I first experienced the stunning beauty of Tsavo West and the charisma of the communities that reside there in 2011 on a community development internship with GVI Kenya. It was only two weeks, working with two communities (Kidong and Kasaani), but the impact this experience had on me will last a lifetime. Making the decision to change a life, culture and history of poaching as a means of survival, to alternative sustainable livelihoods is something that deserves both attention and recognition. These communities have come together to work towards a different future, and their dedication and motivation to succeed is nothing but inspirational. The knowledge sharing and collaborative work that occurred during these two weeks showed me how much could be accomplished in such a short time, but also how many challenges and obstacles these communities face on a day-to-day basis.
|The vibrant Taveta Market|
So as you can imagine, I am very excited, and very honoured, to be returning to Tsavo West as Tsavo Community Field Staff for GVI. I feel like the cat that got the cream! Milling around the vibrant Taveta market, surveying the amazing birds that surround the Kidong Eco-tourism Centre, the warm hospitality of Kasaani (not to mention their fresh egg supply), and getting to see, and become involved in, the hides and skins and handicraft project in Lekole-Lepolosi, and the food security project that is happening in Mahandikini. It’s all systems go! We also have an exciting project in the works that encompasses all of the communities, the Moringa Tree. Doesn’t ring any bells? My next blog will be dedicated to the Moringa Tree and its potential to benefit the communities of Tsavo West at both a household and income generating level.
With drum beats, dancing, festive feasts and hard work may this year bring Kidong, Kasaani, Mahandikini and Lekole-Lepolosi all the success they deserve.
|Caroline, Tsavo Intern with one of the children of Kasaani|