Panda Miti (Plant a Tree)

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One of my colleagues and friends in Kenya, Paula Braitstein, also happens to be the heroine of the Pombo-Sabor (Kaptagat) Forest. Kaptagat Forest is a highland forest northeast of where we stay in Eldoret. This forest originally was rich with amazing cedars, rosewood, and fig trees, but the forest cover has been deteriorating. Here's Paula's description of what's been going on with the forest (from The Star):

"The link between forests and water is undisputed and it is well known that conserving forests brings rains and conserves natural waterways, yet forests all over Kenya, including Pombo-Sabor, are being eliminated with resultant droughts, floods, erosion and desertification," says Braitstein.  "Most of the commercially valuable wood such as rosewood and cedar have been removed from the Pombo-Sabor forest long ago and charcoal burners and firewood makers are rapidly destroying what's left. They destroy in a day what took hundreds of years to become what it was."

Paula is one of AMPATH's co-directors for the research field program and a great researcher, but her secret talents include community organization and environmentalism. Paula has spear-headed an amazing community-based effort to replant the Kaptagat Forest. Today, her group organized their second annual tree-planting event. It was the official Day of the African Child, and so they involved over 400 children from 2 dozen local schools and gave them each two seedlings to take home - one for planting at their home and one for their school. It was a great day to celebrate the forest and Africa's children with trees to plant for the generations to come.

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A rough translation from the Swahili:

Plant a tree.

A tree is water.

Water is health.

Health is wealth.

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Posted at 19:39

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