Biodiversity of Kenya: Ecotourism

>>GWEN BAUSMITH: I was looking at a lot of
the different ecotourism that goes on in Kenya and so I was primarily focusing on wildlife-based
ecotourism and then also, on the flip side, looking at community-based ecotourism, which
is more of like the service-learning projects. So, you’re coming in and you’re actually getting
to do home stays. And so building upon and learning about the culture from a very intimate
setting rather than kind of coming to the country and just staying in a hotel and learning
about it that way to actually being immersed in that culture. And so looking at those different types of
ecotourism and how they’re impacting the local communities. And so, it was really cool because
we got a lot of different sites that you could look at to kind of compare how that money
is filtering back into the community and how the local villagers are being employed at
different resorts and things like that.>>SARAH VAN FRANK: The first service-learning
that we did was at Rukanga Primary School. And they had just finished up their new preschool
and so they were clearing some of the grass out front to make some play areas for the
children. So we got there and started clearing with slashers and with …>>GWEN BAUSMITH: Different people had different
types of hoes, I think, and slashers – just as a description – a slasher, it kind of resembles
a golf club and the tip (rather than obviously being a golf club) it’s got this kind of rounded
tip that’s sharp around the edges and you pretty much swing it like you would a golf
club as well. And it just cuts through the grass. And when you watch them slashing, it looks
wonderful and it looks relatively easy. I mean, how can you get it wrong? And yet, we
were going through, blisters and all, you know. We were sweating. We had blisters. We
felt horrible. But we’re out there slashing and thinking that we’re doing a wonderful
job, of course. And then you turn around there are several men behind you, like, slashing
away because you have done a horrible job.>>SARAH VAN FRANK: I think that there were
several times when they were like, Why don’t you go take a break. And I’m like, I’m okay.
I’m really doing okay.>>GWEN BAUSMITH: And they’re like, No really,
we’re having to redo everything that you guys are doing. But it was nice at least attempt
to help, even though we did a rather poor job. It felt really nice to be able to be
out there and help them and just know that you’re a part of this, this new school that’s
being built.>>SARAH VAN FRANK: There’s a lot of exchange
of dialogue, too. And so, I think that was a huge part of it, too. Just exchanging those
cultural stories and exchanging what our lives are like and so I think that’s part of the
service-learning as well is going and providing our time for them but also our time in talking
to them as well.

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