Staff and volunteers had a great time participating in a beach clean up event along Mida Creek. This event is part of ARK's environmental education program, in celebration of World Environmental Day. Along with a number of other organizations including the Kenya Wildlife Service and Watamu Turtle Watch. Garbage bags and gloves were handed out to students, teachers and locals, who were set loose to clean up as much rubbish as possible!
Public meetings and other social gatherings seem to always happen under the shade of the largest tree in the community. Pretty cool, in both senses of the word.
Ted (a volunteer from Canada) and Tsofa Mweni, ARK's environmental education coordinator. Tsofa is quite a character (as you can see...this blonde wig is supposed to make them look like brothers) and is extremely good at interacting with childern.
After some instructions on safety and where to go, the kids recieved bags and gloves and proceeded to pick up as much trash they could find. Roughly 90 childern from four different schools, as well as childern from Chipande village (foreground), participated in the beach clean up.
Scouring the beach and surrounding area for anything not bio-degradeable.
The kids were quite proud of what they collected.
Over 400 kg of "taka taka" - and a chicken - were collected in only an hour.
After the clean up a couple of tug-of-war games were organized between students and organizations.
Cheering and shouting encouragement, the kids and fans alike had a great time.
The collected garbage was then thrown in a pit and burned. I know, kinda ironic, but it does illustrate the complexity of environmental issues in Kenya. There are limited recycling facilities or programs in Kenya and landfills don't keep the rubbish contained very well.
After the games Tsofa talked to the kids about the effects of pollution on the environment and wildlife. The highlight of his talk was when a live turtle being rehabilitated at the Watamu Turtle Watch facility was shown to the group. Many kids had eaten turtle meat but not many had actually seen a live one or learned that many turtles die from eating plastic bags, mistaken for jellyfish.
At the end of day we handed out biscuits (cookies) and juiceboxes for everyone involved. The faces above sum up the entire day.