This morning, I dressed up! Showered and dressed in my smartest cotton long trousers, I combed my hair and put on a little face powder and mascara. It was a good thing I did, as you never know what the day might bring, and my day certainly changed quickly!
Having discussed my ideas with the owners of Island Camp in a private chat a week or so ago, I left home and headed for our nearest neighbor luxury camp, Tumbili Cliff Lodge. From there, I called briefly at Roberts Camp, and then met with the leadership of the Baringo Boating Guides & Excursions Self-Help Group. At each place, I announced my intention to launch a campaign to clean up Kampi ya Samaki, and at each place I was warmly welcomed and met with a strong statement of support.
The last stop of the morning was Soi Safari Lodge, and guess what? There was a major meeting going on there to discuss all matters relative to tourism in Kampi ya Samaki!
The assistant manager met me in the lobby and expressed surprise that I had not been invited to the meeting. I reassured him there was no particular reason why I should have been invited, as I am not engaged in business within the community, but that I had stopped in to discuss the problem of trash with the hotel manager. The next thing I knew, I was introducing myself to the assembly of about thirty-five officials and business owners, and presenting for the first time in a formal setting my personal agenda to clean up Kampi ya Samaki. I was publicly talking trash!!
The people present at the meeting are the primary stakeholders in the development of the entire area. I felt humbled to be among them, having only a resident’s concerns without major commitment of resources in the community. Nevertheless, it was clear that I could bring to that forum a somewhat different but equally valid perspective – that, plus my willingness to get involved and take action!
The issues in the community are many, and they are certainly not limited to cleaning up the rubbish. Topics like road development, provision of safe drinking water (that would be a huge help in reducing the number of plastic bottles that end up in the bushes), safety on and around the lake while respecting resident wildlife, community health and security are all on the general agenda.
It’s reassuring to know that the important figures in the community are both well-informed and of like mind that these issues must be addressed. If I’m talking trash, at least I’m not alone! And it was most encouraging that one official commented on the potential to turn our efforts to clean up the community into a model experiment that could, if successful, be replicated elsewhere in the country – echoing my private thoughts, exactly!!
Next step? To do more research, find out what are the options for dealing with the trash problem, then to sit down with my newly-discovered political friends and business neighbors and hammer out a plan of action.
Wish us all good luck; we are going to need that – and more . . .