Raymond Glover’s Diary
Tidal Forests of Kenya

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August 3, 2009: Planting the next generation

Planting in progress Today was our last day in the field at back in Kinondo.  Two teams were taking the final fauna readings from the plots, while the rest of us made a start on the planting of new plots. We marked out three 6m x 6m plots at 0.5 m intervals. We then had to move the seedlings all the way from the nursery area to the new plots. Laitani had made stretchers from timber poles and sacking, onto which the seedlings were loaded for us to carry. The teams set about digging the holes, unwrapping the root balls, planting and back-filling the holes. It is an important part of the process of re-foresting the area, as a poorly planted tree will have less chance of survival. If the soil is not packed correctly it can form a hollow around the root into which the sea water will collect and increase the salinity around the root, which could kill the seedling. With the plots completed we returned to the village for lunch. As a special treat Dr. Kairo had arrange mud crabs, which were lovely. It was soon time for our Planting in progress next official function, a football match against the local youth team, the Wayzata Kings. There was a large and enthusiastic crowd assembled around the football pitch behind the primary school. The club prepared the pitch by clearing the coconut palm leaves and other debris from the playing surface, which was a combination of sand and grass, and then tied the palm strip cross bar between the wooden pole posts. The team were very excited at the chance to play well against us, and soon lived up to our expectations of being very fast and skilful. The crowd made lots of noise and laughed and cheered loudly especially when we fell over or missed the ball. Despite our very mixed ability, we managed to score first, through a fine goal from our striker (recruited specially for the match Crab for lunch from the assembled crowd due to wearing an Earthwatch t-shirt). It was too good to last however as the boys soon equalised through a very harsh penalty. In the second half we had to make many rolling substitutions as the heat and the speed of the opposition took its toll. The boys took the lead through another penalty and then went further ahead. At the final whistle we were glad to have restricted the score to 3-1. Our saviour was our goalkeeper Hamisi who made a series of great saves. It turns out he played for the Gazi Village team before stopping when he got married. After the match we presented the boys with a new match ball, and I gave one of my Liverpool FC shirts to their manager (who graciously accepted despite being an Arsenal fan!). We then went with them for a drink of sodas from the shop and talked about the important role the team plays in the lives of the boys and how it promotes teamwork and discipline within the community. We then headed back for After the match our last evening meal together and then spent the very nice evening on the beach under the stars with some sodas and a fire to keep us warm.
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