Monday, July 7, 2014

Canadians in Ethi

Into the water in the blue pool canyon 

Team Canada not so dry 
A nice few days up at Ethi with a small group who have come from Canada for an 18 day trip. They arrived in Ethi to settle in with an orientation day around Ethi and the surrounding area. We had a tour round looking at a the Uhru flower farm which was pretty interesting and will make a separate blog post coming up. Flower farms are a large part of the economy in this area as it makes for ideal growing environment. After that we had a look at a bio gas project in one of the local chamba’s above the Ngare Ndare forest. This is a sustainable way of cooking, essentially in the garden there is a huge thick vinyl sack, kind of like a giant water bladder people have in their running and biking rucksacks. At one end there is an open funnel which they put in the cow poo in from the cattle shed and then this biodegrades in the sack creating methane gas which comes out via a hosepipe to the cooker in the kitchen. It works extremely well and reduces some of the issues in the area such as deforestation, the need for charcoal which is meant to be illegal however its everywhere. Its also a way of reducing health issues which come from cooking on fires inside the home which will be poorly ventilated creating respiratory issues for many Kenyans this ladies plot was a good example of a working small holding and may require a video in the future, it was an example which many in the west could take a lot from in terms of living in a way which supports yourself growing and keeping enough cattle to support your needs and no more. From there we had a look at a tree nursery within another chamba’s plot. They where using trees to sell and re plant within the local forest. Their are many initiatives alive and kicking in Kenya to live in a sustainable way which produces the often overlooked in Africa solutions for the future. 
We also had a good day in the forest the next day with a trip down the canyon completing all but the highest jump which is not appropriate for many school aged people. Then a walk out and trip to the tea shop in the local village for an authentic brew in a local cafe. We finished the day with a trip to the crag and a few climbs before heading home to Ethi. We also had a trip round the canopy walk way with Daniel or Legai (people here will have two names one westernised name and a tribal one in this case Kikuyu name)
Legai the ranger for the forest 
Legai is in with us on a regular basis as the Ngare Ndare ranger and gives a great walk in describing the wild life, tree types and different types of animals in the area and is a bird expert and loves to be asked about these things. I especially liked his description to me when I first met him regarding what might happen if we met a buffalo on the way ‘Mr Dan if they come for you, you will sir for certainties be fallen down unless they are choosings me’ !  
The team are still with us but heading to the local school with Maina for some desk building and I shall head back to base and see what the next line up is. 

Also something I noticed on the BBC’s front page was there had been another attack on the coast nearly 800 miles away but the top line stated that Northern Kenya was a no go zone for tourists. This is untrue all these issues are happening in the same place well north of Mombassa near the Somali border, Tana river and Garissa area which has always had these tribal issues. Although Al Shabab claim these attacks are theirs they are not all theirs and are often due to tribal issues and cattle rustling issues rather Islamist extremists. They are targeting Kenya due to the work they are doing in Somalia, something we in the UK have experience of, Ireland, Afganistan and Iraq have all come back to us with bombs on buses and tubes in the London bombings, nail bombs in Soho with the IRA etc. Its a side effect of going into other peoples countries which will ultimately create a resentment which will come back to haunt you. As this happened and people may worry in Canada at the same time there where multiple shootings in downtown Toronto, in fact in North America I would think gun crime is far more widespread than in Kenya. Its a matter of perspective and the perspective here in Laikipia (Northern Kenya) is that people are peacefully going about their business and many ‘Mzungus’ (whites) are cutting about going on safaris and climbing the mountain, just think carefully though if your planning a yachting excursion through the Somali basin….. 

Olivia enjoying the water