Building on our previous visits there in 2009 and 2010, the Great Primate Handshake returned this week to the community of Bore, which is around three hours outside of Malindi, in Kenya’s Coastal province.
Bore is a remote and beautiful place where wild trees and shrubs are dotted with fields of maize or cashew nut crops, and dramatic red cliffs can be seen on the horizon. The most striking thing about Bore, though, is not its scenery, but the people who live there. Bore is a community in which many residents work tirelessly to preserve their environment and improve the livelihoods of all the community’s members, and this work has seen huge changes take place since our last visit.
In 2010, the community relied on the river that runs through their village for all their water, and with drought a recurring problem, this source was rapidly dwindling. With support from UK company Treeflights, some community members were able to increase their earnings with cashew and mango crops, and the local primary school had been able to install solar panels to enable lessons to continue even after dark, and to allow teachers to communicate more easily by keeping their mobile phones charged. Reforestation, also with support from Treeflights, was ongoing in an attempt to increase water security, as forests act as a water catchment area.
Now, two years later, the river running through Bore is almost completely dry, but with help from Treeflights’ sister company, Community Carbon Link, and UK charity Size of Wales, a well has been dug in the village and a solar pump installed, along with thousands more seedlings being provided to continue the reforestation effort and provide residents a livelihood from the sale of cashew nuts and mangoes. With drought hitting the region again this year, the staple maize crops are likely to fail, and water from the well must stretch even further, highlighting the importance of a continued commitment to support Bore’s residents in their aims to live safely and sustainably in their environment.
Our two main aims for this visit were to collect footage for Community Carbon Link’s new One Tree, One Child, One Planet initiative, and to help members of the Bore Green Umbrella decide on a location for the visitor centre they are planning.
One Tree, One Child, One Planet aims to plant a tree for each child at Bore’s Kundeni Primary School. If an individual donates £1.50 (one tree) Size of Wales doubles this, giving the school two new trees and some leftover money to put towards the new facilities and equipment it needs. With over 300 pupils and only five classrooms, the most urgent priority is a new building in which to teach, as some pupils can only come to school for half a day as there simply isn’t space to teach all the pupils at the same time. There is also a need for more uniforms and shoes for the pupils, as many parents can’t afford to buy these for their children, and some children are orphans who rely completely on the school. We will soon be uploading more content about our trip to Kundeni Primary School so you can find out more about the challenges faced by teachers and pupils there, but in the meantime, you can donate or buy a tree here.
After a fantastic morning at the school, some members of the Handshake team stayed in the village to interview residents about the work ongoing there, while the rest of us went with Bore Green Umbrella members Alex and Theophrastus to look at the ten acre plot set aside for their visitor centre above the breathtaking Hell’s Kitchen.
The Bore Green Umbrella members, numbering over 300 and led by a committee of 16, have big plans for the plot, with the visitor centre intended to give people a chance to take in the beauty of the area while learning about the community conservation work being carried out there, and more tree planting intended to cover much of the rest of the land. It was clear as Alex and Theophrastus showed us around the plot that they are very passionate about Bore Green Umbrella’s work, and that those lucky enough to see the visitor centre for themselves when it is ready will take away a huge amount of knowledge and inspiration.
If you would like to support Kundeni Primary School, the Bore Green Umbrella, or any of the work ongoing in the community of Bore, please use the links below to find out more and make a donation:
Community Carbon Link: https://sites.google.com/site/communitycarbonlink/
One Tree, One Child, One Planet: https://sites.google.com/site/onetreeonechild/
Size of Wales: http://more.sizeofwales.org.uk/index.php/get-involved/
The first video made at Bore this year is now live on our YouTube channel. Watch it to hear from Alex and other community members about the ways that CCL has helped them.