Tidal Forests of Kenya

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August 9: A final day in the field, then a football game

Today's blogger: Randall Hamilton

Jambo! Today is our last day in the field. Several different emotions are running at the same time: I don’t want to leave, but then again I want to get home and see my family. After breakfast we went to the lab to gather our tools for the day. Our task today was to go into the mangroves and measure tree diameter, height, and coordinates in a specific plot. We then were going to take soil samples in specified areas to sort root sediment then place all of the roots (broken up) and soil back into the hole, mark the hole with stakes, and chart the area. Walking in the mangrove mud was a chore but we finally succeeded. Tasks completed, we got ready to leave the area and rain started falling hard. We did not have a chance to don raingear. I don’t think anyone minded anyway. 

After our march back to the compound (video clip) we took showers and got ready to visit a local school: KAG School Msambweni, ages 6-13 years. Headmaster Harrison greeted us and gave us a tour of the grounds and classes. We then went out and joined the horticulture group and planted Casuarina pine trees on the grounds. After planting we washed up and were treated with an assembly of the entire school. Nine students arranged in a half circle recited a poem then two young girls advanced from the crowd and did a religious song (duet). One female student then did a poem and the finale was seven students reciting a short story.

Returning in the van, I couldn’t get the song the two young girls sang out of my head. I could see the genuine desire to get an education in their eyes and the pride of accomplishment in their smiles. This was a highlight of the trip. 

Back home, we prepared ourselves for our final village event: the Eartwatch v. Gazi soccer match. Our team, with the support of a few Kenyan scientists and an Italian scientist, met on the field to play the local Gazi Youth Group boys soccer team. We ran up and down the field avoiding tree stumps, ditches, and goats in an effort to score a goal. In the end, we fared well: a 3-3 tie. It was a great way to end the day, even if most of the Earthwatch team had to walk home exhausted from playing.