Always great to get stories straight from the field. Our Kenya Gappers took some time out from wallowing in the mangrove mud and sent this little story of their week assisting the Baraka Mangrove Conservation group. Thanks for sharing! And if anyone has an article or blog or would like to write one on their experiences with us, please drop us a line…

We set out Monday morning ready to journey to Camp Makongeni and begin our week of marine conservation. Everyone was excited to have a family holiday away at another camp and we weren’t disappointed when we arrived. We had an orientation around the village and were taken down to the mangroves where, whilst trying to sidestep the crabs, we learned about their importance whilst also being shown the many fish ponds that we would be working to develop during our stay.

We launched straight into work that afternoon and were split into two groups. For the week, we would be working with and learning from the mamas who live in the village so one group went to hunt for mangrove seeds whilst the other dug through the sand to find soil to plant the seeds in. Once we had completed our 200 mangrove target, we finished for the day and returned to camp for brew time!

The next day we began what would be our morning activity for the week: to widen the fish ponds and reinforce the walls. For inspiration we could see the ponds which had already been completed and had fish living in them, an important source of food for the village. The work was hard but fun and armed with our spades we reenacted the film “Holes“, after not to long we could see the results of our work as the pond began to level out and widen. Various techniques were tried and tested for crossing the sludgy mud each time resulting in various people being sucked in to knee level!

In the afternoon we resumed the activity from the previous day, this time having to widen the search for an area with mangrove seeds and again we reached our 200 target.

The following morning we once took up our spades ready to take on the ponds and after completing one we were able to move on to the next with a brief break for a quick and necessary mud fight! That afternoon we were able to take mangroves which had already been planted in bags and had started to grow and transfer them to the edges of the ponds where they could act as a barrier and prevent soil erosion.

Thursday morning we took up our posts again and continued with our work digging the ponds and in the evening we got to see the benefits of the ponds which were already in use as we all got to fish! In pairs we used mosquito nets to sweep through the water and gather as many fish as possible to then be measured and returned to the water allowing their progress to be monitored. We relaxed in the evening by having a games night which tested our singing ability as well as our flexibility which we hoped would help us with our digging the next morning!

For our final morning we dug furiously as we tried to close up a gap in the wall of the pond leaving it ready to be used.

We then spent our final afternoon with the mamas planting mangroves scattered over the land which we gave our blessings to with the hope that they would grow well! We spent our final evening enjoying the beauty of the mangroves we had enjoyed the week preserving with a swim.

We really enjoyed our week and although sad to leave were happy to know that such important and good work would be continued by the next group to stay.