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Village Life

Overview

Daily life in a typical Kenyan village comprises of so much more than we can envisage. Daily routine is filled with nuances and intricacies that hold so much to learn from in terms of culture, tradition and social systems both about the community and ourselves. School teams participating in a typical village day will learn to appreciate the daily hardships and thrills of a different environment, culture and society and learn to value diversity and difference. Moreover, participation in village life will encourage cultural and social learning exchange adding value to the lives of both parties.

Accompanied by CWE Staff, teams actively participate in hands-on activities where their efforts are clearly visible. Opportunities to highlight the importance of culture and tradition in the sustainable preservation of local communities and their environment will be a key theme. In addition, the student programme will provide a much needed foundation for communities to initiate alternative income generation activities which will help to reduce unsustainable bushmeat trade and charcoal production. Village days closely link up with the Environmental and Wildlife activities in highlighting the importance of interdependence and sustainable biodiversity conservation.

Purpose

To increase visitor awareness of social, cultural and traditional life and its link to the natural environment.

Objectives

  • To gain a basic understanding of typical rural life in Kenya
  • To appreciate differences in culture, society and tradition with the intent of building cultural bridges.
  • To learn simple and necessary rural life skills.
  • To facilitate the introduction of alternative income generation activities for communities.
  • To link with link and compliment CWE Activities.

Activities

There are two different target villages within the Sagala region where different but related full day activities will take place. Each village day will have an overlying focus. Below is an overview:

Kajire Village – Conservation for life
Kajire is located 5Kms away from Sagala lodge on the slopes of the Taita Hills. The Taita people in this village are predominantly subsistence farmers. However, scarce water supply and perennial raiding of crops by wildlife has decreased agriculture potential. Few people have formal employment within the surrounding tourism sector thus many are dependant on the scarce natural resources for sustenance.

Kajire eco-tourism Community Group is concerned with preserving cultural and environmental heritage through sustainable eco-friendly tourism. Current activities include making paper out of elephant dung, establishing indigenous tree nurseries, guided walks focusing on medicinal plants and visits to natural caves within the area. Traditional cuisine is also offered by the village. Future plans include setting up a cultural centre and demonstrations such as traditional way of making cooking fats out of milk.

School teams will engage in the following activities:

  • Agricultural Activities – Student teams will engage in daily agricultural chores ranging from harvesting crops in season such as pigeon peas, cassava roots and leaves as well as learning about storing maize (the staple diet for most Kenyans) and extracting and preparing for grinding. In addition, teams will participate in the introduction of Aloe Vera as an alternative cash crop and planting of various high value Agroforestry trees (see Agroforestry Activity above for more detail).
  • Animal Husbandry – Student teams will accompany community members to households in order to deworm animals such as goats, sheep and chickens. A simple, safe and fun activity which will provide much needed treatment for livestock. (see Animal Clinic Activity below for more details)
  • Traditional artisan activities – Under the supervision of local artisans, teams will have the opportunity to learn how to weave rope which is used for making a host of different items such as baskets and table mats. The use of natural materials and dyes will exemplify the importance of sustainable utilisation and reinforce the importance of cultural heritage. In addition, teams will learn how to use natural wood remains to create household objects such as picture frames and bowls.
  • Fun Activities – A variety of fun activities have been organised for student teams and communities to build upon the cultural bridge. The area has some spectacular natural rock formations along the hills which were once used as a safe haven for livestock. Students can opt for a short walk to visit one of these areas or remain behind to plant additional trees with school children or help renovate and paint classrooms or simply end the day with a friendly game of football.

Kidong’u Village – Cultural life

The village is approximately 70kms south of Voi close to Lake Chala and Jipe. The village is sandwiched between a large ranch and Tsavo West National Park. Unfortunately, the community is extremely poor as a consequence of not having access to water, not benefiting from the wildlife tourism and victims of human-wildlife conflict. The bushmeat trade and charcoal burning is rampant as people have little choice. As a consequence, the village was identified by the World Society for the Protection of Animals to help people find alternative livelihoods as a means to curb the bushmeat trade. Since the project began, two CBOs have been formed and the groups have received formal training on setting up community based projects and the general importance of Animal Welfare. Global Vision International has set up a base to assist communities to meet their needs.

Kidong’u Ex-Poachers Welfare Group was set up as a self-help group by local members who are determined to stop poaching and charcoal burning. The group have created a community fund and recently acquired 10 acres of land where they intend to set up a cultural centre. The focus in this village will be to assist the group in this project and in doing so gain hands on experience on traditional architecture. The activity will take a full day where students will be directly participating in the construction of traditional huts using clay and readily available grass for thatching.