It’s great to be back home! I went to the USA to have shoulder surgery – which caused an unexpected delay in my return home. I spent an unanticipated, but extremely beneficial 11 months in the USA, and a week in the UK before returning home – where I arrived almost three weeks ago. I am deeply grateful to my wonderful friends who housed and took care of me there for all of this time!
While in the UK, we welcomed two new Trustees to our Board! Christian delValle is a very experienced banker who now runs a REDD carbon credit fund and has a Masters Degree in Conservation. Caroline Lockwood spent time with me in Kenya in 2010. She also has a Masters Degree in Conservation. They have already proven to be a great addition!
During my 11 months in the USA, we gained great momentum with Amara, and have added some very impactful supporters. We held an Amara get together at Hathaway’s Hideaway in Ann Arbor and were thrilled with the turnout! Huge supporters of Amara, and new members of the USA Board include John Carver, a committed conservationist and very successful entrepreneur; Jason Magee who has encouraged and supported us even before its inception; and Mike Griffin, who is a creative genius. With these people on our team, we have great potential for success!
Upon returning home – I realized that being away for 11 months was more work than anticipated, especially since I wasn’t prepared for being away that long! The house is under construction for renovations and an addition, vehicles needed to be worked on, and everything was covered in mold! Here in the foothills of the Ngong Hills, when it rains it rains hard and walls are quite porous – loaded with big bottles of vinegar we are attacking it the best we can!
It’s simply great to be back in Kenya – to meet up with the people in the local shops – some were worried I was gone forever and some didn’t realize how long I was away, funny how that works! Here I’m often called “Mama Amara” – I love this, because it shows that Amara is known by many. Certain people here really struggle with the name Lori anyway and it comes out Moli or Roli. Sabra is also a challenge, and some pronounce it Sabla or Samba.
We were able to have a quick trip down to Mbulia to attend a meeting with the Group Ranch Committee and KWS, hosted by the conservancy/lodge company New African Territories. Agreements were made about how to move forward getting the squatters to leave and securing the land for wildlife.
It was so hot in Tsavo… but it felt like home. Familiar red dusty roads, people I know… and changes to be seen – electricity is slowly coming to some of the remote communities we have worked in for years, kids are growing up, and populations growing.
It’s simply great to be back in Kenya. It’s exciting it have Sabra Bander here working with us, and we are looking forward to upcoming visits from some of our key supporters from the USA and UK.
Mostly, I am excited to get back to work where I KNOW what we do matters.
Looking forward to keeping you posted through our blog!