Raymond Glover’s Diary
Tidal Forests of Kenya

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July 30, 2009: Ground truthing

Ground truthing Today we are off to the mangrove forests around Gazi Bay to undertake ground truthing for the CAMARV project. We were divided into two groups working in different locations. Each group were recording the position of a 10m x 10m area using a GPS unit to give easting and northing co-ordinates, and then recording data for all the trees inside. This involved identifying the species of tree, measuring the diameter of trunk, height of tree and any notes regarding the condition of the tree (if it had cut branches or dying/dead branches). This was quite hard work due to several factors. The density of the trees in some areas made movement and access very difficult. Combine this with ground conditions and it was more difficult than it sounds. The team I was in managed to record four plots (approx 225-250 trees) before returning to the village for lunch. After lunch one group returned to the field to record more data, while four of us stayed in the lab to enter the morning's data into the computer. We were restricted by the fact there was no power to the village today between 8 am and 5 pm due to maintenance on the national grid. This restricted our time to the battery life of the laptop being used. This afternoon we had a talk by Mrs. Chao Hannah about the education system in Kenya. Most schooling follows the British curriculum and lessons are in English. Schooling follows the basis of eight years of primary schooling, four years of secondary education and four years for college/university education. Since the beginning of this year the government has introduced two years of early child development. Primary schooling is funded by the government (except uniforms) although only 84% of children attend. One set of figures that is interesting is that only 25% of children make the step from primary to secondary education due to the costs involved and very few of these come from coastal areas such as Gazi. Only 2% of these make it to university, partly due to a shortage of available places so although many reach the required grades, only the top grade applicants are offered places. One point of note is that there are fewer girls in secondary education than boys, partly due to beliefs/culture, and very few reach university. After dinner (and the washing up) we first had a talk by Robert about his experiences of life in a Kenyan university, the accommodation and social structure and the student fees/loan process. This was followed by a talk by Gustavo about his birth place, the Canary Islands, and then on his work for Alcoa as a lobbyist at the European Parliament in Brussels.


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