Raymond Glover’s Diary
Tidal Forests of Kenya
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July 25, 2009: First steps in Africa
All the travel arrangements worked out perfectly. I met up with Gustavo
at Schipol Airport before our overnight flight to Nairobi, and then the
trip down to Mombasa, from where we took a taxi to the rendezvous point.
The drive down Barack Obama Road (quite recently named I suspect) was my
first real glimpse of life in Kenya, and it was a real eye opener.
Having met up with Bronwyn and Sean who were already there, and having a
couple of hours before official pick-up time we walked into the old town
and visited Mombasa's most popular tourist attraction, Fort Jesus, which
dates back to the 1600's. Once inside we found that the Environment
Trust of Kenya we holding a prize giving ceremony for a painting
competition for schools called "communities unite in combating climate
change." We then walked through the back streets following one of the
signed routes and decided to have a spot of lunch at a local eatery,
which was quite entertaining! We then headed back to the rendezvous
point to meet up with Timothy and Dr Martin Skov, our Earthwatch leader
for this team, and the drive to Gazi.
The route took us across the on the Likoni ferry crossing, which
operates 24 hours and carries 170,000 people and 3,000 vehicles a day.
An hour and a half later we arrived at Gazi Village and were shown into
our accommodation and introduced to Dr Kairo (from KMFRI and an
Earthwatch Scientist who has pioneered community involvement in the
mangrove restoration in Gazi) and Mama Nico who would be looking after
us during our stay (it is traditional for women to me called after the
name of their first child, hence Mama Nico). We then went for a walk
through the village to the sea during which Martin gave us a brief
history of the project and the village. On return to the accommodation
we met the other 4 volunteers on the project, Tima, Zulekha, Michael and
Robert who all live either in or a short distance from the village.
After an atmospheric candle lit meal in the canopy (due to a power cut)
we introduced ourselves to one another and had a group discussion about
our expectations and fears for the coming days. Afterwards Martin ran
through the packed schedule for the coming days and outlined some points
for our safety and wellbeing around the village. After a packed 36
hours it was time for me to do battle with a mosquito net and a single