Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Monday, April 27, 2009

Appreciating The Wider Perspective

Neil joined us as a volunteer here in Kenya and below gives us his thoughts on the experience:

Having travelled for three days – including a wonderful overnight stay at the Reef Hotel in Nyali, Mombasa – it was good to arrive at Shimoni, cross to Mkwiro, and start the settling in process. Meeting lots of people for the first time, getting to grips with living very simply in a constantly changing community, and starting a steep learning curve for the activities of the next five weeks is no easy matter! It is however, interesting, exciting and challenging.

This is certainly not a holiday; long working days in intense heat – and I haven’t got into the forest yet – are hard work. So, too, is the fact that the base is on an island with no mains power or running water. Everything has to get to this island and the last part of its journey is usually a matter of carrying it from the boat by the staff and volunteers: at high tide, that means up the steps from the sea and at low tide, there’s an additional journey along the beach before reaching the steps!

All this effort is to enable GVI to work with and serve its partner organisations here in Kenya and, of course, the wider community, both in Kenya and throughout the world. Conservation and living in more sustainable ways is not just a concern for local populations but for us all. This wider perspective is very important. This last week, I’ve been on the boat for three days: on the first two, we saw spinner, bottlenose, and humpback dolphins and it was very exciting and rewarding; on the third, we saw just one humpback dolphin and spent hours hoping for more that didn’t appear. But that’s one of the differences between being a tourist and contributing to scientific research; the experience of my third day may be telling just as important a part of the story as the one of my first two.