Cameleer Feature: Barabara.
Meet the team! Meet BARABARA.
Barabara's father, Nakua, was No 5 in my father's employee page. Nakua came with the farm as a young man in 1968, as a cattle herder, but rose to be Head of the boma in charge of all stock in that boma, and their herders. This involved their safety (and there were troubled times, lions and violent internal squabbles), good health and people management. Skills Barabara has inherited.
My father, Jasper (Japper) Evans, got his first camel in 1975 when Barabara was a baby. So he has grown up amongst the camels, clabbering over them, bossing them around as a knee high nipper, and, most importantly, understanding them. He is truly a camel whisperer.
The Nakua family come from an area called Nakua on the south-east shores of Lake Turkana. A series of unfortunate accidents, getting frozen in an out of the ordinary hail storm while trying to take shelter behind a rock, and having a lightening strike down the barrel of his security shotgun while it was on his back, shortened Barabara's father's life. As eldest child, it made Barabara responsible for his family's upkeep from a young age, and propelled him into the work force on the farm as a teenager. He began his career with my father - with camels, of course. And did his first camel safaris with him where he learnt what he has taught me.
A blip in his camel safari work taught him more life lessons. But he returned in 2006 as one of six hand-picked young men to accompany our 24 year old son, Jasper (Josh), who guided a three month walk up to and around Lake Turkana. The first full perambulation by camel, as a fund raiser for the Wild Camels of the Gobi Desert, accompanied by Japper's friend John Hare, and written up by him in his book "Paradise Damned". Barabara's role was keeping the camels fit. They went, and returned, with all 18 camels. This trip taught us all more management skills.
Barabara jokingly calls himself the "road man", saying he was born on the road, which gave him his name. He has lived up to being the road man in his job with us, living a lot of the time "on the road" walking the length and breadth of Kenya - Ethiopia to the coast, and Lake Victoria to the coast. When we first mentioned a potential enquiry for a walk to Mombasa, after only a few nervous plucks at his chin, Barabara said he would like to go on it.
Barabara made the comment when we (Bev and Kathy) first joined the safari saying “we could not do this without you”. We both instantly felt the same thing that moment, on the contrary, we could not do this without our beloved drovers. These men have logged many km’s with us over the years with our Tembea Na Mimi charity walks and now our mega Coast by Camel safari.
They not only guide us as we go, but they cook for us (food is amazing all on an open fire), they keep us safe, they keep us entertained, and they teach us about their customs and also of the customers of the areas that we walk in. They know when we need a laugh and they know when we need a shoulder and we trust them emphatically in everything we do.
Barabara is one of the most amazing people we have ever had the pleasure of knowing. His quick wit, love and devotion for the camels, incredible knowledge of wildlife, and deeply caring nature are just a few of his amazing qualities.
Last night there was a fairly strong risk of lions around the camp. We of course didn’t know this when we arrived but upon arrival Barabara quickly told us where our tents should go, then where the kitchen area would be, and where the camels would be sleeping. He hung bright coloured plastic sheets in the trees which baffled us all at the time. Later he sat down with us and he told us that if the lions approached they would come from down wind. The hanging plastic, camp lights and fire would scare them off so the camels would be safe. Our tents, also adorned in lights, were part of the security fence! All of this he had determined within a few minutes of our arrival. Sure enough we heard lions that night but they were quite far away obviously choosing a safer area to spend their night!!