Naomi Stolow photography, nature, wildlife and travel

20 March 2012

The open roads of Djibouti

This was on the way to Lac Abe Bad (Lake Abe) which is on the boarder of Djibouti and Ethiopia - hot, hostile and sulphuric.

5 March 2012

Homework - for travel magazine idea

I have to whittle these down to 5 – 15 images for my homework, which is to illustrate this story:

Last November I saw my fist wild Bengal Tiger.   It was in India in Ranthambore National Park, which spreads over 400km of forest in south-east Rajasthan.  The park is a haven for 35 of India’s declining population of wild Bengal Tigers.   I’d been 3 years running - each time going out twice a day for several days, in jeeps to try to see one with my own eyes.  Due to a strike at the UK Border Agency, I was able to stay in India an extra day, so booked ‘just one more jeep ride’ and got lucky – we found a female tiger and she stayed near us for a good 45 minutes.

That afternoon I went to visit a woman’s craft centre called Dastkar which is on the edge of the park, just outside the town.

Here I learnt that many of the villagers who lived at the edge of the forest had become ‘displaced’ when the tiger sanctuary was established. These people lost their access to wood, water and traditional farming land.  Dastkar was approached by the Ranthambore Foundation in 1989 to establish support to these people, particularly the women, by selling their handicrafts.

At first I was reluctant as craft centres aren’t normally my bag, but these women make truly beautiful things.  And I happily bought a lot from them.

These ladies (and a few men) were happy, healthy and busy and it was just great to sit with them and their children while they worked.  These amazing women are independent, with their own income and savings – which is unusual still in rural India.  The tiny children were healthy and helped out while their mums and aunties worked at sewing, printing fabrics and making clothes – all in their distinctive bright colours with their signature tiger motif.  We had a lot of fun – the language barrier was no problem -  my tiny bits of Hindi and painted henna-ed hands were the top topic, second to being completely bemused by my frizzy hair and by the fact that I was travelling solo. “Singling” was the word they used, followed by their shy giggling.