James Muraya Kiai

» Posted on Aug 1, 2005 in Blog, Staff Profiles | 0 comments

James Muraya Kiai

The Man who can make Hippos laugh

Muraya, as he is known to us, is our longest serving Orphanage attendant. He is now the senior keeper.

He was born in the year before Independence, 1962, in a village near the town of Nyeri, not far from here.

The father was employed by the government in the forestry department of Mount Kenya and so the family moved to the Mountain where Muraya and his 5 siblings helped their mother on their small farm. He remembers spending the little free time he had with the farm animals. He had a fascination about the wild animals of the forest that surrounded them. Elephant and Rhino and Buffalo were plentiful and a danger. Monkeys often raided their harvest but the smaller forest dwelling animals were rarely seen except for their spoor. Muraya the boy tried to trap them out of curiosity.

Florence, an older Sister to Muraya had meanwhile found employment in the Hunt household and brought the growing youngster along sometimes so he could visit the ever changing menagerie of orphaned animals Iris kept.

After completing primary school the only choice available was contract labor to earn a living. But Muraya never forgot his goal to work with animals. Finally there was an opening so he happily joined the orphanage staff as a trainee.

From the start, Muraya showed a natural ability to deal with wild animals in need. The animals themselves responded well to his efforts.

From his grandparents Muraya learned respect for the elderly and transferred his affection to “Speedy” the gentle Aldabra Tortoise and oldest animal here. She became his favorite.

“I Would like to see the Orphanage expand and willing hearts to help with contributions so we can care for more animals in need. I like my job very much; I like to make sure the animals are fed, healthy and happy.”

Well he certainly does that and far more. The affection the animals have for Muraya bears witness.

James Muraya Kiai at Mount Kenya White zebra with James African tortoise with James
Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy