1 of 11
Click ‘Next’ to View Gallery
His name is Patrick Kilonzo Mwalua, and he’s just an ordinary person, like you. He saw a drought emergency in his native Kenya. It threatened – it threatens – the lives of some of the world’s most magnificent animals.
And he took action. This is the story of a man who does what little he can do to make a difference. It turns out that the difference he makes isn’t so little after all.
One Man, One Truck
Patrick Kilonzo Mwalua has a well-earned nickname. He’s known across his native Kenya as ‘The Water Man.’ Now his fame is spreading worldwide.
Every hero needs a crisis. Patrick is no exception. In this case, the crisis is a drought.
Patrick works as a pea farmer. But his village is not so remote that he can’t pay attention to world events. One of the things he noticed was the rising concern over global warming.
Patrick saw the worldwide crisis and naturally made the connection to drought conditions in Kenya’s Tsavo West National Park. The park is home to many of Africa’s most iconic wild animals. You’ve seen the nature shows.
Elephants. Zebras. Antelope.
The Elephants Won’t Forget
Patrick sees the situation as dangerous. ‘There is completely no water, so the animals are depending on humans. If we don’t help them, they will die.’
These creatures are already endangered across the Continent. Poaching is a huge problem. So is cutting the forest in which they live due to human encroachment.
The drought was simply one threat too many. ‘We aren’t really receiving rain the way we used to. So I started giving animals water.’
Patrick drives hours every day to reach the preserve. His truck carries 3,000 gallons of water. Once there, he fills the animals’ watering holes.
Arrivals From Afar
Sometimes they are already dried up completely upon his arrival. In the desert heat, it doesn’t take long for a large animal to begin suffering dehydration. The animals’ delight in Patrick’s arrival is palpable.
The elephants, antelope, zebras and buffalo come out to say ‘hello’ to their new friend. ‘Last night, I found 500 buffalo waiting at the water hole. When I arrived they could smell the water.’
By now, Patrick is a regular part of their lives. ‘They started drinking water while I was standing there. They get so excited.’
Perhaps, one day, the rains will return. Perhaps fortune will smile, and this will happen despite the larger problem of global climate change. Until then, the creatures we’ve all grown up admiring on our TV screens have Patrick to defend them.
How About A Nightcap?
Mwalua’s compassionate stand for wildlife has begun to be known across the globe. Several American women were moved enough to establish a GoFundMe page to help fund his work. He’s just one man, but an effort such as theirs will help him accomplish still more.
These women are an example of what can be accomplished by people who care. When we link arms, great things can be accomplished. Sometimes, those great things can be small acts, but they add up.
Making A Difference
There are several ‘takeaways’ from this story. One of these, of course, is global warming itself. There’s no guarantee it can be stopped, even if we – humanity – are the root of the problem.
If it can be stopped, there’s no guarantee it can be stopped in time to save endangered species. Or Sri Lanka. Or New York City.
…And Off For Another Load
But that’s no reason not to try. Many of us, living in the developed world, have access to levers of influence one lone Kenyan doesn’t. Maybe it’s time to start pulling those levers.
Beyond that? Look around. See what needs to be done, right where you live.
Be like Patrick.