Mkwiro, The Village Of Hidden Treasure
Mkwiro is the land of hidden treasure. By treasure I mean people, marine resources and serene environment. Mkwiro is a small village found on Wasini Island on the Southern coast of Kenya. This village is well known to tourists who visit Kisite Mpunguti marine national reserve and park. This village acts as an access point to the conservation areas. It once hosted the Global Vision Team who carried out research on marine species and aided the community in improving their literacy levels. This team put Mkwiro on the global map and opened its treasure to the world.
The people of Mkwiro are mostly Digo of the Mijikenda with a mixture of Tanzanian citizens who cook like geniuses and are hospitable to everyone. The only rule to observe here is the dress code which should be knee length for both ladies and gentlemen, with shoulders and head covered. There is only one school in this village known an Mkwiro Primary School with very energetic pupils who would make you see the difference between a town bred child and the naive yet curious child of Mkwiro. These people carry with them rich knowledge on waste management, and disposal of sewage which is influenced by their care for nature.
The first thing one notices on entering Mkwiro is its serene environment and as I mentioned earlier the people’s love for nature has helped greatly in maintaining it. You will not be met with any plastics as they deploy the use of the “Refuse rule.” The people of Mkwiro hardly carry any plastic to the island and if they do they make sure to reuse it for a very long time to avoid the need for more polythene or plastic containers.
They have knowledge in artifacts and therefore are able to make ornaments from worn out cooking pots and flip-flops that are washed ashore by the ocean. Apart from non-biodegradable waste, they use coconut shells to make the same ornaments and are very willing to pass on this information and art at a very affordable fee to visitors. Contrary to many Island dwellers who dispose off their waste into the ocean, the Mkwiro people are very careful with their raw sewage and therefore have well built latrines. There is also a rule that come with the use of these structures, “do not throw toilet paper into the pit” the first time I heard of this rule I was left wondering and cursing all day, but then my senses came back to me with the reason behind it. Paper takes longer than stool to decompose and therefore may lead to premature filling of the pit, instead they burn it.
This would be a very good place to explore and connect with Mother Nature while learning the Swahili culture that respects biodiversity. Accommodation is cheap in the only resort found here known as the Reef. If one feels adventurous enough they are welcome to stay in Swahili homesteads where they are treated as part of the family and therefore indulge in every single activity just to give a sense of belonging. The activities include: cooking, fetching water from the ocean and going about the daily house chores.