Hot, dusty, flies, in the middle of nowhere, yet stunningly beautiful! This is The Nyae Nyae Conservancy in Namibia. A harsh, remote, totally ‘get-yourself-lost’ kind of place.
This vast land has provided for the local Ju/’ Hoasi (Bushpeople) and her wildlife for decades and still does her best today. However, during Marnus’ recent spoor tracking survey there is good and bad news.
The Bad News:
Few lions, leopards and other predators were found. On top of this, its unknown how much wild prey (antelope and smaller mammals) remain in the Nyae-Nyae Conservancy. This is bad news for both the Bushpeople, wildlife and the entire ecosystem in this wild place.
The Good News:
This dusty place comes to life with even a drop of rain, Marnus tells us. It has seemingly endless possibilities to support predator and prey, the Bushpeople and nature. This is why Marnus simply loves the Nyae-Nyae Conservancy. This land, home to the upside down tree (Baobab), is “where heaven is earth and earth is heaven. A place where you truly find your connection to Mother Nature.”
A place worth protecting, restoring and making truly wild again.
The latest news from Marnus…
After finding an acceptable site to set up camp he, along with this hired translator, are off visiting villages and interviewing Bushpeople. The objective to seek their cooperation, their insights and their buy-in to make their home thrive again. (It’s important to note here that previously Marnus has gained the support of government officials and the Nyae-Nyae Conservancy leaders.)
Many well-meaning organizations, run mainly by white westerners spend much time, effort and money in Africa. Sadly, little long term gain is made. Trout farms are abandoned after the ‘help’ and funding leave. Farm projects are stripped of their equipment and fields left fallow. All that remains are relics of western influence.
Decades ago I learned a most important principle about helping people. It was from a wise professor who said, “Start where the client is.” In other words, never assume you know what somebody needs, always explore it personally with them.
This is exactly why Russ and I are so thrilled about Marnus’ strategy to save the lions and their habitat. Although he learned much from his work in Botswana about helping lions and farmers get along. His vision here is much bigger and he needs to understand and learn from the Bushpeople to make it real.
Of course, unlike the large organizations with deep pockets Marnus is reliant on help from folks like you and us here at Nikela. A month from now we will be meeting up with Marnus in the Nyae-Nyae Conservancy. Here we will get a firsthand look into the extent of his work. Catch a glimpse of the harshness and challenges the environment presents. Bring him some cash and a few simple items from ‘home’ he might be missing most. (Ever think of what you’d miss most living deep in the bush?)