Except from the students’ travel blog!

24 May Except from the students’ travel blog!

Each year, Penn State sends about 10 students to the CYEC. These students provide technical training for the CYEC’s youth. Here is an except from the students’ travel blog:

The Beauty of Kenyan Agriculture

Hey everybody! Wednesday officially marked one week of being here in Kenya, and it’s been an amazing experience so far. All the teams are making great progress (but the Ag Team is really blowing the other teams out of the water).

The past few days we, the A Team (Agriculture Team), have been continuing our surveying with Njenga, a local who works at the center on the shamba, who took us around to 6 different dairy farmers around the area. Every farmer that we met was very welcoming to us, and let us ask them all the questions we had for them and made us feel like we were among friends. The farmers we met had a wide range of number of cows and knowledge of economics, which effected how much money they invested in good quality hay, or lack thereof. It appeared that the lower the income and education, the less they cared about quality, and just wanted to make ends meet.

We also visited the Wambugu farm, which is a large compound that helps train local farmers on a variety of jobs such as coffee and livestock farming. We spoke to the manager there, who was extremely informative and gave us a lot of information we’ll be able to put to good use for our survey. Lastly was our visit to Rabbit World. Although we had to pay a little money to get in, the owner set aside a large chunk of his time to sit us down and teach us about the rabbit market in Kenya, which is something we knew very little about before. It turns out that much like goats and cattle, rabbits can go through a lot of hay (especially when they have close to a thousand of them), and they were very open to the idea of working with the youth at the CYEC that are in the hay making business, so we exchanged contacts. It was a very successful morning.

One of the big things that the whole group got to do this week is to visit Othaya, which is an area of land about 25 minutes from the center that the youth at the CYEC have been developing for ecotourism. This project has been in the making for many years and it was amazing to see how far they’ve come with it. It was a really great place to visit. Much of the brush has been cleared away to make room for farms, and since New Year’s they have constructed a workable kitchen, bathroom area, and many living areas for both tourists and residents. It was awesome to see how much the locals are pitching in to help out as well, and it appears they want it to succeed just as much as the CYEC does. The area is an extremely beautiful one, and even has Kenya’s fastest flowing river crossing through it. After we arrived to Othaya we went on a hike up a near-vertical hill. We saw some local farmers tending their banana trees, and all of the native flowers and birds that seem to be very colorful everywhere we go in Kenya.  We love it when a plan comes together.

~ Asa and Vanessa

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