Sep 7, 2016

Building forests, land, and friendships.

Smiles
Smiles

A few months can go by in what seems to be ‘a blink of an eye’, but when the time comes to reflect and report on what has happened, we realize just how much has been accomplished.

Recently, we have replaced the leaky roof of our toolshed/office with a strong, 30-plus year roof.  We have also been working hard to repair, build (and rebuild!) protective fences for our tree seedling nurseries, construct additional water catchment in the form of swales and ponds, and, of course, continue to plant trees, bringing us up to over 200 on our land, in addition to ongoing monitoring of all trees planted by SFK in the local community.  We also managed a training and planting day near Oldenyiro, a village 50km from SFK land; this trip meant we were also able to transport a sick tortoise to the Kenyan Wildlife Services’ veterinarian.

Amongst the events of trees and infrastructure, we have also had the privilege of spending our time with our friends.  Not only have we recently hosted a visit from our Board of Directors, but we were invited to contribute to planning Samburu County's events for World Environment Day 2016.  There we met and worked with officials from National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Kenya Forest Service (KFS), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS),  Samburu County Department for the Environment and Natural Resources, World Vision, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO-Kenya), and Agricultural Sector Development Support Programme (ASDSP).  Events for the day were hosted at Lkirimon Secondary School and over 100 trees were planted.  As part of the proceedings, three representatives from Sadhana Forest Kenya conducted a training session for around 500 people.

Even with only a few volunteers, we accomplish a lot at Sadhana Forest Kenya and truly appreciate 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 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)

Family Planting
Family Planting
Jun 14, 2016

Lari; A Beneficiary's Story

Lari
Lari

Lari is a watchman at Sadhana Forest Kenya (SFK).  Not only does he look out for the campus and project, but he also contributes greatly to the overall daily running of activities.  He says it's a very good job and he loves working at SFK.  It's somewhere he can help out in many different ways.

Lari lives with his family, both older and younger generations, next door to the SFK land.  He has five brothers and three sisters and they all grew up in the same homestead where the family still resides.  Like his two older brothers, he started school around the age of seven or eight years old.  However, he was only able to attend for two years.  To allow for the older children to continue attending school, Lari dropped out to help with the family's cattle, sheep, and goats. This was the beginning of a very rough time for the family.  For a number of years there were extreme droughts and the animals became sick.  Lari's father had to travel farther and farther away to find suitable grazing, and had to hire other people to help with his herds.  When Lari was 11 years old, his father died.  Eventually, all of their animals became sick and died as well.  Animals represent Samburu families’ wealth and livelihood.  So, without any animals, the family was ruined.  Lari and his two older brothers moved to Nairobi to find work in order to provide for the family.  As soon as they had saved enough money, they would be able to buy a few sheep and cows to begin to recover.

During a particularly harsh drought, Lari visited home and became very close friends with the man he was herding livestock with.  The difficult experience connected them so deeply that, at the end of their time together, the friend offered Lari his niece to marry.  Everyone was pleased with the arrangement and worked together to prepare for the wedding.  Lari and his wife now have three children of their own.

Recently, we sat down with Lari to ask him about his experiences with Sadhana Forest and what it means to him.

What is a typical day for you here?
In the morning, I wake up knowing exactly what to do.  I come straight to Sadhana Forest to water trees.  After breakfast, I often prepare lunch for the team of volunteers. In the afternoon, I am involved in a variety of activities - different every day.  Sometimes I plant trees or take care of the nurseries.  Other times I help around the campus with construction and repairs.

What has Sadhana Forest Kenya changed about your life?
When I worked in Nairobi, I was very far away from my family.  Now I live right next door to where I work.  Not only I am making more money than I made at my previous job, but I am also at home more often to care for my family.  I can manage how the money is spent and I can see for myself that my family is fed and well taken care of.  I am so happy that I have enough food to share.  Other people in the community who need food can come to my home and eat.  SFK has made a huge improvement in my life.  Before, my elderly mother and my sisters had to walk very far to fetch water, and the water they could access was from the river and dirty.  Now my family and I have constant access to clean water from Sadhana Forest Kenya's bore hole, right next door, like the rest of the local community.  We have also received trees which will bear food for generations to come, so my family does not have to experience a crisis whenever drought comes. Finally my family can relax a little and they don't all have to work so hard.

I am sending this as a part of a newsletter that will be read by many people all around the world; is there anything that you would like to say to them/if you could send any message around the world, what would it be?
Come to Sadhana Forest Kenya!  SFK has made my life so much easier and I wish that everyone in the community and surrounding region can benefit the same way.  I know that for this to happen, Sadhana Forest Kenya needs support.  So I ask for people to please assist in whatever way they can so that the Samburu people can have a little bit of an easier life. The more support given to Sadhana Forest Kenya, the more of my people will have clean water and trees to grow food for their future.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
The whole community now knows what it means to be trained.  Everyone knows about how to grow a tree.  We all have clean water to drink, to cook with, and to wash ourselves.  So if Sadhana can get even more assistance, life will change for everyone here.  Life won't be so difficult.

Currently, we have 9 volunteers living on-site at Sadhana Forest Kenya in Samburu County and we are working hard to construct the Animal Sanctuary.  Look for our next report for a detailed update!  We truly appreciate 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.

Ashe Oleng! (Thank you very much in Kisamburu)

Mar 16, 2016

Resinoi; A Beneficiary's Story

Resinoi's New House
Resinoi's New House

Most likely, the first person you will encounter at Sadhana Forest Kenya is Resinoi (pronounced “rez-e-noy”) who, to be greeted by, is certain to brighten your day with her smile alone.

Resinoi comes from a nearby village called Lakirding'ai.  After she married and had her first child, her husband took a second wife (common practice in Samburu, Kenya).  In the Samburu culture, the husband provides financially while women oversee everything required to run the household.  Over the years, Resinoi and her co-wife alternated childbearing; Resinoi having eight children of her own.  Then, during tribal wars and Somali fighting, a blind and elderly family friend was in need of support due to living in a most tumultuous area. So, she and her own children came to live in the household of Resinoi, husband, co-wife, and their children.  Resinoi’s husband died a few years ago, but in spite of the immense challenge she and her co-wife would face without a husband (to take care of the total of 15 children and elderly woman) in his last words, her husband asked the women to stay together; to not give up on the children; to take care of each other; to continue as a unit.  They have done exactly that and there is a good relationship amongst the whole family.  Resinoi thanks God that she has received employment without expectation.  Her situation is rare in Samburu.  She is now able to live like a woman who has a husband; her children, as if they still have a father.  Resinoi says that this job has replaced her husband.  Recently, she has begun to build a new house; this shows her strength and is a symbol of how she can keep up with the community without a male provider.

Resinoi holds a very important position at Sadhana Forest.  She takes care of our welcoming area where we provide free clean water and a phone charging service, available to anyone.  The availability of clean water helps the community avoid typhoid, which is present in the other local sources of water. At any given time at our front entrance, there is a crowd of people collecting water and, in a typical day, anywhere from 50 to 100 phones being charged.  Resinoi also spends much of her day interacting with patrons and visitors.  She says the most interesting part of her job is getting to interact with the many travelers who stop by, such as drivers of large delivery trucks and units of the Kenyan forces – who enjoy teasing her for not being in uniform while she receives radio calls like a soldier would.  Resinoi maintains her traditional attire – vibrant colours and beads – while she is overseeing the front entrance, just as she does while she attends to her household responsibilities and the Saturday market.  Resinoi is an ambassador for Sadhana Forest Kenya, explaining what we do here and answering many questions.  Being in this drought-prone, “grid”-free area, a common exclamation she responds to is “Phone charging and water; and both for free!  How are you able to do this in these conditions!?”   Resinoi is becoming very popular in Kenya and now, while many of us living within the Sadhana Forest campus are foreigners and therefore known as “mazungu”, the public have endearingly nicknamed her Mama Mazungu.

Resinoi would like us to know that the community says “Thank You”.  Until Sadhana Forest arrived, this area was very dangerous, but we have brought settlement and created a safe community.  We are so grateful to have Resinoi working with us; she sets the perfect tone for visitors to Sadhana Forest Kenya.

Currently, we have a 7 volunteers living on the Sadhana Forest Kenya land and, to date, we have planted 715 trees in Samburu County.  We truly appreciate 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.

Ashe Oleng! (Thank you very much in Kisamburu)

Visiting Resinoi, Family, & Home
Visiting Resinoi, Family, & Home
 
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