Dec 23, 2015

Appreciating the Rainy Season

Local Volunteer, Felix
Local Volunteer, Felix

Admittedly, many times in my life, when told to expect rain, feelings of disappointment would arise; “Everything will be wet and muddy… laundry won’t dry… plans are ruined”.  But now, at Sadhana Forest Kenya, I love the rain.  I appreciate the rain.  I welcome the rain.   Only weeks ago, the land was struggling to produce.  Stepping off a path meant a likely demise to any vegetation that ended up under foot.  ‘Dust devils’ would stir up, tossing around everything in its path, blowing away the mulch and drying out the soil.  Starting mid-October, we have been very fortunate with generous rains; the most since we landed here in April 2014.  In order to manage it, we have given a huge push to plant more trees and implement additional water diversion and catchment areas on the land.  The recent rains were finally able to soak into the ground.  Trenches and ponds filled, swales were saturated, trees drank, and Sadhana Forest Kenya is now green!  It is lush and teaming with plants and animals we are seeing for the first time.  The difference is inspiring.  We are eager to show the Sadhana campus to our Samburu neighbours and let them see what is possible in their own backyard.  This rainy season is expected to extend into January and so now I say “The rain, the welcome rain!”

Since April of 2014 we have trained well over 1200 people, both young and old.  We've planted over 700 trees within our campus, around schools and churches, and within local homesteads.  We have welcomed 110 volunteers, staying with us for varying lengths of time, and over 1100 visitors have toured our project campus.  We would like to give a warm welcome to local youth, Felix, as our newest volunteer.  He is a beneficiary of two trees and lives with his family in the neighbouring village of L’kisheki.  Felix comes to Sadhana Forest three days a week to lend a hand with a variety of projects.  He is such great help and we are thankful for him volunteering his time and efforts with us.  Thank you Felix!

As the holiday season is in full swing for many, perhaps you are in need a great gift idea.  How about a donation in honour or in memory of someone, or a GlobalGiving Gift card?  It’s the perfect time for it!  Sadhana Forest Keya is taking part in Global Giving’s Year-End Campaign and needs to raise a minimum of $3000 from at least 30 donors before December 31st.  After reaching this goal, we will be eligible for one of nine bonus awards!  You can make your donation go even further; if you set up a monthly recurring donation (for a minimum of four months) during the month of December, 100% of your initial donation (up to $200) will be matched!  No matter the size, every donation is helpful to us.  Monthly recurring donations provide us with security and sustainability and allow us to plan and move forward most effectively.

Sadhana Forest Kenya truly appreciates 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)

Before and After the Rains
Before and After the Rains

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Oct 16, 2015

A Plumb Failure

Phone Charging
Phone Charging

We know that “haste makes waste”, right?  So why do many of us continue to test it?

In April 2014, we got on the ground here in Samburu County, Kenya with a pioneering team of about 30 volunteers.  Our goal was to establish basic infrastructure on the land and, to do so, we had these helping hands available for about two months.  Solar and wind energy systems were soon installed and needing connections to various places on the land, namely, the free public charging station.  We hired a professional electrician who worked quickly and was skilled in his trade.  In addition to electricity, we required a lot of plumbing to be laid throughout the land.  We needed a water line from the borehole to a junction that splits the line to two separate water holding tanks; one leading to the free public water supply and one branching off to numerous locations within our internal community. Over a kilometre of trenches were dug by hand, with the same length of PVC pipes needing to be laid; hundreds of parts to be fitted and glued.  Needless to say, it was a big job and we needed someone skilled specifically with working with PVC pipes.  Some work that the electrician was doing with PVC was similar to what was required for our plumbing, so, rather than take the time to research a reputable plumber we hastily offered the job to the electrician. 

When he completed the piping and the glue dried, that glorious moment came that we had all been waiting for; to hear water flowing throughout the land.  And flow it did.  As water leaked from every fitting, we realized that not a single piece had been connected properly.  The entire plumbing system would need to be redone.  Our great team of volunteers was scheduled to depart, leaving the project director and a couple volunteers to undo and redo everything, at the same time as continuing to establish and direct the rest of the project.  With a lack of helping hands and not wanting to retract from the quality of tree planting trainings (in addition to rains that pushed mud to bury many pipe trenches), it took four more months to see the plumbing to completion.  Time, we admit, that could have been much better spent.

From this, we have learned to take the time to do a job right and find the right person for the job; to develop relationships with quality people.  Learning to do the job ourselves has also been very beneficial, as we have a couple volunteers who have acquired fantastic plumbing skills through kilometres of practice!  And let’s just say we are thankful that our “only” plumbing is for water coming in – a huge benefit of the dry composting toilets.

During the drought, like the last few months, we focus our efforts on community outreach.  We visit our beneficiaries to check on trees we have planted, offer advice, and deliver water from our borehole.  In August and September we visited 75 beneficiaries.

Sadhana Forest Kenya truly appreciates 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)

New Tree
New Tree
Aug 25, 2015

Permaculture Unites Samburu & International Pupils

Samburu women teach us to build a manyatta (house)
Samburu women teach us to build a manyatta (house)

Wow!  After months of preparation, our Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course is already complete.  During June and July, roughly 50 participants and teachers from all over the globe and here in Samburu came to live and learn together in our Community Agro-Forestry Learning Centre.  Over those two months, much more than the theory of permaculture was taught, because Sadhana Forest loves getting their hands dirty with practical learning.  Participants designed parts of the Community land and the property of one of our Samburu neighbours.  They used food forestry techniques to plant gardens and trees, implemented water conservation methods by digging swales and hand-wash stations, and put local resources to use by constructing fuel-efficient rocket stoves.  One of these stoves was built in our training centre where we can teach this cooking method to locals – potentially reducing the number of trips women must make to collect firewood.  Going forward, we are keen that each participant, with their hard-earned Permaculture Design Certificate, will share their new knowledge and use it sustainably in their own lives in Samburu, the rest of Kenya, and all over the world.  “I learned how to fight poverty and will share that knowledge with my neighbours. I will plant more fruit, create soil… grow a food forest” – John Leadura, 57, Samburu PDC participant.

In the midst of the course, we had an exciting visit from the Governor of Samburu County.  Over 500 Samburu people showed their support for Sadhana Forest Kenya and welcomed H.E. Moses K. Lenolkulal with colourful song and dance.  We were delighted that the Hon. MP Lati Lelelit, the Chairman of the NGO Coordination Board of Kenya the Hon. Joshua Leparashau, and many other senior Government Officials joined the Governor in planting trees at our training centre.  The Governor spoke very well of our community-driven approach to improve long-term food security and disaster resilience of agro-pastoral communities of Samburu County.  He looks to a bright future in strengthening our relationship.

Since we hit the ground here in Samburu last year, we have planted a total of 450 indigenous and food-producing trees in 20 Samburu communities, directly impacting hundreds of individuals and their families.  We successfully increase these numbers through our continuous community outreach efforts made possible by donors and volunteers.

Sadhana Forest Kenya truly appreciates 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)

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