A Quick Visit to Mau Forest – Sarah Kutahi

The first time I heard about Mau, my adrenaline pumped to levels that only allowed me to compose songs I would sing with any kid I came across in this foreign land.

It was Saturday the fourth day of June – the day I had long been waiting for. Dressed in all black, with a sweater tied around my waist, sunglasses on my forehead and a hat in hand, I arrived in the unfamiliar territory.

I booked my spot on the floor where mattresses were laid by other campers and left to explore the community. That evening I spent my time making acquaintances with the locals, among them a village elder, who also introduced himself as a lover of peace. Simon was his name. He warmly welcomed me to his home together with a few other friends. They learnt about the culture of the host community, the Ogieks. My friends and I were welcomed with honey and meat, which I later found out were the staple food of the community.

As the storytelling was going on, Simon presented us with moratina the local brew, which was surprisingly sweet and tasted like fruit. However the local brew was meant for special occasions and was only taken by wazee in marking the day, thus, I was only allowed two cups.    

On Sunday, the following day, the cold wind in the midst of the rising sun caressed my skin as I made my way through the thick forests in search of the unknown. The walk exposed me and my peers to a staggering effect with tantalizing sceneries of valleys and landscapes I never thought had a place among the tranquil greenness of the shrubs.

Kenya's maugreen movement

The young Environmental enthusiasts in the company of Forest gurus struggled to retain composure at the sight  of gigantic trees with a variety of shapes. Hoping and jumping over streams became the norm of the day for us, which made it clear to me as to why the Mau is referred to as a water tower; streams emerged out of nowhere thanks to the rate of underground seepage that occurs in places with proper tree cover.

mau forest 1

For someone who lived in the big industrialised city of Nairobi where fresh air only existed in fantasies, Mau was a sight for sore eyes. With epiphany I remembered all the articles I had read about the Mau, I remembered it being called the largest of its kind in the whole of East Africa, I remembered it being called the backbone of the country, I remembered it being the main supplier of water into the major city including my not so beloved Nairobi where the population grows unprecedentedly.

I am an environmental scientist graduate of Pwani University Kenya. I have five years accumulated experience in matters Environmental Management and Conservation. My work has seen me travel far and wide hence my knowledge in a wide range of fields including project management and planning, community culture and data management. I was introduced to writing when I interned as the co-editor with Environment Liaison Centre International. I recruited and proofread articles from prominent writers in the field. I contribute blog posts to Rural Reporters a site that attracts readership worldwide. Communicating contemporary issues that affect lives add to my passions in writing. Intersections between the planet, individual lives and sustainability cannot be ignored. When interacting with people from all corners of the world, I make sure to capture a story which I jot down and share with my fans on social media. I have had several accomplishments in project management and planning on Education for Sustainable Development which integrates children into conservation. With proficient data management skills from Kenya Wildlife Service at the Mombasa Marine Park and Global Vision International on terrestrial and marine habitats and their biodiversity, I can translate raw data into simple information for public consumption. I interned with Climate Action Programme for schools and the youth and Environmental Liaison Centre International as a co-editor graduate trainee where I was part of project implementation in ecosystem management and giving information on alternative livelihood sources in semi-arid areas of Kenya.

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