Part of our ongoing Scout Residency, Memory Dam is a collection of true stories from the High Desert’s very own, Annelies Kuiper. Annelies is of Dutch descent, born in Kenya, eight years before Kenya received its independence. With no rights to Kenyan citizenship, Annelies made the difficult decision to leave. After traveling extensively, including a 5,000-mile trip through Europe on a 10-speed bicycle, Annelies found work with a large hotel chain, which eventually brought her to ‘romantic’ Palm Springs in 1982.
Eleven years later after a bitter divorce, Annelies wanted to ‘fall off the planet’ and a friend recommended she move to the Mojave. Heartbroken and disillusioned she moved to north Joshua Tree; a place where she could scream as loud as she wanted and no one would call the police. Forced to trust herself and her abilities: chopping wood, hauling water, learning how to live off the grid with unreliable transportation, while protecting herself and her family, Annelies wrote about these experiences along the way.
Launched in 2012, the Scout Residency program is dedicated to learning about the people and places that make up our diverse and ever-evolving high desert community. Unlike many residencies where an outside artist is brought in to a new environment to create a new work, the Scout program is all about learning more about the people and places that already exist in the community. Our scouts have been both visiting residents and long time locals who we feel have the ability to offer deeper insight into these people and places. The Scout book series, written by our scouts, document their experiences and personal histories in the high desert.