Kenya has another site inscribed by UNESCO under World Heritage
Site listing, NEWSLETTER NOTES FROM
FRINEDS OF FORT JESUS.
The Marakwet Furrow Irrigation System in Kerio Valley in Elgeyo
Marakwet County has been recognised as “a testimony to a
civilisation that has transformed lives.”
The Marakwet people have developed a unique system of furrows on
the steep escarpments to provide water for irrigation, human and
animal consumption in an area where water is scarce.
The trough shaped furrows are made from stones and timber, using
age old techniques.
UNESCO adds “the use of furrows for irrigation is a
demonstration of the mastery of their harsh environment and
harnessing water for irrigation is a survival technique adopted
by these people”
However, it is not just the furrows that are unique but also the
manner in which they are managed by the various clans who own
and depend on it.
“The Marakwet people has set taboos to ensure that the furrows
are not damaged or abused. Due to this the irrigation system has
withstood the test of time” says UNESCO.
The right to water is mutually respected.
A non-bureaucratic system of water management allows clans to
borrow and share water.
The WHS listing will no doubt attract more tourists to the
scenic Kerio Valley.
There are plans by the tourism sector to open camps.
At the same time the furrows are under threat from modern
agriculture methods taking root in parts of the escarpment.
The management of this fragile ecosystem site therefore requires
Statistics on marine pollution indicate that some 12 million
tons of plastics are disposed to the oceans every year.
Of that only 14 per cent is recycled.
The rest ends on beaches and in the stomachs of sea animals and
birds that feed from the oceans.
If plastic pollution is not curbed its effect on marine life
will be devastating.
In Lamu, a dhow project, dubbed ‘FlipFlopi’, was started in 2016
essentially to demonstrate how plastics can be recycled and to
inspire others to come up with innovative ways of reusing
Built from 45 tons of plastic collected from Lamu’s beaches the
18 metre long dhow was launched this early this month, with much
Lamu’s dhow making tradition goes back hundreds of years.
The FlipFlopi construction adopts the ancient techniques still
practised by traditional boat builders.
The same craftsmen who have been building dhows using only
timber made the all plastic FlipFlopi.
The boats structural skeleton including the keel and ribs are
made from moulded plastic.
The hull and deck are faced in colourful flip flops and its
dramatic shimmering sail is woven from thousands of strands of
The colourful eye catching FlipFlopi is set to sail along the
East African coast and South Africa with a crew of 20 made up of
plastic ambassadors, cameramen and conservationists.
It will be a beacon for raising awareness among the law makers,
manufacturing companies and public on the need for sustainable
and responsible use and disposal of plastic waste.
Congratulations to all who made this possible!
Our 40th AGM marks 40 years of the society’s
This is a milestone moment for us and hope you will make a
special effort to attend.
Best wishes to our Hindu members on the occasion of ‘Navratri’
festival (nine nights of dancing) that is presently under way
and a Happy Diwali and New Year that will be celebrated on 7th
and 8th November. (Taibali Hamzali, Chairman)
Saturday, 15th September - Bird Walk at Nguunu
It is always good to be back at the birding hot spot of Mombasa
North and as usual expect the unexpected !
Already on our way up to the sundowner picnic site we
logged 3 species: Long-tailed Fiscal, White-browed
Coucal and Water Thick-knee; these belong to the more
usual species at Nguuni !
Not so common are Madagascar Bee-eater, of which we
watched about 12, some showing off their acrobatic
skills and others preening themselves.
This bee-eater species from the South visits us from
around July to September.
We visited the ponds to the North and the lily-ponds in
search of waterfowl but only flushed a Black Crake !
One sharp-eyed member spotted a Greater Blue-eared
Starling, quite rare to see at Nguuni nowadays and we
all had to put our binos to good use in order to find a
Verreaux Eagle Owl well camouflaged in the foliage of a
PHOTO: DORIS SCHAULE
Some House Crows had given it’s position away by hovering above
the trees and trying to dislodge the owl.
After 2 hours we had spotted and identified 26 precious species
in this part of Nguuni alone.
On the way out I couldn’t resist to pay a visit to a more hidden
pond and believe you me…approx. 100 White-faced Whistling Ducks
and 11 not so common Fulvous Whistling Ducks seemed to have a
What a sight!
Last but not least, a Long-crested Eagle in the distance,
watched us heading to the exit!
There is just no end to the surprises one can enjoy on a bird
walk! (Doris Schaule)
Tuesday, 25th September at 7.15pm - ‘Waste to
Art’: Illustrated talk by Julie Myra, WMA
Julie started with an overview of Watamu Marine Watch and the
work they do.
One of their core activities is ‘EcoWorld’ a waste management
centre that we visited recently.
The clean-up programme is so successful that there is now a
scramble for waste at Watamu and flip flops are in short supply
This is because the locals who have become aware of the income
potential of waste are scavenging the beach with gusto.
Besides EcoWorld there are many individuals in Watamu who have
ventured on their own to produce beautiful objects from waste
and this in itself is an inspiring story.
Julie spoke about the Waste Education Programmes that she runs
Students from Kindergartens to University are invited to the
centre for a hands on experience on how to make useful objects
and artwork from waste.
The older generations, perhaps not too artistically orientated,
are taught how to generate cash from waste.
This helps to inculcate better waste management, generates some
cash and helps to curb pollution.
We saw how building blocks are made from plastic and glass
This technology is spreading fast and there are now a number of
private houses built in this way.
The locals realise the cost benefits and understand that waste
is a resource.
Eco world were asked to consider holding a similar workshop for
Mombasa schools in conjunction with Fort Jesus Education
Department to raise awareness in waste management.
We also hope Eco-world will have an exhibition of their products
made from waste so that his important message of responsible
waste management is spread to a wider audience.
Julie came with a range of products that are marketed by
Thanks to Julie for travelling all the way from Watamu and her
excellent and inspiring presentation.
Tuesday, 14th October at 7.00pm at Fort - EGM and
Notices for the meetings and agendas have been sent earlier by
The Extra Ordinary Meeting will precede the AGM.
As there is only one item on the agenda we expect this will be
After the AGM business there will be refreshments, courtesy of
FFJ, followed by screening of a short documentary film, ‘Haunt
of the Fishing Owl’.
Fishing Owls are rare nocturnal species with a wing span of 5
feet making them one of the world’s largest predators.
This is a National Geographic production, spectacularly filmed,
in the un-spoilt wilderness of Burundi’s Coco banga river delta
The AGM is an important date in our calendar when we take stock
of the past year. We hope you will all make a special effort to
Saturday, 20th October - Bird walk at Vipingo
This month’s bird walk is at Vipingo Ridge. Meeting point is at
the gate at 2.45pm to clear security protocols in time for start
of walk at 3.00pm. Please carry your ID documents.
Vipingo Ridge sustains a large variety of birdlife and this
promises to be an exciting afternoon.
For more information see our Facebook page or contact Doris
Schaule Tel: 0722 277752. Email:
Saturday, 27th October - Outing: Rabai Cultural
Festival for ‘Mwaka Muphya’
Mwaka Muphya is an important cultural event that marks the
beginning of the Rabai community’s New Year.
This year festivities will be held at the grounds of the Dr.
Krapf Memorial Museum.
There will be plenty of activities showcasing the Rabai culture;
dances, exhibitions of local handicrafts and produce, fashion
show, games competitions and food stalls selling local
We shall also officially ‘hand over’ the benches that FFJ
Meeting point is at the Museum car park at 10.30am. If you are
interested in joining and/or would like a seat in shared
transport (at about 1,300/= pp., assuming full van) please
Kalim Hassanali: Email:
email@example.com or by SMS 0735 209 814 before
Tuesday, 30th October at 7.15pm at Fort - Book
Launch and Talk
by Judy Aldrick on ‘Sir Ali bin Salim and the making of
We are delighted to welcome back Judy Aldrick for the launch of
her latest book on the life of Sir Ali bin Salim, published by
This is the latest addition to several books that Judy has
written on the history of Kenya and prominent personalities of
About the book: Sir Ali bin Salim (c1870-1940) was a distant
relative and representative of the Sultan of Zanzibar.
He was born in Malindi and rose to prominence under the Colonial
Regime succeeding his father as Liwali of the Coast.
His public life was sometimes controversial as he struggled to
provide leadership for the Coastal people and work with the
Colonial officials to maintain peace and prosperity in Mombasa.
His chief legacy is the many institutions, schools and public
works, which owe their existence to his generosity and foresight
- several of which are still serving the tow today.
It was due to his enthusiastic support for town planning and
road building that Mombasa emerged fit for the modern era and
was able to become the major port and metropolis it is today.
He gave land and endowments and helped wherever he could.
His name continues to resonate in Mombasa and he is deservedly
considered to be the most famous Coastal Leader of his era.
Copies of book will be available for sale after the talk and
Judy will be there for book signing.
All of Judy’s talks have always been very popular and we look
forward to an interesting and well attended event.