Keepers' Diaries, September 2022

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Ithumba Reintegration Unit

At the beginning of the month, Larro stole the show. She has become very clever at stealing extra milk bottles and is eager to put her skills to the test. On the first of the month, the little scoundrel waited until the Keepers were busy talking and feeding another group, then ran up from behind and snatched an extra bottle!

She did the same thing the following day, but by the third day, the Keepers made sure Larro didn’t outwit them again. True to form, she tried sneaking around after finishing her bottles, but the Keepers were watching her every move. When she realised she was caught in the act, Larro pretended she was totally innocent and sauntered off towards the water trough, no doubt planning on how to get the better of the Keepers the next time around!

There was a lot of mischief to go around this month. 11-year-old Orwa, who has been weaned off milk for some time now, suddenly decided to go back in time. When some of the older dependent orphans were receiving their milk, he slipped in and snatched an empty milk bottle. He proceeded to give the Keepers the runaround, refusing to hand his bottle over until the last possible moment.

For a long time, Jotto has avoided tackling his seniors, perhaps afraid to be out-matched. However, it seems that he is ready to test himself! This month, he had standing morning sparring matches with Ndiwa, Mapia, and Sapalan. Jotto has realised that the world is full of challenges and this is a good way to tackle challenges head-on.

Naboishu leads the herd out most mornings. On a few occasions, there weren’t any ex-orphans congregating outside the stockades. This made all the dependent orphans very happy, because they didn’t have to tip-toe around their elders. 

Esampu’s rivalry with the buffalo of Tsavo continues. One day, a buffalo appeared outside the stockades for a drink. Esampu and a clique tiptoed behind the buffalo, looking as if she wanted to bite his tail! The buffalo sensed danger however and turned to face the orphans. When he realised that Esampu meant business, the buffalo decided to scarper. 

The next day, Esampu actually went in search of the thirsty buffalo. Her chorus of trumpets indicated that she had located him. Malima, Malkia, Ndiwa, and Maramoja decided to run and check on Esampu, but met her in hot pursuit of the buffalo. The boys didn't bother joining in; they seemed to think it was a waste of time and energy.

On 9th September, a member of our extended family showed up in distress. Ex-orphan Sunyei’s baby, Saba, arrived at the stockades with a snare loosely looped around her hind leg. The Keepers tried to remove it, but her nannies were very aggressive.

They had a breakthrough two days later. The Keepers managed to separate Sunyei and Saba from the main ex-orphan herd, so they could remove the snare from little Saba’s leg. Saba’s older sister, Siku, tried to block the Keepers, but they persevered. Fortunately, the snare hadn't done much damage and they were able to remove it without much drama. Sunyei seemed to understand that the Keepers were trying to help her youngest baby and didn’t resist at all. 

Malkia continues to be an aspiring nanny. One day, when the orphans were joined by Nasalot and Lualeni’s families, she boldly made a play to care for baby Noah. Noah’s big brother, Nusu, objected to this, and tried to block Malkia from approaching. Their argument escalated into a fight, which only ended when Makena separated them. Makena has been such a wonderful nanny after experiencing her own loss last year, and we know she will be an excellent mother when her time comes again.

Luckily, Malkia knows she can always look after Mutara’s baby, Mambo. She worked very hard to earn this right, as Mutara’s friends are very possessive and it took a long time for them to accept the younger girl as a junior nanny. Now, she is a little possessive herself! One morning, Malkia, Mteto and Maramoja babysat Mambo as they waited for lucerne. Malkia wanted to have Mambo all to herself, but Mteto would hear none of that, so she squeezed herself in between the pair.

The Keepers call Karisa their timekeeper. He likes to spend his days with ex-orphans, but returns each night to sleep with the dependent orphans. Like clockwork, he arrives at the stockades each evening a few minutes before the dependent herd. He then waits for his younger friends, so they can walk into the stockades together. The reintegration process for each orphan is always different, and Karisa is not ready to give up his bedroom!

In July, Kithaka returned to Ithumba with a sprained leg, which will heal with time. Much to our surprise, given his mischievous temperament, he has been a model patient. In fact, he seems to be thoroughly enjoying his sojourn at ‘Hotel Ithumba.’ During the day, he takes short strolls around the compound, testing his mobility but never overtaxing himself. At night, he sees himself into his stockade, without any encouragement from the Keepers. He showed excellent judgement by coming home to convalesce, as this would be a difficult injury to contend with during a drought. For as long as he needs it, we will support him with secure accommodations, plenty of food and water, and on-demand veterinary care. 

The month closed with Ambo back to his usual tricks. He hadn’t attempted a lucerne heist for awhile, but apparently he decided it was time to begin again. Immediately after leaving his stockade, Ambo turned right and ambled over to the lucerne store. Much to his delight, the door was open and he was able to go inside and help himself. The Keepers discovered him with a mouthful of lucerne, looking very pleased with himself.

September 2022 day to day

01 Sep

Ex-orphans Kinna, Kama, Kaia, Wendi, Wema, Wiva, Nasalot, Nusu, Ithumbah, Iman, Kilabasi, Kofi, Makireti, Ishanga, Makena and Vuria joined the orphans for lucerne in the morning. Ndiwa assigned herself the role of sole nanny to Iman. Mapia had a disagreement with Nusu and they decided to settle their differences through pushing each other. Luckily, Makena was close by and punished both boys by pushing them away, as they clearly had no respect for their seniors. 

Later in the morning, Pare decided to engage Jotto in a pushing game that lasted for quite some time. Enkikwe briefly played with Kamok while Sapalan settled to dig up roots of a certain shrub. Later in the day, Ambo came across a baobab tree that had suffered the severe consequences of the drought. The tree had been stripped of much of its bark; Ambo tried to pull some off that had been left hanging by the wild elephants who had been eating it.

When the orphans went to the mud bath the sun felt very hot. Larro caused a bit of drama when she quickly bent down and grabbed another bottle of milk soon after finishing her share! The Keepers shouted at her to drop the bottle, which she duly did, but she ended up spilling half the contents as a result. 

All the orphans wanted to wallow today as it was so hot. Challa and his wild friend briefly joined the orphans to wallow too. After having enough, the orphans went to dry off using the soil on the roadside, and later returned to browsing. The afternoon was a quiet one and the orphans concentrated on browsing throughout the rest of the day.

Ithumbah with Iman