In the late 1970’s, the Croze family visited the Athi-Kapiti Maasailand plains for a picnic. They were so captivated by the outstanding natural beauty of the area with its’ riverine gorge that they decided to move there. In 1979, Nani started the stained glass studio which has evolved over the last thirty four years into a group of studios, all occupied by artists and craft workers, all accomplished in their respective skills, including stained glass, glass blowing, Dalle de verre, faceted glass (glass blocks), fusing, slumping, mosaic, wrought iron, ferro-cement sculpture, pottery and glass bead making.
"We had continuous threats from lions trying to eat our horses and cows and still have the odd leopard attacking the dogs and poultry.
The only tree we had when we first came to Kitengela was a large strangler fig – the sacred Mugumo tree. Under this we built a geodesic dome, which collapsed some years later from the pressure of the fig’s roots, and is now the ‘jua kali’ metal workshop, as well as recycling and now felting space.
I gave up keeping sheep after a bloodlust attack by a leopard killed twenty and left one insane. The ongoing battle with the large python has become legendary."
In the rainy season, the children had to swim across the river, with their books in plastic bags upon their heads, to get to school.
Urbanisation has meant that the location does not seem as remote as it used to be, although the Park has acted as a buffer to development and there are still no municipal services such as proper roads, rubbish collection, water, etc (but since 2012 electricity has arrived).
Now the studios employ more than 70 people, about half of whom live there, with their families, creating a small community.