Ms. Wonson Goes to Kenya!

Thoughts on and photos from one teacher's adventures with Earthwatch.

November 04, 2008

Kenya watching the U.S. election

I haven't found much to write about recently, so my guess is that no one is reading this blog these days, but just in case, I thought I'd make a quick comment about today's election. According to the Today show, many Kenyans are watching today's election in the U.S. closely, because Barack Obama has Kenyan roots. The Today show's report from the village where one of Obama's grandmothers lives can be seen after a report from Iraq in the video below.

May 14, 2008

Globe Trekker goes to Samburu!

In case any of my former students are still checking in, I had to share my surprise as I watched a show that they will (I hope) remember. Glober Trekker was a show that I used frequently in my classes, and I still enjoy it now that I am no longer teaching. Imagine my surprise when tonight's episode in Kenya and Niger focused on the Samburu people! I am so excited to see a different look at the region and people I so enjoyed when I visited Kenya with Earthwatch. I'm pretty sure I even recognized one green area in the middle of a laga!

The show also visited Lewa Downs, where some of the Earthwatch expeditions in Kenya work.

March 11, 2008

Earthwatch resuming projects in Kenya

I was so happy to receive an email from Earthwatch late last week announcing that the projects in Kenya, which had been suspended due to election-related violence, will be resumed beginning April 1. It's good to know that important environmental research in Samburu and other parts of Kenya will continue. I just wish I could get back there!

January 21, 2008

Oprah gives students a way to help kids in developing countries

I'm home today because of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday, and I'm watching Oprah, which I rarely have a chance to do.

I just learned about Oprah's O Ambassador's programs and wanted to pass on the word in case anyone is interested. It makes me wish that I were still teaching so that I could get a program going!

You can form an Ambassador's club at your school. Clubs explore the 4 Millennium Development Goals from the UN (poverty, education, health, and sustainable development) and raise money that will go to a specific area of the developing world.

Why do I care? Well, the ad for this program that came on a few minutes ago showed a group of students raising money to build a school in Kenya. East Africa is one of the areas that is meant to be helped by the O Ambassadors program, and so I'd like to spread the word and encourage people to get involved.

If you are a teacher, parent, or student interested in the program, check out the website.

January 17, 2008

Not Kenya-related, but pretty cool

Yes, I know this is a blog about Kenya. However, since I related similar news stories about Madagascar to my students in the past, I just have share, on the off-chance that any of them are still out there reading this.

Botanists have discovered a previously-unknown tree species living in Madagascar. The palm tree flowers only once after 100 years, and the effort of flowering weakens the tree to the point that it dies off within months.

No one is sure how this species has been missed until now, or even how it got to Madagascar. It closely resembles a palm-tree species found more than 3,700 miles away in Asia. Botanists therefore theorize that the tree has been living unnoticed on the island since Madagascar split from the Indian subcontinent 80 million years ago.

Ever since my time in Madagascar with the Peace Corps, I have found it fascinating that new plants and animals are still being discovered on the big red island.

To read more about this latest discovery, click here.

January 01, 2008

Election-related violence in Kenya

I was saddened today to read about the election-related violence currently plaguing Kenya. Disputed election results have resulted in riots and deaths in Nairobi and other Kenyan towns. I hope that the friends I made during my Earthwatch expedition are safe.

For more information about the violence, click here to read an article from today's LA Times.

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July 01, 2007

Malnutrition among the Samburu

The video below explains the results of a UNICEF study about malnutrition among the Samburu. As drought persists in the region, it becomes increasingly difficult for Samburu families to get enough food. Women and children, in particular, are at risk. Watch the video for further details.

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