Assets Second camp

The assets second camp was on from 28th of August and ended yesterday 30th August.It was a three day camp with alot of activities just like the first camp.The students who are first year beneficiaries got to learn about the environment and conservation.A total of 20 students and a teacher and a parent were in this camp. The first day the students were taken to the Mwamba nature trail where they learnt more about tree species and the general biodiversity of the mwanba little forest.

Thereafter there was an introduction part and this second camp was lucky to have two Assets university graduates who gave alot of encouragement to the students.

Later that day there was a talk on education and discipline by one of the Assets committee members(Mr Julius Mwawiswa).Mr Mwawiswa talked and quoted verses from the bible to give emphasis on his talk.Again the students were lucky to get a talk fromMr Rafael Magambo, the National director of A Rocha Kenya.Mr Rafael gave them sound advice on being morally upright and conservation.














It was time for games and two groups were formed,SIMBA(lion) and NYATI(buffalo).The first game was filling an empty bottle with water using hands from one member to the last.This was by giving water using the hands, then to the other member the same way until the last member who takes the water in the botlle. Nyati emerged the winners.It was then football where we had a great encounter and simba won 1-0.

In the evening the students watched a movie (finding nemo) before they went to bed.

Day two of the camp saw the students going for snorkelling after the morning glory and a powerpoint presentation from Benjo.Snorkelling  was a great experience for the students whose majority had not been in water.Mr Robert Sluka and Benjamin cowburn who are the marine biologists at mwamba led the students on this wonderful part of marine life.Students were able to see corals and different types of fish.

After snorkelling Mr Stanley gave a powerpoint presentation on drugs and HIV Aids.We later went to the Watamu turtle watch(WTW) where the students learnt alot  about turtles. We later went to games.After a tough match which ended on a 1-1 draw we went to penalties.Nine penalties were taken from both sides and Simba won 2-1.In the evening we had a session of bible study and a session of quiz in which simba won, before they went to bed

After a bird ringing session led by the director of conservation and reserch,A Rocha Kenya, Mr Collin Jackson, the last day was full of movements.The students were taken to the two eco-facilities where the bursaries come from.Mida creek was the first place they visited and were happy to learn the various species of mangroove.They were very amazed by the different species and their long biological names .They went on to climb the boardwalk. Few of them were very afraid of its shaky nature but got encouraged by their fellow students.

The second movement was visiting the Gede ruins tree platform. Here the students had a lot of fun on the platform after a tour of the ruins.

The students returned to mwamba for lunch.After lunch we had a recap of the camp and a short final quiz. The points were calculated and Simba became the overal winnere with 23.5 points and Nyati had 23 points.Prizes were awarded to the winning group.The losing group also got consolation prizes.The teacher and the parent who attended the camp were also awarded prizes. The camp ended with a prayer from one of the students and then they were shown a slideshow of all the photos taken during their stay.At 3:20 the students left mwamba.

Collecting sand dune forest tree seeds for planting

As the year begins, the ASSETS programme also has a major role to play in Conservation - the core purpose that we as the A Rocha Kenya team have with the rare and often threatened local flora and fauna.  This part of the programme involves the community members around Arabuko-Sokoke Forest and Mida Creek. They take part in tree planting activities, first through maintaining a tree nursery from which seedlings will be taken for forest enrichment in some parts of the forest that have been severely degraded due to cutting and burning of the forest. Yesterday the ASSETS Conservation Assistant, Bimbo Msafiri, was collecting some seeds from the indigenous sand dune forest Mimusops obstifolia (Mng’ambo kapehe in the local language) for the nursery from our very own tree in the grounds of Mwamba Field Study Centre. The buildings were originally built in amongst the mature sand dune forest that once stretched the entire length of the Watamu headland but for which there are only pockets remaining. We're privileged to still have some of that forest around the house and in our nature trail.

IMG_0533 Bimbo under the Mimusops tree having collected fallen seeds...

IMG_0534Seeds of the Mimusops obtusifolia for the tree nursery

Feedback from ASSETS Camp Participants

As you have seen on previous posts, we were privileged to host 18 ASSETS students last weekend for ASSETS Camp. At the end of the weekend, the students were asked to write down any feedback/comments they had about the camp and all that they got to experience. Here are some excerpts from their notes:“all the trips helped me to learn a lot of things which I didn’t know before” “At first I was afraid of swimming but because of the life jackets I found it easy to swim.” “Although I was afraid of snakes before I was impressed by the visit to the Bio-Ken Snake Farm from where I learned that there are some snakes that are not poisonous” “I would also like to thank this organization and how they help the children from poverty-stricken families” “In Mida Creek I got to know some of the different types of mangroves and what they do for the ecosystem.” “I appreciate the warm welcome you gave us, the meals and accommodation” “I have learned very important things, that actually if I am to tell one by one I may end up taking the whole day” “I wish the camp could take about two weeks so that I could continue enjoying myself” “I enjoyed all the lessons that you had for us” “Let the cooks be blessed and GOD KEEP THEM FOR A LONG TIME!” (There were many happy comments about the food, obviously meals were a highlight!) The students seem to have really enjoyed all the out trips, learning sessions, meals and games that they got to play while they stayed here at Mwamba Field Study Center, which makes it all very worthwhile for all the staff and volunteers who participated.

swimming A big thank you goes to Stanley, Festus, and Bimbo, who put in a lot of time preparing. They are hard at work now preparing for our second ASSETS Camp, which takes place from August 27-29. Keep us in your prayers as we hope to provide a wonderful experience for this group coming in!

Appeal regarding forth-coming Summer Camps

Environmental Education Officer, A Rocha Kenya June and July are supposed to the coldest months at the coast of Kenya, equivalent to winter in temperate zones. Indeed it is quite cold at the moment, about 24° Celsius. I guess we are experiencing our share of the effects of climate change to which we have though in small ways contributed to. Climate change is one of the topics to be discussed by the ASSETS beneficiaries during the upcoming camps. On the 3rd and 4th of August 20 local children will be gathering at Mwamba Field Study Centre to participate in environmental education activities. Among the activities planned is a snorkeling trip to the Watamu Marine National Park, Bioken Snake Farm and Kipepeo butterfly project.

A similar event will hopefully be organised later in August if funding for the same is acquired. We have so far received a donation to cover the cost of the first camp. The cost per student is estimated to Ksh. 4000.00 (£29.00).

By sponsoring a student to the camp, you are giving them a life-time opportunity to interact with, explore and learn ways of  utilising the environment without destroying it.

Internship opportunities at Mwamba

How ASSETS has changed the lives of two young people, currently doing internships at Mwamba Field and Study Center. francis kitchen 2

To give you a further understanding of how the ASSETS program supports young needy people I have interviewed two young volunteers as to how ASSETS has positively impacted their lives and given them a diverse range of opportunities that would not have otherwise been available to them.

Name: Francis Kazungu

francis boardwalk

Age: 22

How many brothers and sisters do you have?

I have 2 sisters and 7 brothers

What do your mum and dad do for a living?

My parents are jobless

How did you first become involved with ASSETS projects?

In 2005 I first became involved with ASSETS, after I had passed my exams they assisted me with school fees, those whose parents couldn’t afford to send their kids to school they assisted and they paid for a high percentage of my school fees

How did you come to be at Mwamba?

After we had completed our secondary school exams they gave us internship forms to fill out, this was in June of this year (2010) after filling them in we were called to an interview at Mwamba, there were seven of us and I managed to be one of two who were accepted.

What activities are you involved with at Mwamba and with ARK?

I help assist the cook; I do some house keeping including laying the table for meals and interacting with guests. I will be going to the Gedi ruins to be in charge of the tree platform project that is re-opening by the end of this month.

Has your time here helped you learn about the environment and wildlife?

Yes because the staff encourage the importance of conserving the environment and to know deeply about the bird species and the tree species.

What are your plans for the future?

I want to start helping with conservation of wildlife and teach people the importance of conservation, so our children can get to see the different species of animals, I want to be a teacher, teaching about conservation, that is what is in my heart.

janet for blog

Name: Janet Kalama

Age: 21

How many brothers and sisters do you have?

six sisters and one brother

What do your mum and dad do for a living?

They are farmers

How did you first become involved with the ASSETS projects?

I had just passed my KCPE examination and was given ASSETS bursary forms and applied for funds for my secondary school education. They started paying for me from form one to form four at St Johns secondary school.

How did you come to be at Mwamba?

After finishing secondary school we were given an internship form and filled it out and posted it. Then we were called for an interview, had the interview and a few days later I was called to report at Mwamba.

What activities are you involved with at Mwamba and with Arocha Kenya?

I help with housekeeping, kitchen work, computer studies and office work, learning about hospitality.

Has your time here helped you learn about the environment and wildlife?


What do you hope to do after you leave Mwamba?

I want to join a teaching course and start teaching at a primary school.

It is clear to see that the projects that ASSETS offer to young people are completely life changing and life enhancing. This work helps to empower young people and encourage them to live great lives; an internship at Mwamba providing hands-on experience of team work and industry and knowledge about the environment. As well as this, the students learn about hospitality and gain an understanding of different cultures, working and meeting volunteers and guests from all over the world at Mwamba. This great work could not be possible without donations and other forms of support, so if you would like to donate to ASSETS and help to cause real and lasting change to the lives of local children, providing them with support we often take for granted, please visit: A Rocha donations page