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"Culture is the heritage of us all. some may be more interested than others in the treasures of the past, but no one can fail to take a pride in his country's participation in the story of mankind, as represented in carvings, sculpture, music, paintings and the other arts. And there is a personal commitment to this, for no man can really say he is alone: we are all joined through our identity, with the cultures which are part of the mainstream of life"
- Simon Kapwepwe, Zambian Independence Freedom Fighter

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm" - Winston Churchill

"Try to be the rainbow in someone else's cloud" - Maya Angelou

"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinion drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition" - Steve Jobs

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Kenya Dig it? Yes We Can!

I read this article today about how Kenya is going to try and save its largest forest, Mau, by trading carbon units to be able to reforest and in turned earn billions of dollars a year for 15 years! Reading more about how important the forest is to a third of the country's population reminded me of a program I watch while at home.  The quote "Many local people understand the value of the forest" reminded me of the episode of Great Africans I watched on DSTV about the 2004 Nobel Peace prize winner, Wangari Maathai (who if you don't know about read up on her she is AMAZING!!!) the founder of The Green Belt Movement. In the program she talked about how when she was younger she remembers how she was taught which trees were to be cut for firewood and which were to be left like the Fig tree due to its long roots that keep the soil intact during the rains.  We Africans had such knowledge of our ecosystems and lived at one with the land but we have lost a lot of that.

I came across this quote today too from Mzee Jomo Kenyatta: "When the missionaries came to Africa, they had the Bible and we had the land.  They taught us to pray with our eyes closed. when we opened them, we had the Bible in our hand and they had the land." 

The above program talked about how the English came and cleared a lot of the land without thought due to the fertility of the land caused by the unique qualities of the Rift Valley and how this, as well as locals following suit, has caused Kenya to increasingly suffer from more and more droughts due to the fact that trees no longer form trapment areas for rain water. Even though Kenyatta made an crudely astute observation about how religion was used as a facilitator for colonialism, we need to start having faith in our own knowledge and make the decisions to revert back to some of our old practices while also embracing the knowledge we have also adopted.

What Kenya is trying to do is something that all African countries need to be doing. We need to exploit our resources in a productive not destructive manner.  And we need to be in control, especially with green issues as we are suffering from the brunt of the adverse effects climate change.  Which sucks really because we are not the main culprits.  But such is life, what can we do? What Kenya's doing that's what! :)

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