Timothy Lees’ Diary
Tidal Forests of Kenya

August 4, 2009: Saying goodbye
August 2, 2009: More ground truthing, village lunch and dinner
July 31, 2009: Day off!
July 28, 2009: Day two
July 26, 2009: Marathon
July 23, 2009: Mombasa, here I come
July 19, 2009: Welcome to Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam
July 11, 2009: Final preparations
March 6, 2009: Selected!
August 3, 2009: Last Night
August 1, 2009: Back to work
July 30, 2009: A different type of research
July 27, 2009: First research day
July 24, 2009: Rendezvous
July 20: To the embassy
July 18, 2009: The adventure begins
May 6, 2009: Getting stuff together

August 4, 2009: Saying goodbye

Group foto This morning as we packed our bags, you could feel that this was it. It was time to leave. The plan was to leave a bit early so that we could visit the Colubus Trust in Diani and maybe have a last drink or swim at Diani Beach. But due to having a flat before we left and then a bit of rain we decided it best to head straight for Mombasa; especially since we were not certain of the situation at the ferry and how busy traffic would be. We said our goodbyes to Dr.Kairo’s wife and Mama Niko and her staff and thanked them for having us and for the good time we had. We had a light lunch in Mombasa at the Blueroom, where we chatted up a bit about the past ten days and stuff we were going to do when we get back. Back in Nairobi I said goodbye to Gustavo and Ray who would be staying a few more days in Kenya. They would each be going on a separate safari (one thing I was very sorry not to have experienced). I had a five-hour wait till my flight to Amsterdam so I spent most of the Fun with kids time bored and walking in and out of the taxfree shops. All in all it was a very wonderful experience for me. I did stuff I normally don’t do, I learned a lot about the importance of having a properly functioning ecosystem, especially the mangrove ecosystem, and had fun doing it. After an experience like this you realize how fragile our planet is and how important our role is in maintaining all that God has given us and how we often take things for granted. I had a very good time learning from and working with my team members. Hopefully they learned a few Gustavo and me things from me as well. It’s always interesting interacting with people and learning about how they view life. So now on my way back to Holland I just want to say “Tutaonana” to Kenya and “Asante” to everyone who put up with me during these ten days, including Gustavo my roommate, who put up with my snoring, and thanks to Alcoa for providing the chance at such an experience.
0 comments



August 3, 2009: Last Night

Next Generation Mangroves, Friendly Soccer Match and Last Night 

This morning I woke up thinking, wow has it been 10 daybs already?? The time has really gone by fast. Today we would be heading out to Kinondo BNursery ay and the nursery to plant the next generation mangroves for that plot. The species that we were going to be planting is Avicennia. We would be planting in three plots. As usual we were spilt into groups to have the work done efficiently. I was with the “Transporters”. We transported the young plants from the nursery to the planting site using stretchers, about 40 plants to a stretcher. It was very good feeling of being able to actually have a part in the reforestation efforts. It was important to make sure not to press down too hard on the bulbs when filling the holes, since this could damage the roots; and to make sure that no compression is left around the plants. This would cause the salty seawater which came in with the tide to Special tree remain 
Stretcher around the plants and the salinity would kill the young tree. We were fifteen in total and we quickly got two plots finished before our daily madafu break. Today would be the last time. After the break we finished the last plot and took group pictures. Gustavo got the chance to plant a special tree, of which we took the GPS coordinates, so we could track its growth.  Today our lunch was a feast of large mud crabs which had been arranged by Dr.Kairo. This was very tasty. After lunch we prepared ourselves for the big football match to come. We would be playing against the Gazi youth soccer team. This was actually a good thing since among all 10 of us we maybe had 3-½ average football players with years of off-the-field playing experience. So yes, we lost the match, but it wasn’t that bad. We actually got a goal in and we only lost by two points. The final score was 3-1. This was thanks to a very good addition we made to the team before the start of the game: he scored our first and only goal. Our Crabby feast performance wasn’t that bad since we managed to keep the goal scoring to a minimum with a lot of defense. There was no way we could keep up with those guys. It’s really a good thing they didn’t let us play against the older guys. The crowd that gathered to support the local team really lit up the air with shouts and yells and laughter -- especially whenever we made blunders. After the game we Football enjoyed drinks with the team and they told us about what they had accomplished and the plans they had to make the team a better one. One thing that stood out is that discipline, strong good character and brotherhood within the team and the young guys is very important. This was very admirable. After dinner tonight we went to the beach to enjoy a campfire. It was cool sitting around the fire just enjoying the ocean breeze and having the added bonus of sampling some Kenyan wine spirits. It had a real kick to it and helped to feel less of the cool breeze. We chatted up some and Gustavo, Martin and I each sang a song in our own language just to give a little flavor. Thus ended our last night as a group together.

0 comments



August 2, 2009: More ground truthing, village lunch and dinner

Desert patch Today we went out to do some more ground truthing. Our team’s location was more like desert area, since this was closer inland and in the direction of the main road. The temperature was quite hot which made work somewhat stressing, but we managed to find shade here and there to save us from totally feeling the heat. We came across an almost barren patch in the forest which totally gave a dessert appearance. After ground truthing we went back to the village to wash up for the village lunch prepared by the Gazi Women’s Group. We were to have lunch in the old ruins. The ruins are said to be remnants of a castle which belonged to one of the last Omani sultans to Palace lunch rule Kenya from which slaves, products from the plantations and wood from the mangroves were exported, primarily to Zanzibar. The building had been neglected for many years after the war and was used as the location of one of Gazi’s first schools. The Gazi Women’s Group has plans to renovate it and turn it into a museum and to maintain a bit of history within the village. After the lunch we went Fishers into the lab to finish up some more data entry and lab work. After the lab work  we had some extra time to spare so Ray and myself decided to take a walk down the beach. The local fishermen were coming in with their catch and the villagers were bargaining on prices. At 7 that evening Ray and I gave a short presentation about ourselves. Later, it was time for us to have dinner with members of the village. We were split up into five groups of two each. Dr.Skov, Michael and myself were in one group. We were invited to have dinner at the home of Mama Salim (Salim is the name of her first born son), one of the elderly women in the Dinner village. She reminded me of my grandmother somewhat in the way she smiled and talked. Her son and granddaughter were present. Zulekha acted as our interpreter and was the representative on behalf of the Gazi Women’s Group. The meal was prepared by the Gazi Women’s Group and then distributed to the homes we were sent to. We had Pilaf as the main dish and a sweetened treat made of maize flour balls. As is the tradition with guests who come to dinner, the guests have to eat first till full and then the hosts will eat. This was new to me, and only after we pleaded with her for a while did Mama Salim agree to eat. After dinner we talked about village life and she explained that it had not really changed much since she was a girl. I asked her if the village had any ghost stories or legends, she smiled bright and said that there were a few of people not seen but that she wouldn’t go into it now. One remark that was funny was when she said that the kerosene from the lamp would run out because we (especially me) were doing more talking than eating and she would have to go to the store to buy more. After saying our goodnights to the family of Mama Salim we went back to the house and caught up with the others and talked about what it was like at the other houses. It was funny to find out that the others hadn’t ever used their hands to eat before, and hear about the stunts that followed that experience.
0 comments



August 1, 2009: Back to work

Flora Biomass 1 After having a very good day off we were back to the tasks at hand. Today we went back to Kinondo to finish up on the flora and fauna biomass data collection. The sun seemed to want to show its full glory, so sunscreens and hats and lots of water were a must. Today the teams had somewhat different objectives. We were split into three teams. Two teams finished up the remaining plots, collecting fauna and flora biomass data; the other team went in search of other types of insects in the plots. Sean, Michael and myself were part of this last team. Our task was to record all the Ants on Propagule insects and nests we came across in the plots. Bronwyn and Sean had already started on this before so they acted as our guides. The Madafu today tasted extra sweet and I asked for a second helping. At 2 pm we were back in Gazi to do data input and continue the lab work on the soil samples we had taken earlier in Flora Biomass data entry the week and which had been baked in the oven for 24 hours. Gustavo and myself were on data input duty. At 7 in the evening we had a presentation by Dr. Kairo on the work he has been doing in Gazi with KMFRI and other activities regarding village life over the years. He also spoke a bit about his family and himself -- a very impressive story. He moved to the village in the 90s as a graduate student studying mangroves, and has aided in a number of projects in the village. These projects range from improving sanitation and improving the quality of drinking water to social and educational projects. 
Millipede Through his involvement with organisations like Earthwatch, Dr. Kairo has been able to organize funding for buildings in the village, including the new building at Gazi primary for the teachers. He has also helped find sponsors for students to achieve higher education and aided the Women’s group of Gazi with their projects. His influence is clearly noticed in the village whenever you hear villagers talking about him. Tonight after dinner we decided to have a night out. Tima and Zulekha had to ask permission to go with us. The trip started out with a flat tire right after we left the village on the main road. We quickly had that changed and continued on our way. After circling around a bit we ended up at a traditional Kenyan bar where there was local music and people dancing. Quite funny to see the women and men dancing separately. After enjoying the show we set off back to Gazi for some shuteye.



0 comments



July 31, 2009: Day off!

Elephant Today is our official day off. We planned to visit Shimba Hills National Reserve. We left at about 6 o’clock to get an early start for the day. The reserve is a small National Park in the Coast Province of Kenya, 33 km from Mombasa and 15 km Falls from the coast. The reserve is an area of coastal rainforest, woodland and grassland. After a light breakfast at the entrance to the reserve while waiting on the guide (who didn’t show, by the way) we started on our tour through the Giraffe reserve. After a ten-minute drive we came across three elephants, which was kinda cool, and raised the expectations of having a very good visit to the reserve. The main highlight, however, was the climb down to Sheldrick Falls. It was a 2km hike down the hill. We needed to be medically and physically fit to make the hike, and accompanied by an armed ranger. This was because, as it said on the sign, of the dangerous animals we needed to watch out for. We didn’t come across any, so I guess the ranger did a good job. Getting to the falls was worth the climb down. I had honestly expected to see more wild Camel animals, but I guess given the highly forested area they didn’t really come out a lot into the open. Did get to see a giraffe though and some water buffalo. So all in all it was a good tour for me. After the reserve we concluded our day with a visit to Diani beach. “Ali Barbours and the Forty Thieves” was the location we choose to hang out at. It was a very nice beach establishment with a cave restaurant a few meters further down the road. It was very refreshing to have a swim and relax on the beach after those days in the field. There were a few Maasai tribesmen and women trying to interest  anyone in purchasing trinkets on the beach. There was also a guy who had come down with his camels and was offering rides on the beach. At about 6.30 in the evening we said goodbye to the white sands and blue waters of Diani beach and headed back to Gazi for a good night’s rest from a long but enjoyable day.


0 comments



July 30, 2009: A different type of research

Ground truthing Last night we had an interesting lesson on ground truthing by Dr.Bernard Kirui. Ground truthing is one of the other research projects being done by KMFRI on mangrove populations. Using GPS coordinates and satellite imagery the idea is to generate a map to indicate the total mangrove population along the coastal area of Kenya. Today we aided Dr.Kirui with mapping designated plots and collecting data on the type of species found in those plots (height, trunk diameter, species and amount of young plants). All this data will be entered to verify the accuracy of the existing maps and also to show if the mangrove forests are declining or increasing. The locations were tough and very muddy and since these were mature trees some climbing skills did come in handy.  After data input we had a talk on the Kenyan Educational system by Mrs. Chao, who is the representative for the Ministry of Education in the coast province. She explained about the achievements and improvements that have been made regarding the education system, including preschooling and free secondary schooling. Preschool, not previously common in Kenya, would allow more children the chance to start school at a young age. Plans to introduce a form of free schooling for the secondary school will give more Kenyan kids the chance to go farther in their education.
0 comments



July 28, 2009: Day two

Today started with a talk by Dr.Langat on Ecosystem biodiversity, where he went into some detail on the different types of ecosystems and their impact on the earth’s carbon cycle. He also explained about Biomass info, ecosystem services and payment for ecosystem services. Back in the field at Kinondo after the lesson, we were again divided into groups; but this time two members from each group switched. This would be the system for the following days, to give everyone the chance to participate in Flora every part of the data collecting. I was one of the members who became a “plant” today and would be collecting Flora biomass data. The object was to collect as much data as possible on the growth/development of the plots. We looked at the height of the plants, diameter of the trunk, the leaves (amount, yellow, damaged) and the species of plant and, in the case of dead plants, which species and how many. Within each plot there could either be a combination of species or one single species planted. The species which have been planted and studied are Bruguiera, Ceriops, Avicennia and Rhizophora, which are indigenous to Kenya. To assess plots with large trees, we used the method of choosing a branch as a significant indicator to the tree. The leaves are then counted Flora2 and multiplied by the amount of main branches for that tree. This was then repeated until the whole plot was done. We also collected soil samples for carbon sequestration testing in the lab from each of the plots. We had our daily break where we enjoyed Madafu (coconuts). This was the most refreshing part of being in the field. In the afternoon, we did our data input and in the evening, Miss Amina Juma talked to us about the Gazi Village women’s group and the Mangrove board. After dinner we went over to Msambweni for a drink at a local pub, owned by Breaktime Michael’s dad. Here, Bronwyn gave a short presentation about her thesis and a bit about her home in Australia.
0 comments



July 27, 2009: First research day

This morning started early because even though I was tired from the Marathon, I just could not sleep past 5 o’clock. Looking up at the sky it looked like rain today. After breakfast and a pre-discussion on what we were going to do, we packed our bags and went over to the lab to hitch a ride to the village of Kinondo. We would be doing most of the work at either Gazi bay or Kinondo Bay. At Kinondo Bay we were split into two groups, the “animals” and “plants”. Both teams would be gathering biomass info on the designated plots. I was an “animal” today. This basically meant that I would be collecting biomass data on all the animal life within the plots, which would give a significant image of the development of the plots. The plots Chart are 6 by 6 square meters and there are 32 monitored plots at Kinondo. Within the plots there are also control plots where nothing is planted. The object was to have a significant representation of a plot by dividing the plot into quadrants and randomly picking a quadrant for collecting data. The accumulated data would show if there was a either a positive or negative impact on the animal life due to the reforesting efforts. After doing the Biomass data collecting we had our lunch. In the afternoon we were invited to an official welcome into the village, which would be Welcome held at the Gazi Primary School. The students welcomed us with song as is the tradition, after which we were introduced by the headmaster and each of us talked abit about where we were from. There was a motivational talk from Michael, Robert, Tema and Zulekha on the importance of having a good education. This was done in Kiswahili and mainly because Tema, Zulekha and Robert had all been to Gazi primary and as such were positive role models for the children in the school. The children of the school requested that we return their welcome by also singing a song together as a group and after much thinking (which wasn’t easy) we decided on singing the national Group sing anthem of Kenya. We of course just sang along as the others did most of the work. After the village welcome at the school we went to do data input in the lab. That evening, we had a talk on the Kenyan Health system, specifically work done in the Hospital at Msambweni. 

0 comments



July 26, 2009: Marathon

Lecture This morning the prayer sounds from the mosques woke me. Not as noisy as expected, but definitely attention-getting. After breakfast we went to the lab for an intro on mangroves, info on the project and the benefits to the ecosystem. The whole structure and history of the mangrove ecosystem was explained by Dr. Kairo. He talked about the various types of mangroves found in the different parts of the world and what influence climate and climate change have on the growth and development of mangroves. Dr. Skow explained how essential it is to have and sustain a proper mangrove forest, stressing the benefits (eco system services) to be gained from having a properly functioning mangrove ecosystem. He went on to explain the progress and improvements which have been made since the start of this project, showing the before and after data results.
Marathon Marathon
The Marathon is the first part of the expedition and is a hike through the mangrove forest at Gazi village. Along the way Dr. Martin and Dr. Kairo went on to explain more about the types of mangrove species they are using in this project and, using the plants as visual aid, went into more detail on the material they spoke about in the class. The walk started out pretty easy actually but just when I felt like this ws going to be a breeze, bam!!!! There was the mud. We were up to our ankles and me up to my waist in mud at times. I now understood why Brigitte urged me to do A LOT of physical training for this expedition. The walk was intense with, stops along the way to catch a breath and wait for Casualty the 
stragglers to catch up. Of course there were the usual casualties on hikes like these, as the picture shows. 

Bay View After going through the mangroves for about 45 minutes, we came to the boardwalk, where at the bay view area we rested before heading on to meet and have lunch with the Gazi village Women’s group (The boardwalk is an initiative of the Gazi village Women’s group as a tourist attraction and to generate funds for the women to help in other projects to improve life in the village.) The Gazi Women’s group were among the first to officially welcome us into the village and they do this by offering each group a lunch during the Marathon. After lunch I was offered a wrap by one of the women who took pity on me, to cover myself as not to return “indecent” to the village; a gesture which I Me in skirt 1 accepted with both hands. And with my new piece of clothing we continued on the rest of the marathon. 
Womens Group
We returned to the village tired and torn but with much info on what the project was about and definitely more info on the ecosystem. We had a recap of the day after taking a bath, then a presentation by Himisi (One of the team members on loan from KMFRI ) on life in Gazi and a bit about himself. After this, dinner was served, and after dinner we did the dishes and it was off to bed for some well needed shut-eye.

1 comment



July 24, 2009: Rendezvous

Today I had a little time for sightseeing in Mombasa City before I went to meet with the others. So after having breakfast in the hotel I took a cab and went to the famous Fort Jesus I've heard so much about. It was quite an interesting tour and I got some information from one of the self-appointed guides you can find in front of and in the complex. There are a few souvenir shops outside the fort and walking through old Mombasa you can also pick up some souvenirs. Bargaining is an option I would really advise on and it works most of the time. I checked out of the hotel at 1:30 in the afternoon and took a cab to the Lecture by Dr.Skov rendezvous location. There I finally met with Gustavo, Bronwyn and Ray. Dr.Skov was there to meet us and take us over to the village of Gazi. After little over an hour's drive we arrived. At the house we were greeted by the broad smile of Mama Niko, who showed us to our rooms. After a brief explanation on what our days would look like, Dr.Skov (Martin) took us on a sightseeing tour of the village and to the beach of Gazi. Here we got our first glimpse of the project and the land degradation due to the absence of the mangrove forests. Five village members will be joining us on this project. They are all young people from the village, working with Earthwatch and/or with the Kenyan Marine and Fisheries Research Institute. They have recently completed a course on biomass analysis and carbon sequestration. So they will be our guides through that part of the field work exercises.  We had our dinner at 8; then it was time for bed. Early to bed and early to rise ... because tomorrow is the marathon through the mangrove forests!
1 comment



July 23, 2009: Mombasa, here I come

I booked in at the airport and checked my baggage to Nairobi, not wanting to take the chance of checking it all the way to Mombasa and having me arrive without it. It all worked out great: when I got to Nairobi my luggage was there waiting for me. It was fun at the immigration check. The guy who was supposed to check suddenly remembered that he had to go on a break, and his partner next to him just smiled at me and told me to "hold the line, he will return." Luckily the guy was replaced quickly and I got helped. They had never heard of Suriname, so I got the chance to give a short geography lesson. I met with Jimmy Mudibo, whose wife is of Surinamese descent. I was introduced to her two days before my departure but we couldn't make an appointment, so she gave me her husband's number and we got in contact. We had a very good talk about various subjects and again I gave a little lesson on Suriname, since he himself has never been, and he in turn explained a lot about kenya in general. We exchanged email adresses and said goodbye.So one more friend has been added to my email list. On to Mombasa, leaving at about 10 o'clock in the morning and arriving about an hour later. I took a cab to my hotel and checked in. 

So this is my first day in Mombasa. The city looks kind of like Suriname in certain ways and the climate is about the same. I took the cab driver's business card and decided to keep in touch with him for a possible city tour. After a shower and a nap I decided to see what there was to replenish the inner man. I found a nice seafood restaurant and decided on seafood. Service and the food were great and I had very informative conversations with the staff. After dinner I went to the hotel and sat by the pool a bit, to allow the replenishing process to settle before heading to bed. So good night and sweet dreams from Royal Court Hotel in Mombasa Kenya. Tomorrow a new day and meeting the rest of the team.

0 comments



July 20: To the embassy

I woke up this morning bright and early. After having a quick breakfast and greeting Loreen and Sean, I left for Den Haag for my visa at the Kenyan Embassy. After an hour's train ride and a 25 minute tram ride I was at the embassy. I handed in my application and got it back within 15 minutes, which in fact surprised me because I had expected to have to come back and pick it up later. So with all day to kill, I headed to Schevingen to enjoy the beach and the sites. Great beach, very windy. Sealife is a great place to escape the cold wind of the beach for a while so I went for it. Very extensive display of sea life and information.
0 comments



July 19, 2009: Welcome to Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam

I arrive at 6:30 in the morning and after having been through customs, immigration and bagage check, I walk towards the exit. I have managed to arrange with friends (Sean and Loreen) to accomodate me in Holland for a few days while I get my visa and stuff. Sean is actually from Nigeria and has been to Kenya often, so I get a chance to get more info on the land and the people. Later in the afternoon we go city touring and go to the Kwakoe festival. It's a multicultural festival held every year in Amsterdam South. Its origin is actually through Surinamese who wanted a chance to meet each other and keep in contact. Soccer matches are organised and, as with every Surinamese event, there's lots of food.The event has become a well known event and a lot of people from other countries join in now. Some Surinamese believe it has lost some of its splendor that way. I can't really judge because it's only been my first time. But I like what I sees and actually meet a few friends of mine.
0 comments



July 18, 2009: The adventure begins

Today, Saturday July 18th, I'm scheduled to fly out of Suriname at 4 pm. My bags are packed and I've double-checked everything, but still have the feeling that I'm forgetting something. I always get that at the beginning of a trip. The company arranged for me to be picked up at home and dropped off at the airport, so my goodbyes to family will be at home. The airport is full, since there are two flights scheduled to leave. I kill time by reading some more about Kenya. 4 o'clock, time to board, and I say good bye to Sweet Suriname for 3 weeks
Content currently unavailable. Please check back later.
0 comments



July 11, 2009: Final preparations

A week more to go and then I’m off on my adventure. A lot of firsts for me so it will be challenging, but I look forward to it. I will be traveling to Holland for the first time to get my visa for Kenya. From Holland I leave for Kenya on the 23rd of July. I have all my vaccinations (including my yellow fever card), my ticket is in place, and all the other travel arrangements have been made. I’m making sure I get everything right and in place according to the packing list and am taking into consideration any surprises that may happen. I'm not forgetting my first aid kit, which I really do not hope to have to use. I’ve been checking up on the weather and any other updates on Kenya online and all seems OK. The temperature should be in the 28 C range, and the weather fair, and I hope it all stays that way. So I guess I’m set. It still feels like a dream. I've had to answer a lot of questions from colleagues in my department about the expedition, Earthwatch and why Alcoa is doing this. After all, it seems unconnected to the core business at our plant. I held a presentation within my department and explained about the work that Earthwatch does with the various expeditions and research subjects and objectives and the unique opportunity that Alcoa offers employees in being able to participate hands-on. Everyone generally agreed on how important it is that we support all efforts to repair and prolong the life of the ecosystems around us, and that we not make the mistake of thinking that the issues will resolve themselves. I went on to explain about the accommodations and the research we will be doing in this the fifth year of this expedition. A short piece of my participation in this project will be placed in the July edition of Bauxco Nieuws, our plant’s monthly newsletter.
0 comments



May 6, 2009: Getting stuff together

It’s been somewhat more than a month and I’ve been spending most of my free time gathering information on Kenya and the expedition. I was glad to find out that Kenya and specifically Gazi Bay basically has the same climate as Suriname, so no big adjustments to be made. The 2008 briefing and the diaries from the previous years are a great source of information and have helped a lot with making preparations. A good read was "Net Pay: Economic Analysis of Mangrove Reforestation," which gives a definition of what mangroves are, their economic, environmental and ecological importance, threats to the mangrove population, and how working towards the solution of reforestation could have a long lasting benefit. This is the fifth year for this project, so according to the briefing this year we will be monitoring the tree growth of the previously planted plots and how they survive the elements, as well as the animal life surrounding these plots. We will also be planting new trees and working on carbon sequestration analysis. This is very interesting to me, since in Suriname, as with the other two Guyanas, we also have a reasonable mangrove forest along our coast and cope with the same issues, but without a adequate data on how maintaining these forests can benefit the country. Gustavo Maranes took the initiative of arranging a conference call with the other team members (Bronwyn Larner and Raymond Glover). This was a very good idea. We got to share bits of information about ourselves and information we had gathered from others as to preparations we had to make and what we might expect on the expedition. Habari Tsuri!!! I went in for my physical and am glad to know I am fit enough to participate. So now it’s on to get my first set of vaccinations.
Content currently unavailable. Please check back later.
0 comments



March 6, 2009: Selected!

Timothy_Lees Greetings everyone. My name is Timothy Lees and I work as an Electrical Instrument Mechanic for SURALCO, which is an ALCOA plant in Suriname. Today I received a very happy letter saying that I was selected for an Earthwatch Alcoa Fellowship expedition: Tidal Forests of Kenya. I’d actually forgotten that I had applied the year before. I checked and rechecked the letter because I couldn’t believe it. It’s still kind of like a dream for me. After settling down I called Brigitte Kasanpawiro to tell her the good news. She was one of the first participants from our plant to the program in 2006, along with Kenneth Rensch. Brigitte was also selected for the Tidal Forests of Kenya expediton. It’s due to their participation and the information they shared that I first heard about this program and it piqued my interest to know more. I must say that I am very happy to have been selected out of so many applicants and welcome the opportunity to participate in this program. The interaction with other cultures and the chance to work hands-on in the field with an organization like Earthwatch is a chance that doesn’t come along very often and I would gladly urge more people to participate, because the environment is everyone’s business. The rest of my week was trying to find as much information about the expedition, the country and the people I would be working with. I got a lot of firsthand information from Brigitte.
2 comments




Click image to enlarge.