be?
Come to Sadhana Forest Kenya! SFK has made my life so much easier and I wish that everyone in the community and surrounding region can benefit the same way. I know that for this to happen, Sadhana Forest Kenya needs support. So I ask for people to please assist in whatever way they can so that the Samburu people can have a little bit of an easier life. The more support given to Sadhana Forest Kenya, the more of my people will have clean water and trees to grow food for their future.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
The whole community now knows what it means to be trained. Everyone knows about how to grow a tree. We all have clean water to drink, to cook with, and to wash ourselves. So if Sadhana can get even more assistance, life will change for everyone here. Life won't be so difficult.
Currently, we have 9 volunteers living on-site at Sadhana Forest Kenya in Samburu County and we are working hard to construct the Animal Sanctuary. Look for our next report for a detailed update! We truly appreciate the support from the Global Giving community. If you are interested in providing us further feedback concerning our project, finding out more about our activities or area of operation, or would like to volunteer with us, please contact us here or email us directly at email@example.com.
Ashe Oleng! (Thank you very much in Kisamburu)