Amid a difficult week for Kenya, we've been continuing to work and spend time in the community between Kedge classes. Joe's been taking impromptu lessons from local friends in kiMaasai, the Maasai language, and I've been visiting Maasai homes to learn more about what the needs and challenges of the community are.
In our first Kedge class, we talked about the market economy and local ecology; our paritcipants had fun with our first activity in which they each got "mystery bags" that represented skills in the regional marketplace, then got to try to trade/sell those skills in exchange for other goods and services. Afterward, we took the class outdoors to begin conservation skill-building; learning to use and care for binoculars, and learning to identify some common bird species. We also went over concepts of market forces as well as responsibility for conservation and the value of enjoying nature.
After a big storm came through and dropped some much-needed rain (but also knocked out some of our network) your favorite Kedge field team found itself incommunicado until things could get up and running again.
Fortunately, all's back to normal, and not a moment too soon: yesterday marked the official start of Kedge classes, and we are pleased to say that it went excellently!
After our ten students piled into the Chief of Kawai's office (which he so graciously allowed us to use as our venue!), Alexa and I launched right into teaching the group about business basics (how local vs global markets work), and the pros and cons of owning your own business. After the business module, we introduced the basics of ecology, biome and ecosystem-level conservation, and niche theory. Finally, our brilliant colleague at the Anne K. Taylor Fund (AKTF), Elias , taught the team the basics of using binoculars and bird...
So Joe and I have arrived safely in the Mara, and we’re getting settled now into our field camp near the Oloololo Gate. We’re preparing to start the Kedge classes, and have settled on Tuesday as the best day to launch — one week from today. This way, our first class day will coincide with Market Day in Kawai (each medium-to-large town has one market day a week), so our students will be able to spend the morning with us, and then use the afternoon to do their shopping and selling in the market!
We’ll be based in the town of Kawai, where we met today with community leaders and old friends from our previous work in the area. With the support of a few very kind wazee (an mzee is a male community elder; wazee is the plural form), many younger community leaders, as well as the Warden of Oloololo Gate we’re in great shape to get started and very excited to meet our students at th...