Born Free

Habari my dear friends,

Here’s the next chapter of my Kenyan adventure. And what a wonderful day it has been again!!

This morning, just after 10am I was picked up at my hotel by Stephan, one of the drivers from the Born Free Foundation. I got to sit in one of their famous Landrovers 🙂 yep, things like this do make me happy.  I am not sure how long it took us to get to the offices but I can tell you that traffic was bad, as usual. I don’t think there’s ever a non-busy period here in the city, except at night time.

When we arrived at the offices I was met by Makenna, Phoebe and Victor the Lion-man.

Victor, the lion man with a maquette of a lion-roof Boma

I’ll tell you about his nickname a bit later.  It was wonderful seeing Makenna and Phoebe again after our first meeting back in  December.

I spoiled them with some yummy Belgian Chocolates and was spoiled with some delicious Kenyan Coffee. Not the very strong one but the very nice to enjoy kind of coffee. But that was not all. I received some BFF goodies and, wow, a SIGNED copy of  ‘The Life in My Years’ by the amazing Virginia McKenna, co-founder of the BFF! Who I had the pleasure of meeting a few weeks ago at the European Parliament in Brussels. So those of you who know me will know how happy I am with this gift!

Oh I nearly forgot about my other gift 🙂 How could I? I am now the proud owner or care-taker of Boy!! He’ll be my companion for the rest of my trip. Boy, is a stuffed lion for those of you who were now wondering who the hell I was talking about.

My new travel companion

I named him Boy after the late George Adamson’s favorite lion who he rehabilitated back into the wild just like he had done before with Elsa and so many others after her.

Victor, the lion-man told me all about his current project: Lion Proof Bomas. Because of the decrease in population, people are moving into lion territory, and other animals like hyenas as well. Grazing stock are easy meals for lions so they tend to kill the life stock. Of course the people who have lost their bread winning want to avenge the kill by killing the lions, even if it was for instance a hyena that made the kill. A better way of life had to be created and by building these lion proof bomas they are doing just that. Not only are the lives of the live stock guaranteed but also that of the lion!!!

To help solve this problem, the Born Free Foundation is using funds raised from the Pride of Kenya campaign to carry out community outreach campaigns and construct lion proof bomas around Amboseli National Park.

A win-win situation for both and the people are beginning to see the positive outcome of this. At the beginning everything was funded by the BFF but slowly that is starting to change as now the people are paying parts of the costs as well. Now communities even ask for bomas to be build!!  So that is fantastic news, wouldn’t you say so?



Another program is of course the de-snaring project! Snares are being found all over the country and are a real threath to so many animals ranging from the small dikdik to the tall giraffes! Snares are placed at certain heights so when an animal passes by they get caught in it, struggle trying to get out but by doing so the snare gets tighter around their necks causing a painful death!! Sometimes they are still found alive and can be saved but more animals do die!! In my opinion the same should be done to the people causing this!!! I have seen pictures of these injuries but won’t post a link as it’s very disturbing! I am sure you can find them all over the net if you google.

This is the project where our fundraising money from last October went to!! I was very pleased to hear this and Makenna will send me some pictures of this so that I can show you as well. It’s nice to hear and see where raised money is going to! Next time I will be in Kenya I have been invited to join the BFF team on one of these searches so I’d better prepare myself for what we may find. Let’s hope we just find the snares without any animal trapped in it.

Educating children and adults in their community and at schools is another very important part of their work. Most people don’t know what they are doing wrong by doing certain things! It’s not until they are explained properly that they realize what they were doing was very wrong!! So education is such an important part of their work.

Here’s a link to all of the programs they work at here in Kenya.

No need to tell you that I too learned a lot today and I could listen to what they are doing all day long! So much to learn and so many helping hands and $$ needed.

After all this we all started to get very hungry. Time had flown by and 1am was there without us realizing it really. So we packed our stuff and went over to Marula studios/art gallery. Here you can find so many eco-friendly products that make excellent gifts!! Most of their work is made out of.. flip-flops from all over the world! You name it and they have something made out of it: bracelets, necklaces, pins, keyrings, toys, .. out of old plastic bags they make new lovely handbags. Other items that can be found there were gorgeous blankets, handbags, juwelery… I only got to browse for a little while but I am telling you if you need to buy presents you’ll have  tough time choosing!! 🙂

Not only can you shop there but you can have a very delicious meal as well and with some fresh fruit juices to go with it. I am soooo loving the mango juices!! I am afraid I’ll turn into a mango soon. No place better than here to have some! Oh and it’s also avocado season!!! Hooo 🙂

I had arranged to be picked up at around 4pm but that came way to fast!! We took some photos and had to say our goodbyes. I was sad to leave but determined to be back for sure!!

The Born Free Foundation team and me in front of their office
ltr: Phoebe, Sylvie, Victor, Makenna

Thank you so much Makenna, Phoebe, Victor and Stephan for an amazing day!! I shall not forget this!

Now I am back at the Stanley, having a double G&T at the bar before getting an early night. Tomorrow morning at 7am Justus is picking me up so we can drive to Mama Tunza to pick up Susan and 5 of her friends to go and visit the elephants at the Sheldrick Orphanage!! I’ll be sure to charge my batteries as I won’t want to miss this at all. Seeing their faces makes me smile already!

Nighty night all.


2 thoughts on “Born Free”

  1. Hello there Sylvie! It all sounds absolutely wonderful! Hope you had a great day today and I’m looking forward to reading more and seeing more photos! Just adore Boy – a very appropriate name indeed!

    1. I thought so too Sheena. Boy was the first name that came to my mind when I saw him and since he was given to me from the people from the Born Free Foundation I found it very suiting for him! He’s enjoying our trip I can tell you that much 🙂

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