Dec 30, 2009

News from the Aberdares

I have just received an email from the Kawama youth group, with some updates on the tree planting in the Aberdare mountains. As you can read, things are going on - despite the total lack of cooperation from the climate which in the last year has cursed us with the worst drought that Kenya had in the last 30 years (or maybe more!). Here is the update from the Kawama Group:

"In November we saw it good to plant some of our seedlings together with the Green Belt Movement which was planting in Ragia, a forest next to Kiburu where we have our planting site. The event was very successful, and we involved 15 of our members while GBM had 10 members from the adjacent community. We also had the District Forester with us and the Division Youth Officer as the Kenya Government representatives. This was a good opportunity to make good working relationships with the GBM as well the Government representatives. At the end of the day, we planted more than 500 trees, which are now growing fine as rain has been good in the last weeks.

We are now going to expand our two tree nurseries at Mwendandu and Njabini. As you can see from the photos the nurseries are growing big, At Njabini we have now more than 5,000 seedlings of several species such as Olea africana, Prunus africana and Dombeya cordata.

The older nursery at Mwendandu has more than 8,000 of the slow-growing Juniperus which is now at an advanced stage of growth and almost ready for planting, plus other species including more Dombeya, Prunus, and Olea, all of which have survived to the drought of the last months thanks to the hard work of the members who had to carry water on their shoulders from the well that is almost one kilometre from the nursery. This good availability of seedlings will ensure that we are set with a good diversity of trees to plant in the next season. We are also working on other species such as Solanecio which are not difficult to raise and are growing very fast. This process of raising seedlings might appear to be taking long but at some point people will see what we are doing. Unfortunately the bad effects of the prolonged drought have severely affected and slowed down the growth of our small trees. Now that rains have resumed we are looking forward to the next planting season in 2010.

In the meantime, we are very greatful for your continued support. Please also pass our gratitudeto all the donors who have helped us in any way."

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