Maureen, sorry your Permaculture venture went sideways on you. I imagine your children keep you busy now. Thanks for sharing. My dreams of doing Permaculture in Kenya have not fruited, yet. I went back to Kenya several times hoping to do Permaculture. My mother was renting a house on the outskirts of Nairobi at the horse race course and I started planting fruits and mulching there. I could get horse manure from the horse owners. But it was not sustainable as it was a rental. So after 3 glorious months of tropical Permaculture I returned to Washington. But I did take a Permaculture course from Dee Raymer and others. This is when I learned about constructed wetlands which is a fascinating topic.
I also visited some elderly British folks who were going all out on a Permaculture project out at the Athi Plains. With a little money they could hire lots of help to dig the swales, construct beds, wetlands, nurseries, etc. I asked how it was going and they said “great”, they just wished they had started earlier in life. On a subsequent trip to Kenya I wanted to visit them again but my mother could not remember who they were. I couldn’t find their contact information.
I went around Nairobi plant nurseries looking for useful plants and found very few. It was shocking and disappointing. I hope it’s improved.
Rock dust is what one German agronomist told me was a key missing nutrient for Kenya soils. Many of the soils in Africa are ancient and have not seen fresh minerals for millennia. In Kikuyu land in the highlands of Mt Kenya, and also Mt Kilimanjaro, was amazing fertility. I saw incredible produce up there. The highlands really attracted me. Same in the tropical mountains in Panama. Also, there are fewer tropical diseases in the highlands than lower.
My Dad had malaria in Kenya. He was very secretive about it. I don’t know if he suffered from it later and hope Maureen is not. There’s better therapy now than when my Dad had it.
Growing up in Kenya we would frequently deal with thievery. We were poor but privileged whites. My mother would often argue with the hired help over missing items. My Dad was a government geologist in Kenya, a scientist, until he was promoted into managerial roles. That was it, the corruption, backhanding, and shenanigans with both the British and Kenyans rubbed him the wrong way. He took the first chance to bring us all to the USA where he could teach geology.
My older brother has returned to live and work in Kenya several times . He really likes it and misses it but does not miss the headaches. They make it VERY expensive and complicated to do live and do business or work in Kenya. In some ways what Maureen did flying under the radar on a low budget was brilliant. Living almost like a rural Kenyan. Ive considered doing something similar but am up to my neck in projects here in Washington.
Is Maureen still on Permies? Bravo, I really admire what you did. Did you get Kenyan citizenship?