Category Archives: Elephants & Bees
Including beehive fence activities
Below is a report from May of this year by an International Intern, Jackie Delie, of the Elephants and Bees Team. It’s about The Farm Club at the Kileva Eastfield School, and in particular learning about how seeds grow into vegetables, fruit etc.
“Live as though you’re going to die tomorrow, but farm as though you’re going to live forever.” – Patrick Whitefield
Farming is a way of life here in Mwakoma and Mwambiti. To connect students to the farm behind their school, Elephants and Bee’s project came up with the idea to involve the children in a Farm Club. The Farm Club is a voluntary club where members learn various farm techniques, nutrition facts, and receive a practical and “hands-on” learning experience. In addition, the students can learn about a variety of methods that may deter crop-raiding elephants and about crops that are good for planting during drought seasons (particularly helpful in a climate as dry Tsavo). The goal is to build a student-organized club that gets the children thinking and caring about the seeds they plant. As an added benefit, the students can eat the vegetables and fruits planted for their school lunches.
After several months of dormant activity, the Farm Club was reintroduced with the first meeting held on 12 May, 2017. A total of 26 students, from all grade levels, were present and eager to participate in the lesson. Elephants and Bees project interns lead the first session with the theme, “How Does a Seed Grow?”
The focus of this lesson was to discuss what living things need to live and thrive, and how best to care for a seed. Then, each Farm Club member was given half of a reusable juice carton to plant their own individual bean seed. The children gathered dirt, compost material and planted their bean seed in their carton. They were left with the instructions to water, care and watch their seed grow everyday. The look of interest and fascination was in their eyes as the activity carried on.
The second half Farm Club focused on teaching a balanced and diverse way to plant, applying permaculture principles. The members were split into six groups and were responsible for planting chili, pumpkin, ground nuts and Sukuma in each of their beds. Each group planted chili on the outside of their bed as they were taught chili, with its strong smell, protects other plants from insects. Then, ground nuts were planted as a nitrogen fixer and Sukuma for nutrition. Finally, pumpkin was planted in each bed to act as a groundcover for protecting the soil from damaging rays of the sun and helping to hold moisture for longer periods of time. The members were actively engaged and getting their “hands dirty” during the reintroduction of Farm Club.
With the student’s owning their projects and creatively thinking of new project ideas for in the garden, the hope is that their new found knowledge will be applied at home and shared with other members of the community.
Below is another article from Rachel Abbott from the Elephant & Bees team.
To Make Our Environment Beautiful!
Posted on May 2, 2017 at 12:13 pm
Report by International intern, Rachel Abbott
This lovely Thursday morning, students from Kileva Eastfield Primary School joined Elephants & Bees team members for a community clean-up! The E&B team is keen to engage the students in caring for the environment. Every Wednesday we teach a one hour environmental and wildlife education lesson to Class 8 students, and we lead ongoing efforts to revitalize the school’s permaculture garden while enhancing their nutrition education and contributing to the kids’ daily diet. The E&B team is committed to working together with the school to keep these kids healthy, happy, and loving the land they live on and the animals that surround them.
We began the clean-up day at the school, handing out big garbage bags and gloves to the 10 or so students who were there on time. The kids loved their latex gloves, though they struggled a bit to get them over their tiny fingers! They worked in pairs to collect as much garbage as possible, with the promise of juice, snacks, and fun prizes at the end of the morning.
Soon after we fanned out and began collecting rubbish, more and more kids joined in the fun. By the end, we had nearly 30 kids reaching deep into the bushes to collect every piece of garbage they could find (soda bottles, crisp packets, plastic bags…etc). I personally am at the tail end of my internship with E&B, and after two months of being around these smiley, polite, goofy, hard working children, this was an amazing way to bring to a close my own involvement with the school.
However, the E&B team is just getting started, and the relationship this team has built with the children and staff I know is everlasting. This community is incredibly tight knit, as evidenced by the way kids seemed to just trickle in every few minutes as we made our way through the community, garbage bags in gloved hands! The kids, just like kids anywhere, love to be together and have fun – and these children are particularly good at making any situation memorable. Any time a little one noticed an especially large piece of trash, they would just look up at us with a coy smile like they had already won the prize.
Back at the E&B Research Center we gathered for juice and snacks and reiterated the importance of ridding the community of litter, first by asking the question, why did they think this was an important goal? Above all, they proclaimed, “To make our environment beautiful!” They also said it would help prevent the spread of diseases and keep us and our environment healthy, which is after all, our ultimate goal – healthy kids, healthy community, healthy animals and environment. While we strive every day to create a space for humans and wildlife to live in harmony, we also can’t forget to care for that space and make it as beautiful and loving as possible!
Asante sana to all of the energetic kiddos for coming and partaking in our day and to working with us to making the area we live in as free of rubbish as possible, and thanks to the E&B team for making me feel so at home these past few months.