I’m with the band


Rebecca Sargent, International Intern

Date Published

There was a lot of excitement amongst the interns this week when we heard that a rock band was coming to stay in camp! Or at least half a rock band. And it didn’t even matter that we hadn’t heard of this particular band before; we have now all definitely been converted into fangirls.

Hands Like Houses are an Australian band who have had successful tours both in Australia and internationally in the UK and the US. They have a keen interest in animal welfare and conservation and are interested in finding a charity to support. So before deciding on STE as their project they wanted to come and visit to see what we were all about.

Prior to their arrival we thought we ought to Google them and listen to some of their music and we were very impressed and thankful that we all liked it! We wondered however whether they might be offended that no one in camp knew them and were just generally nervous about what they would be like. But we needn’t have worried. As Jerenimo, Daud and I pulled up in Archers we could not have met a nicer group of guys. Three of the band members had come to visit, Matt, Joel and Alex, along with Mattâ??s brother Chris who lives in Nairobi. We headed back to camp, taking the scenic route along the river so the guys could get their first glimpse of some elephants.

Introducing Elephants

We quickly came upon the Biblical Towns, a perfect introduction for them as their gigantic matriarch Babylon is such a chilled elephant and the group barely moved as we drove up. No one could believe how close we were able to get. Cue Jerenimo and myself explaining about how unique and special Samburu’s elephants are in terms of their calm reaction to vehicles and how this allows us to conduct such brilliant behavioural research. After spending a few minutes with the family we headed on and quickly came across a sight which not even I had seen before! A lioness on a kill. As she ripped into the warthog and its intestines spilled out the band shuddered and exclaimed that this was reinforcing their vegetarian habits!

Back in camp Gilbert spent the afternoon explaining to them all about the work of STE, giving them a tour of camp and showing them their living quarters. Like me when I first arrived they were surprised by how spacious the tents were, saying they were more like hotel rooms and not what they had expected when they were told they would be camping.

After an evening game drive with much more opportunity for elephant watching, everyone returned to camp to find a fire blazing and dinner on the table. We spent an enjoyable evening chatting around the campfire and the next morning there was time for one more quick drive. Jerenimo and I took them out for some long term monitoring but unfortunately this time there were few elephants around. Although we did run into run into the Hardwoods, the Artists and the Spices.

We were all very disappointed that they could not stay longer as they were lots of fun to have around. But after returning from LTM they loaded up the car and set off back to Nairobi. Although not before kindly handing out some of their t-shirts as a thank you for letting them stay. This unexpected gift was met with a lot of enthusiasm by their new fans and we waved them off hoping that they had thoroughly enjoyed their experience of staying in our research camp and were impressed by the work of STE.