• Kahindo Karuga

What of the North?

We've all seen the images.

Heartbreaking moments captured by international reporters of children so starved, clutching to their parents so desperately.

A thirsty land, quenched by neither water nor blood, but seemingly cursed by famine and war.

Northern Kenya.

How much of her plight is borne of nature and how much more of it is manufactured by man is subject to debate.

What is of importance is that we choose to not be ignorant of the reality that exists.

I've had trouble reconciling two realities.

One, that Africa is a rich land, blessed in landscapes and a warm people.

The second, that Africa faces unique challenges that stunt her growth and impede her capability to support her people.

Which of these realities should we portray to the world? What should we document?

Should there be anger if one of either realities is perpetuated more than the other?

I ponder upon these questions as we drive through the impressive Samburu National Reserve in search of the endangered Grevy Zebra, unique to this part of the country.

The dusty mountains are suddenly littered with a herd of elephants as they move towards a water source. We find ourselves caught up in them. Here, in the middle of this family of jumbos, there is peace. There is peace in watching them feed off the land. There is peace in watching them rub their trunks on to each other with affection. There is peace in watching them provide protection to their little ones, huddling them in the middle and away from the dangers of the periphery. There is peace in watching them live oblivious to their perilous existence in our natural world, but there is heartbreak in imagining their disappearance.

Here, in the Samburu National Reserve, there is peace in simply watching our natural world exist defiantly.

So how am I to reconcile these realities?

Having been surrounded by as much beauty as our land can afford, how then am I then to reconcile that this same land bears the tears of mothers who have lost their sons and daughters to bloodshed and hunger?

It is now dusk and the sun is setting. I peer through the back window as we drive along the Isiolo-Moyale road, snaking through the Northern Frontier. The sky is a wonder of royal orange in this sunset display and as the dusty wheels of our vehicle keep on turning, so does time. I watch the shades of orange slowly disappear behind the mountains, turning the sky in to a fantastic dark sea of stars.

This is enough for me now.

#sanctuary #sanaawanderlust #sanaastory #samburu #photography #conservation

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