Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Director Participates In Climate Change Conference

Kenya Office Director Boaz Adhengo presented a poster at a conference at the Multi-Media University of Kenya. The conference theme was “Climate Change and Natural Resource Use in Eastern Africa: Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation.” This was the third Scientific Conference of the Ecological Society for Eastern Africa in conjunction with the Pan Africa Climate Justice Alliance. The conference convened from the May 19-22 and will brought together key stakeholders in the environmental philosophy of East Africa. Though the major defining strategy was to discuss climate change within its multiple realms, there were also avenues for analyzing energy and the business dilemmas that steer development in ways that are not sustainable.

Adhengo's poster drew from a paper that he presented in 2009, “Ethical Implications of Ecotourism on Sustainable Development.” The poster is designed to draw the participant into understanding the patriotic role that humans must adhere to, for we are citizens of the world, and climate change has no borders. Destruction looks for no visas, for it is interdependent, interconnected and cross cutting. Adhengo believes we must work as a team as much as we preserve our aesthetics.

Monday, May 10, 2010

USDA & George McGovern Visit Kenya on Food Program

USDA Deputy Under Secretary Darci Vetter Visits Kenya Tours Food Program Sites

George McGovern Visits School Sites in Nairobi Meets with Farmers in Rural Areas

USDA Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service’s Deputy Under Secretary Darci Vetter, right, will join former Senator George S. McGovern, left, in Kenya May 10-16 to visit World Food Program sites and observe, first-hand, how nutrition programs fit into broader food security initiatives in Africa. The World Food Program is an important participant in USDA’s McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program. McGovern currently serves as the Ambassador to the World Food Program and was recognized in 2008, along with Sen. Robert Dole, by the World Food Prize for his leadership in forging the link between the productivity of American farmers and the needs of hungry children around the world.

Vetter and McGovern will visit school feeding sites in Nairobi and rural areas and meet with communities that are establishing homegrown school feeding programs. Additionally, they will meet with small farmers who participate in the World Food Program’s local and regional procurement program. Vetter will also have the opportunity to visit agricultural development projects in the dairy and cassava sectors.

The McGovern–Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, administered by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, helps support education, child development, and food security for some of the world’s poorest children. It provides for donations of U.S. agricultural products, as well as financial and technical assistance, for school feeding and maternal and child nutrition projects in low-income, food-deficit countries that are committed to universal education.

USDA and FAS Food Aid Programs

Contact: Katie Gorscak
(202) 720-0555

Director Visits Voi, Uhuru Park & Tsavo National Park

AAEA Keyna Director Boaz Adhengo and some colleagues visited some outlying areas to examine and experience nature and environmental conditions. He visited the Taita Hills of Voi, Tsavo West National Park, and other areas. The pictures below are from the trip.

Heading through Taita Hills

Arriving at venue

Tsavo National Park

Wundanyi landscape

One of the paths used

Walking down a path

Preparing to return to Nairobi

Monday, May 3, 2010

Glass Manufacturing at Kitengela: Featuring Anselm Croze

Boaz & Ostrich in Background

AAEA Kenya Director Boaz Adhengo, right, took an academic expedition to Kitengela, together with our graphic designer (at Project Nabuur) and a volunteer apprentice.

Anselm Croze, left, took over the business that was started by his mother. He collects all sorts of glasses and recycles them into wonderful products. He does this at Kitengela, where the family home is situated. Thus, in this huge track of land, he houses all their staff, has a small conservatoir for wild animals (ostrich, turtles, wathogs, monkeys, camels) and is a full fledged tour attraction facility. Croze is a graduate of Business Administration, but glass creativity is a passion that he has developed into a profession.

Anselm Croze was born in Cumbria in northern England. He came to Kenya with his father, Harvey Croze, an environmental zoologist who worked in the Serengeti. Anselm remembers home-schooling in a tent in Tanzania; later, he was the one little mzungu kid amongst many black urchins in a small, one-room rural school, running around, getting into dirt and trouble. Later still, he drove a taxi around Ann Arbor, Michigan, because he had run out of money to pay his university fees in the U.S.A. He understands hardship quite well, and he understands the value of practical methods of showing solidarity.

Anselm Croze presides over the hot glass division of Kitengela Glassworks. At Kitengela, Anselm combines his passion for the environment with his passion for glass art; he places his art in his environment with the same creative joy with which he weaves the environment into his art. Many Kenyan homes have some of Kitengela’s luminous hand-crafted glasses, vases, platters, and bowls in shades ranging from deepest blue and emerald green to delicate pastels the colour of illuminated water from the sea. All are created from 100% recycled, reclaimed, and salvaged materials. A lucky few are able to make the trek out to the busy hive of activity that is the source of the art.

Anselm is planning no less than a revolution: an African hot-glass movement in which handcrafted glass from every region across the continent, complete with regional specializations and signature colours, will present itself to the world as another indicator of Africa’s global-level creativity, another way in which African cultural production continues to innovate, re-imagining and renewing itself.

The way to the workshop is over rutted roads with more craters than the moon and through wafting billows of dust. That certain features of the landscape are not geological formations takes a while to notice. The visitor’s eye wanders over the seductively wide horizons of the Kitengela plains and then zooms back to a strange mound in the middle of the openness.

His sometimes disturbing artwork is out in the open, harmonizing surprisingly with the grass and rocky outgrowths and trees. His is not the only artwork on display, because he believes in artistic collaboration and engages in many joint projects with other artists. But his is certainly the animating spirit behind the exuberance and the rigour of the art.

At Kitengela, Glassworks, groups of men in protective overalls with old socks on their hands toil and sweat surrounded by roaring furnaces and bubbling glass. The men wield curious long-handled metal pipes with dexterity and controlled haste. These they sometimes plunge, twisting, into the hearts of the fires roaring around them before sitting to twirl and pad the glass into shape ,or dunking them in the buckets of cold water next to their workstations. The workshop sounds like a living thing, with water hissing, fires crackling, and the footsteps of the glassworkers syncopating as they wield their long pipes, tipped with glowing bulbs of molten glass, like fiery dreams waiting to be imagined into life. Work proceeds like a strange and dangerous ballet: The fires are very hot, the space is not very big, and the glass must be shaped before it cools—which happens very quickly with recycled glass. The men move with an eerie awareness of each other—their metal rods swinging through the dark interior like fireflies bobbing in the evening light.

Kitengela Glassworks supports the Bosco Boys Home (where Anselm recruits many of his glassmaking trainees), as well as the local high school, with material and financial support. More importantly, Anselm Croze is intent on passing on his skills and his love of glass and making beauty to as many Kenyans as possible; given the abundant evidence in his Kitengela Hot Glass retail outlets, this is a skill that is economically beneficial as well as soul satisfying.