In May of 2011, Chris Majors, my partner in DROP BY DROP PHOTO, and I found out that we had received an Adobe Foundation Grant to go to Samburu in Kenya, with the gracious sponsorship of Blue Planet Network and The Samburu Project. We were invited to accompany founder and director of The Samburu Project, Kristen Kosinski, for her annual trip to this remote part of Kenya to document the work that her organization is doing there to drill wells and bring water to people who often are walking ten kilometers a day just to bring back enough water for the most basic needs of life. Usually this water is not clean and people are continually sick with dysentery and more serious illnesses. The Samburu Project has now installed 40 wells, serving over 40,000 people, changing lives in ways heretofore unforeseen.
This exhibition and catalog are a chronicle of some of the wonderful people I met along the way while working together with Chris and Kristen to bring the story of these remarkable people to a larger world.
WALKING FOR WATER
It is most often young girls and women who do the carrying of water. They sometimes get up hours before dawn and walk through dangerous areas, prey to elephants and unfriendly neighbors, carrying 20-liter jerry cans on their backs – weighing more than they do. The long walk can end at a dry riverbed such as this one at Upper Margwe. This water hole was the only source of water for nearly a thousand people before The Samburu Project installed their new well.
Having a well in place means that it is no longer necessary to follow a nomadic lifestyle. With ready water, gardens are springing up around the new wells, such as this one at Millimani above and Laga Club on the facing page.
For the first time, people are able to wash their hands, their clothes and their bodies during the dry season (several months.) When you are walking five to ten kilometers a day carrying 20-30 liters of water, you cannot afford to use it for anything but the most necessary life sustaining tasks.