Writings of the general word's body

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Conservancy

Pit stop on a game drive: Valerie Tagwira (Zimbabwean writer of 'The Uncertainty of Hope') and Kenyan Samuel Munene.

A tale told without bitterness
When the conservancy's founder Kuki Gallman visited the writers at the Mukatan retreat (this place has many names it seems, depending on your mood), she staged her own tale at dusk, sharing with participants her remarkable life story, including how her husband and son died in Kenya (the former in an accident and the latter killed by a snake). Yet she managed to construct an inspiring life's journey from it all. Participants listened with rapt attention.
The conservancy borders Kenya's Great Rift Valley and is run by Kuki Gallman (2nd left) who first came to the country in the early 70s. She is herself a writer, with 3 published books to her name; one, 'I Dreamed of Africa' was made into a film starring Kim Basinger. With Gallmann in this photograph are: writer Jude Dibia, Nick Elam of the Caine Prize and his wife, Helen.

The Caine workshop took place at the Ol Ari Nyiro Wildlife Conservancy, in Laikipia, managed by The Gallmann Memorial Foundation. The conservancy spreads over 100,000 acres of woodland with elephants, warthogs, and lions roaming free (thankfully, we never saw the lions, phew!) - not to mention snakes (which luckily I didn't see either). We wrote to the trill of all manners of exotic birds - a birdwatcher's paradise, this was. You'd come out of your room and see up to 30 impalas right outside, even zebras. Inspired.

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