The 41-year-old Kenyan pea farmer and conservationist Patrick Mwalua is the founder of Tsavo Volunteers, a small but passionate operation that delivers water to areas of southern Kenya, where rainfall is sparse and detrimental to animals in the area’s Tsavo West National Park.
Mwalua personally drives his water truck hundreds of kilometres every week, delivering over 10 000 litres of water to the park’s dry watering holes. Despite being wild, elephants, buck and zebras recognise the sound of his truck approaching, and almost always wait patiently at the watering holes for his delivery.In an interview with the environmental website The Dodo, Mwalua says “(Tsavo isn’t) really receiving rain the way we used to… [since June last year] there has been no rain [at all]. So I started giving animals water because I thought [that] if I don’t, they will die.”
The animals are forced to spend much needed energy travelling across the area to find active watering holes, often encountering violent confrontations with predators. Of particular concern for Mwalua, are the elephants, travelling into areas where they are more susceptible to poaching: “Elephants are becoming endangered and we need to save the ones we have left by providing water for them until the drought peril is over.”
Inspired by interest from overseas tourists and conservationists, Mwalua has now taken his project worldwide, starting a Go Fund Me Page to help finance the costs of transporting the water and expanding the conservation awareness programmes he offers to schools in the Tsavo area. Using the power of online social media, Mwalua interacts with thousands of contributors from across the globe, keeping them informed of the progress of the project.