This is me.

My photo

Scottish jeweller working on 2013/14 collections.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Kenya in Film.

Kidong Mud huts

Lake Chala

The hammocks in Mkwiro, they can be quite  lethal and fling you right off.
Daniel making rope from Sisal.
Hello, our home in Kidong.
Land based Watch, looking for Dolphins on the Channel.

Old pictures of poaching times.

Friday, 13 August 2010

When you go to Kenya...

(REPLY -Hatujambo)

Kenya has been and gone… I now write this as a penniless student in the midst of dissertation writing and just general life. But but but what an inspiration the Kenya adventure was huh? I was out of the country for a whole 6 weeks and 1 day, that one day being the bane of my life in terms of acquiring travel insurance. However it’s all worth it in the end.

I still have multiple films requiring some development, some clothes that still seem to smell just a little like ‘wet dog’, but now that I have used the wondrous hot shower I can begin to blog the adventures of my brief life in Kenya.

Life began in Mkwiro, Wasini Island and this is the place were I felt most at home. This island manages to works its magic on you even with the lack of power, the ridiculously high multitude of sand flies,the drop toilets that seem to require some skill, the daily water run and our favourite…the cold cold sea water,bucket ‘showers.’ However what it is ‘lacking,’ (if one were to think of it that way) it makes up for it in the early morning swims watching the sun rise, the stars in the sky;the Milky way, the hammocks were you can hide away and read a book or ‘Paradise,’ which always strived to supply GVI kids with a Tusker or three, sometimes even served cold. Mkwiro is were I enjoyed my marine and community work where the beginning of all adventures Kenya style began.
Community- after going through TEFL training and struggling to find a teacher face, that wasn’t laughable we were sent into the school. This felt like a daunting task but never will you find so many young adults and children striving so hard to learn. It was amazing, the young children would work so hard to come to the right answer and hear praise from their teacher when succeeding. The youngest children just enjoyed the company and would dance and sing and play. Warning: Children are like camera magnets, the smallest children have the strongest sense, it must fade as they age. They love to see their smiling faces replayed to them on the screen Always smiling.

Marine was fantastic. After more lectures and tests making sure we were both fit and prepared to handle the Marine Bardon and fully understood the workings behind the Research process we hit the boat. With the help of Shaffi our eagle eyed Captain we always found ourselves with wonderful Dolphin sightings and all this magic was happening in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Little Bardan (our ever efficient little research boat) would daily tread the waters further and further out and day after day we found ourselves jumping into the waters and snorkelling in the middle of the best coral reef and marine life in the world. Tourists travel from all over the world to go on tourist dhows off Wasini Island in hope of seeing Humpback whales, bottlenose and Humpback Dolphins. But one thing they don’t have on tap is Shaffi, and the small boat that can barely make a ripple in the water/move at any kind of speed other than slow and steady, but we wouldn’t have Bardan any other way.

What came next? Tsavo West. How can I explain this? Truthfully I can’t with a 3 hour drive from Shimoni to Mombasa and then a further 6 hour bus ride to Tsavo,one can find we made it to Kidong Village. This week entailed in a project using a eco -tourism approach. Kidong Village used to be one of the main villages linked to illegal poaching within the Tsavo National park quickly transporting goods quickly to Tanzania,were once it crosses the border it is out of Kenya’ hands. GVI are working with now ex poachers in finding an alternative income for their families. We worked on final preparations with their restaurant, The Kidong Hill tour in which you can learn many exciting new things such as the Story of Kidong,……’Kidong means Witchcraft, this is due to the Massai….’ All the locals in the village were extremely hardworking and honest, no longer using poaching as a source of income. Tsavo is the epitome of how Africa is portrayed and it even came with elephants and Zebras and all that jazz, strolling about in the wild (sometimes too close for our Escaris (night/day guards) comfort.)

Forest came last. With a certain Shling Cat (Hello sister) talking us through a rather extensive forest lecture, all day. After the surprisingly difficult forest test and lectures we hit the land of the trees and not an easy task is that . Following us accidentally coming across a swarm of Safari ants (they do bite) falling over coral rag, walking into the hundredth spider web you eventually begin to get acclimatise yourself to the forest surroundings. We worked on analysing canopy cover looking into at what rate deforestation is taking hold of Shimoni Forest, which is currently known to hold the largest troop of Angolan black and white Colobus Monkey. However at the rate of deforestation due to building and burning charcoal, their habitat is severely at risk and in turn the Colobus. We also look into butterfly species as these are key in helping analyse the health of a forest and the plants within it. I am not the best at catching butterflies nor am I the best at picking up butterflies by the thorax- I had the fear I would kill them.

But there you have the it the most brief insight into the 5 week community and conservation volunteer programme. If I had more money and more time I would most certainly go back.


I have just realised I am still in 3 times zones, my watch tells me the time in Amsterdam, my phone tells me Kenya time and good old lap top tells me of the Scottish hour. I think if I have only realised this a day after returning, bed is calling for me.
Lala Salama
(good night/sleep peaceful)