Feb 2, 2018

Susan's Story

Susan
Susan

Susan is a shining light and a tireless promoter of trees in her work with Sadhana Forest Kenya.  With her perpetual joy and enthusiasm, you would never assume what challenges she has had to overcome to get here.  Taken out of school to marry when she was just barely 14 years old, she spent the early days of her marriage playing "house" and imaginative games with her younger brothers-in-law.  Then, when she was 18 and already pregnant with her third child, her husband was tragically killed.  Susan found herself with no possessions or money and three young children to raise on her own.  According to Samburu tradition, women may not remarry if their husbands die.  Little by little, Susan began to create a home and life for her family; first, by building a house and homestead where she would later welcome her mother and many of her siblings to live, and later, by engaging the community as a catechist for the Catholic Church, a job for which she earned roughly 20USD per month.  Even as she lost siblings and loved-ones to various illnesses and accidents, she remained committed to uplifting and promoting her larger community – transforming countless lives.  Barley living above poverty herself, she used every resource she had to support others, helping them rise from helplessness to engaged and participating members of their community.  Beyond her work for the church, Susan volunteered, and continues to serve, as a Community Health Volunteer.  She later worked in the local hospital, treating the physical and spiritual health of her neighbours.  She sees working with Sadhana Forest Kenya and for the environment as a natural next step for her. After all, the health of nature and the environment have vital roles to play in sustaining the health and future of the Samburu people.


In the year and a half that Susan has so far worked with Sadhana Forest Kenya, she quickly took on the role of Community Engagement and Training; doing what she does best, which is inspiring people to transform their lives and their environment. On a typical day, she awakens at dawn to arrange the small shop she runs out of her home, light the fire to cook breakfast, and help her mother. She then takes her youngest daughter to school before coming to the Sadhana Forest Kenya campus to finish loading up the van for a day in the field. In the mornings, she organizes a team of workers who prepare the areas where trees will be planted later in the day. When there is a tree-planting training for locals, Susan is the one who conducts it.  She does the follow-up home visits of our tree recipients, making sure everything is clear about how to care for their trees and offer encouragement and advice. She teaches with laughter and metaphors that are relevant and understandable. Susan returns to Sadhana Forest Kenya for lunch before heading back out in the afternoon to plant the trees, deliver water, and record data. At home, a line of people are waiting at her shop window. Evening chores extend until after dark.  Susan is thrilled that she is able to work so close to home, spending her mornings and evenings with her family. She loves incorporating environmental health into her experience and rounding out the life she has built from scratch.


Here at SFK, we finished 2017 and began 2018 full strength, holding three trainings attended by over 100 people.  We’ve already planted almost 200 trees this year!


We are so grateful for our volunteers and the support from the Global Giving community.  If you are interested in providing us further feedback concerning our project, finding out more about our activities or area of operation, or would like to volunteer with us, please contact us here or email us directly at kenya@sadhanaforest.org.  We also strongly encourage you to provide feedback at the end of this report.


Ashe Oleng! (Thank you very much in Kisamburu)

Nov 14, 2017

Tending to Moringa

Moringa Seedlings
Moringa Seedlings

During times of drought, the semi-nomadic Samburu tend to migrate to areas with better prospects of grazing for their herds.  Now, with enough consistent rain, our neighbours are making their way back to their homes and our surrounding communities are again more populated and lively.

Here at Sadhana Forest Kenya, we’ve been working on finding an optimal method of germinating Moringa stenopetala to ensure the seedlings are off to the best possible start. The goal is to plant a Moringa tree at each and every one of our beneficiaries’ homes. The Moringa is an exceptional tree!  Its leaves are highly nutritious and can be harvested almost immediately.  They can go a long way in mitigating anaemia in children, which is a big problem in our area.  Also, Moringa is nicknamed “Mother’s Helper” as it has been found to increase breast milk production.

After some experimentation, we developed a planting method with great potential, but we had another challenge plaguing us; baboons and francolins! A francolin is a fowl-like bird. We needed to protect our nurseries from the damage little claws and naughty paws were doing to our tender trees.  Success!  We have now produced many hundreds of happy seedlings in an animal-proof nursery.  We foresee commencing their distribution by the year’s end.

We are so grateful for our volunteers and the support from the Global Giving community.  If you are interested in providing us further feedback concerning our project, finding out more about our activities or area of operation, or would like to volunteer with us, please contact us here or email us directly at kenya@sadhanaforest.org.  We also strongly encourage you to provide feedback at the end of this report.

Ashe Oleng! (Thank you very much in Kisamburu)

Animal-Proof Tree Nursery
Animal-Proof Tree Nursery
Aug 21, 2017

Beyond a Drought

NaiborKeju School
NaiborKeju School

It’s been a whirlwind few months, but now that the drought and elections are behind us, we can happily report positive growth at Sadhana Forest Kenya.

The drought took a hefty toll, but we have recently had plenty of heavy rainfalls.  Our water catchment ponds are full and we’re seeing lots of green!  We continue our water management efforts to make best use of the rainwater. Our main focus over the last few months has been monitoring trees planted around people's homes. This has given us the opportunity to provide supplementary personally-targeted training; emphasizing the importance of protection and mulch for the trees.  We have observed a great improvement in quality of fences built and tree care given by recipients.  Strong fences ensure animals won’t nibble away the young trees, while mulch protects the soil from drying out in the hard, hot sun.

Since our last report, we have planted 55 trees, mostly in an area called ‘Naibor Keju’.  Here, we have recently held an intensive training for the school children and the local community.  We worked with their grade 7 and 8 classes’ Environmental Club to have an educational conversation about climate change, the importance of trees, and an inclusive discussion on environmental issues in general.  Afterwards, together, we planted 4 trees on the school compound.  Our efforts were welcomed with enthusiasm and we are eager to return there to plant more trees.

We are so grateful for our volunteers and the support from the GlobalGiving community.  If you are interested in providing us further feedback concerning our project, finding out more about our activities or area of operation, or would like to volunteer with us, please contact us here or email us directly kenya@sadhanaforest.org.  We also strongly encourage you to provide feedback at the end of this report.

Ashe Oleng! (Thank you very much in Kisamburu)

NaiborKeju Community
NaiborKeju Community
Water Catchment Pond
Water Catchment Pond
 
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