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Mombasa Traffic Getting Worse... And There Is No Hope In Sight !

Coastweek-- The traffic jams in Mombasa, which get worse by the day, are becoming a serious threat to our activities, NEWSLETTER NOTES FROM FRIENDS OF FORT JESUS.

Trips to South Coast are and have always been unpredictable because of the vagaries of the ferry which we have learned to accept.

Now however we find that we have to leave home much earlier for our Sat. bird walks.

Suddenly Nyali Bridge is a queue until well after 3.00 p.m. and if we are going to Nguu Tatu, passing Kiembeni is a nightmare.

Huge lorries, matatus that park and block the road plus 'bodaboda's which have a large parking area on the side of the already crowded road and never a policeman in sight !

Nyali members don’t want to come to town as they never know how long it will take them to get home and in fact for their sakes we have now shifted our monthly council meeting to lunchtime.

I know Nairobi traffic eliminated evening meetings of KMS and can only hope the same will not happen here.

• On Thurs Oct 24th in co-ordination with the exhibition entitled ‘Lest We Forget’ which had magnificent informative posters on the history of slavery, funded by UNESCO, there was a special event: the screening at Alliance Francaise of a documentary ‘Slave Routes’ followed by a presentation by Patrick Abungu ‘Slaving along the Kenya Coast’ and another by Ruth Lewa of SOLWODI on modern day slavery which we may not always recognise.

• One of our senior librarian’s Ms Khadijah Shariff invited me to attend the re-launch of the Kenya Library Service Coast Chapter which I did.

I have (with shame) to admit that I have never entered the Mombasa KLS building and hardly knew where it was.

As a retired librarian it was so gratifying to hear all the speeches lauding the ‘book’ as averse to the Kindle and e-books, I was with people after my own heart.

No doubt Kindles and e-books have their uses but in the vein of birds, hands and bushes I feel ‘a book in the hand is worth two on the screen’.

KLS is of course very under funded and if you have any books you no longer need please think of donating them there.  I most certainly shall.

  Speaking of technology – Doris Schaule operates (is that the right word?) a Facebook page for FFJ.  Many of you might not be aware of that.

The connection is: https:// www.facebook.com/groups/FFJmombasa  Visit and Enjoy!

Marlene Reid – Chairman

PAST PROGRAMME

Saturday 19th October, Bird Walk - Due to an invasion of the South Quarry, where we had planned to go, by tree poachers during Friday night, we had to detour to the shale quarry at Nguu Tatu.

The water in the wetland was high and so were the reeds so not so easy to see the birds however we did have a fairly impressive list of 37 species.

Special was a female Black Cuckoo Shrike (we always see more females than males for some reason) Spurwing Plovers.

A lovely flock of 14 Open-billed Storks.

These breed on the Tana River in thousands but we usually see only one or two. Not many migrant waders, a small group of Common Greenshank and a couple of Common Sandpipers; a splendid male Namaqua

Dove and flying overhead and hard to see a juvenile African Harrier Hawk.

Plenty of weavers; Village, Golden Palm and Grosbeak and after a long time we saw a pair of Scarlet Chested Sunbirds, a species we used to see regularly but which now seems scarce.

Tuesday 22nd October - AGM and Film (Pt 1 of  the ‘Bee Trilogy’)

The AGM was very well attended and we thank all the members who came, it was most gratifying to see you all there and thank you for voting in the following Council for the coming year:

As you can see we have two new members on the council; Harendra Patel (a long time member) and Rev. Ben Humphries, the padre of the Mission to Seafarers.

Others elected to office include:

Chairman Marlene Reid, Vice Chair T. Hamzali, Treasurer Fatima Lobo, Secretary Vibha Shah, and committee members Jitu Haria, E. Khediwalla and Doris Schaule. We sincerely welcome them while at the same time recognising two members who stepped down; Kalim Hassanali and Jamilla Rajabali.

We thank them for all the work that they did and look forward to maintaining a close friendship with them as members of FFJ, which they have been for many years.

After the close of the business everybody enjoyed the delicious bitings made in Essa Khediwallah’s kitchen.

To round off the evening we watched Part 1 of the ‘Bee Trilogy’, another excellent film from African Environmental Film Foundation. Part 2 and 3 will be on our Dec. programme.

Saturday 26th October - Rabai.

A trip to celebrate the New Year of the Warabai, at Rabai.

A real fun day; full of dancing, singing, cultural displays, craft stalls, lots of laughing etc.

It was raining cats and dogs as we left Mombasa on the bus but apart from a short sharp shower at Rabai it stayed dry.

We had a tour of the Krapf Museum and the Church before going to the ground where everything was happening.

Two of our members who shall be nameless, became so involved in taking part in the cultural demonstrations, pounding maize, grinding corn, traditional marriage etc. that we thought we would have to leave them behind.

A delicious and very cheap lunch was eaten at the Blessed Restaurant which was a stone’s throw away.

The UNESCO representative and his family arrived in the afternoon to join in the merriment and before we headed back to Mombasa FFJ was happy to present two new sets of football outfits to the two teams from Rabai, girls and boys.

By coincidence I see in Coast-week under ‘Twelve Years Ago’ that the Rabai Festival was being held. Good to see a good tradition continuing, thanks to William and Raphael and Chondo from the Museum for keeping up the good work and helping us with our visit.

Efforts to introduce a cultural tour are in hand ‘Footsteps of Dr Krapf’.

This will be a guide to the Mijikenda Community, crafts, traditional and cultural customs, Kayas, ending up with lunch at Nguuni Wildlife Sanctuary.

If you would like to know more about this email is: mijikendaecotourism@gmail.com

Saturday 2nd November  - Heritage Visit for schools from Gazi, South Coast

This time we had four primary schools from the Gazi area on the south coast; Gazi, Kinondo, Magutu and Vyamani.

We usually have two secon-dary and two primary but in fact we discovered that these primary children asked many more questions when they were not in competition or feeling intimidated by the older students.

Taibali’s tour of the Old Town went well, only problem was dodging the tuktuks.

An added value to the Fort was the Butterfly House which the children loved.  Thanks to Aisha for explaining butterfly farming to the children.

Breakfast by Essa and lunch by Queens were both delicious and great value for money.

Hassan Mohamed finished off the day with a tour of the Fort before the tired children were bussed back to Gazi.

These visits are such a delight ! Thanks to all the people who made this one so successful.

FUTURE PROGRAMME

Tuesday 10th December in the Fort at 7.15 p.m.  Talk by Jim Nyamu – ‘Conserving African Elephants Through Walking and Talking’

Jim will be talking on this occasion but about his walking, to publicise the need to conserve our elephants.

Jim embarked on his first walk ‘Ivory Belongs to the Elephants Campaiagn’ on Feb. 2011 when he walked 500 kms in 14 days.

He has since done several other walks, one this year in June when the 1st Lady of Kenya, Margaret Kenyatta joined in part of the walk.

His campaigns have given rise to the formation of many groups involving both organisations and individuals.

He has worked with the African Conservation Centre, FAO and KWS as assistant research scientist on projects based on Mt Kenya, Shimba Hills and Arabuko Sokoke Forest. This is just a small portion of his CV which is full of qualifications and honours. He will have a great deal to tell us.

We shall be giving him a donation of shs 10,000 to help with his next walk which is planned for Feb. 2014.

He will also take the opportunity, while in Mombasa, to talk to school children in co-operation with WCK.

We look forward to meeting Jim and listening to what he has to tell us.

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