Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Week Near Tsavo

The Chairman leading a meeting about the hides and skins business.
A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to work on another of GVI's projects here in Kenya.  In addition to the teaching projects and conservation work, GVI also works with several communities near Tsavo National Park that have historically been known for poaching in order to make a living.  We work with them to develop income-generating projects that can bring in a stable income instead of poaching.  Actually, many of the former poachers we work with are now working as scouts to stop others from poaching.  It's great to see the pride they take in their environment.

Me leading a handicraft workshop.
Anyway, there are 4 different communities and each one has different projects that suit their needs and skills.  One has an eco-tourism center, one raises chickens, one has bees and most do some sort of handicrafts.  The community that I worked with is the newest one to join forces with GVI and it's definitely got a bit of growth ahead of it.  They are working on developing a hides and skins storage facility (for domestic animal skins) as well as some handcrafted leather- and beadwork.

I spent the week camping in the middle of nowhere, helping the community develop some of their handicrafts to suit a more Western market.  It was quite an experience.  The community was lovely and I really enjoyed working with them.

Women celebrating the birth of a new baby in the community.
Maasai men celebrating.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

We Made Circuits!

 Yesterday, I put my kids in groups, gave them some wires, light bulbs and batteries and asked them if they could make the light bulb light up.  And they did it!  All of the groups were happily engaged and successful in every task I gave them.  I was so proud.  It was super fun watching them watch their bulb light up.  I loved how the lighting of the bulb was mirrored in the brightening expressions on their faces.

I also loved the innovation - these guys helped their batteries stay together with some paper and broken rubber band.

Hooray for science!