I can now say “jambo” or “habari” here from Nairobi, where I arrived Friday night after a pleasant flight from Europe with KLM. I used the many hours of travelling to prepare for several meetings in Nairobi during the coming week. Unfortunately, I will not be visiting our AERP colleagues and elephant friends in Amboseli on this 10 day trip.
My first job yesterday morning was to collect our field vehicle, a strong and rustic looking (read: beaten up) ’93 Toyota Landcruiser, from a workshop in Karen, Nairobi. The 4-wheel-drive has been there since we left in the middle of January, and three months and kshs 141,740 (approx. USD 2,300) later it’s back on the road. Some of you may remember our appeal in December – sadly the bill ended up worse than we feared especially considering the substantial costs that we incurred even during our last stay. Being a car on Kenyan roads is no joke… Hopefully, the car the elephants know so well won’t give us any trouble for a long time!
One of the many other tasks I have is to work with a Kenyan web- and database-programmer who we hope will become a close collaborator of ElephantVoices. We have several databases that we want to get online in the next few months – one of which is our long-awaited elephant calls database. Kenya has a large contingent of clever IT-people, and we always try to use local partners in our work. Support for Kenyans is especially important right now. The economy and people’s livlihoods are really suffering as a consequence of the unrest and the collapse in the tourism industry following the December 27th election.
We are very grateful for any support toward our use of Kenyan programming capacity to get our elephant calls database online – so that you all can listen to elephant sounds and learn more about how they communicate. While I admittedly enjoy computer-work and html-coding, the efficiency of ElephantVoices depends on our ability to have high focus on the many elephant-related issues lined up. ElephantVoices and WildlifeDirect are only two of many channels through which we are trying to reach out.
Thank you for following our work!