Olng’arua means ‘marsh’ in the Maa language. The school has that name because it is beside a marsh area that is fed by a spring (hence our year round green football field). The marsh is very important to the local people, who rely on it for water and grazing in the long dry season. It is equally important to the wildlife. The wildlife come into the marsh at night when the people and livestock have gone.
At this time, when the drought is beginning to bite hard, the wildlife have started to come into the marsh early, during daylight hours. We have been privileged to watch elephants, zebra (both common and the endangered Grevy’s zebra), warthogs, giraffe, and gazelles as they come to feed. We also occasionally get to see some of the predators that feed on them, african wild dogs, hyena and leopard.
For the last two years the water coming into the marsh has dried up altogether during the long dry season. This is a very worrying sign. If this valuable resource is not protected people and wildlife will both suffer and life here, in this increasingly dry and overgrazed land, many become untenable.