Hello Everyone! Sorry for the delay, our internet was down for most of the weekend!
Things have gone on well here this week as our project coordinator, Robinson, has returned to the island along with Richard the director of the Ekialo Kiona Center. With their vision we’ve been able to accomplish a lot towards our project goals and have gotten to meet more friends around the island that are partnered with us on the reforestation effort!
Mae and Kathryn left last Sunday to visit Berlin’s (their host mom) mother’s home in Homa Bay. They had a safe trip and a fun time meeting the family. They report that both Berlin and her mother are determined to marry them both to Kenyan men. They returned on Monday without any wedding plans.
While they were gone to Homa Bay I remained at EK on Monday and performed a radio broadcast with Nancy and Eric on the radio team and Nick Olambo, a farm specialist here at the center. We discussed the cultural value of forests with callers who offered their comments and questions. The radio team and Nick did a lot of translating to Dhluo to make sure that everything that we had to communicate was well understood. We’re about to do our next broadcast and I’m excited to do it with our whole team!
On Tuesday we met with the nearby Sena Mixed Secondary School to teach some of the theory behind the reforestation effort. This week the emphasis was the environmental importance of maintaining forests. Afterwards the teacher was excited to tell us that some of the topics we covered, like the water cycle and nitrogen cycle, also come up in the students’ coursework. They were so excited about this and the way we presented the material that they want to host us again for an extra lesson.
Wed, Thursday, and Friday were all spent setting up nurseries. On Wed we worked at Ramba with a wise old tree farmer there named Oguta, on Thursday at Ugina with the women’s group there, and on Friday at both the EK center and at Sena Secondary. A nursery essentially consists of a 8 x 5 ft bed of well tilled earth on which seeds are scattered, watered, and covered in some topsoil and mulch. These beds, in 2 weeks, will yield small seedlings that we can transfer to plastic tubing filled with dirt where they can grow protected for about 9 more months until they are planted in the wild. By this time next year, the center is on track to plant 10,000 seedlings around the island!
On Saturday our team and one of the other volunteers at the center made pancakes (with a really tasty banana sauce) for Mae and Kat’s host family. Afterwards we all attended church together (it was long) and then split up for the afternoon washing clothes and helping EK members set up their own facebooks! Sunday we took the first part of the day at a nearby beach with Adam and two students here from Penn, relaxing and chatting an unwinding from the busy week.
That’s all from this week, we’re excited for what’s ahead and stressing over how little time we have left! Only two weeks remain before we leave all our friends and this beautiful island, we avoid thinking about it!