My name is Mercy, a young Samburu woman from Kenya. I was born in a small village, the last of a family of six. When I was a little older we moved near the small market center of Archer's Post, in the Samburu County. I was a typical Samburu girl, collecting water and firewood for our family. I was very lucky to attend school and become an educated, modern woman. I am now a single mother, living in Wamba with many Samburu Stories to tell.
Archers Post is located between Samburu and Isiolo county border which is about 5 hours driving north from Nairobi. I grew up in the interior behind the hills surrounding this market center. Before The Samburu Project, water was scarce in this area. People used to walk for about 30 kms to a small seasonal river called the Ewaso Ngiro river. My parents would start the journey to fetch water at 6 am in the morning and come back at night. This chore was dangerous due to wild animals and bandits.
I remember one day my mom went with the neighbors in the morning. She took 2 of our donkeys to fetch water and the neighbors took three. On their way home, they were attacked by a group of hyenas. Two of our neighbors’ donkeys were killed and the rest went missing in the bush. It took us 2 days of thorough searching before we found them. My mom and the neighbors were lucky to escape the attack unharmed. This is just one of the many attacks that my villagers went through in their routine search of water.
When I became of age to go to school we moved near the center of town. I was about 5 years old. One afternoon after school, my siblings and I were home and there was no water to drink. We were very thirsty and the water place was far so we decided to take a nap to avoid feeling thirsty. Mom promised to bring water in the evening after work but I could not sleep due to the thirst. I decided to take 3 ten-liter jerry cans and walked out to go fetch water. I had no shoes on and no shirt either. My siblings were still sleeping so they did not know I had left the house. The river was 5 kms and it’s on the way to the market place to where my mom worked. When I got to the river, it was flooding since it was rainy season. People were scattered everywhere try to find a good spot to fetch water, I stood there scared and thirsty. Luckily, I met an elder man from our village who had come to pick logs from the river to sell. Every time it floods it is a good time to do this. He was shocked to see me alone there. He gave me water to drink and then took me to the market and returned me to my mom. She couldn’t believe what she was told and my siblings thought I was kidnapped. They searched for me everywhere, worried to tell our mom that I was missing. After that, we made sure to never run out of water at home. From that day, I learned all too well that water really is life and know I know that it is like gold to the Samburu people. We live in a beautiful place with a rich culture but water is always our challenge. I hope you'll follow more of my stories from Samburu.