Mother and daughter take time to learn and help at the Conservation Project in Kenya
Manila Wise (58) and Kathryn Arnold (27) are not your usual volunteers; they are a mother and daughter team. Both teachers back home in Colorado, Manila and Kathryn also share a keen interest in conservation and the environment; which motivated them chose to travel to Kenya and volunteer at the Projects Abroad Conservation Project.
Despite the short time they were in Kenya, mom Manila and daughter Kathryn had the opportunity to experience both working in the wild and the local Kenyan culture: “We wanted to learn about Kenya, its people and their customs, volunteering seemed like a good fit as we could learn and help at the same time.”
Based at the Kigio Wildlife Conservancy, Manila and Kathryn’s presence, and that of others before them, has been valued: “Due to the lack of monitoring resources, volunteers fill the gap to complete projects, without the volunteers they wouldn’t be able to have the necessary means to keep the conservancy open. We help monitor the conservancy and especially support the endangered giraffe species.”
Along with other volunteers, Manila and Kathryn have helped reduce the risk of poaching with the maintenance of fences, helped with night surveys and animal tracking through camera traps. They also helped maintain a tree nursery. “We have been learning about ecosystems and how they work, how humans affect ecosystems through farming and tree cutting and how humans can coexist with the wildlife,” says Manila.
Despite living at the conservancy, away from the hustle and bustle of big Kenyan cities, Manila and Kathryn still learnt a lot about the culture: “Life moves much slower, due to the lack of electricity cooking is done with charcoal and machetes are used instead of weed cutters but life here makes you relax and the staff here were very welcoming and made us feel at home.”
Seeing giraffes up close and walking among the animals on a daily basis were one of their most memorable experiences: “This is a trip that will be memorable to both of us because every task we performed had a purpose and the impact of our work was clear to see.”
After their two week’s volunteering adventure in the Kenyan savannah, Manila and Kathryn have this piece of advice for future volunteers: “Whenever you can, no matter when, where or age please do volunteer!”