Hey Everyone!

A few days ago we visited a place called KFRI. KFRI stands for Kenya Forestry Research Institute. Our purpose for this visit was to expand our knowledge in forestry, especially in aloe and bamboo production. The Children and Youth Empowerment Centre has two areas of land, one of which has a large amount of aloe plants. During our time at KFRI, we learned about the policies about growing aloe, collecting aloe, and the production of aloe based products. The collection of aloe would help the CYEC to produce revenue based on the aloe sales or aloe based products. The Kenya Forestry Research Institute developed soaps, lotions, and shampoos which contained aloe. This was very helpful to learn that this indigenous plant was able to be collected and used to create a money making product.

We also learned about woodworking with bamboo. Bamboo is equivalent to a wooden weed, as it can grow large amounts in very short amounts of time. This product can be substituted for the typical lumber in many instances. For example, we walked through KFRI’s woodshop, where they were utilizing bamboo. They were making wooded stools, bed frames, couches, dressers, and rocking chairs. The wood work that these carpenters did was absolutely amazing. The quality of the wood work was unbelievable, and the best part was that everything was hand-made. We were able to go to KFRI’s showroom of previously made products, where you could purchase the items on display. I bought a large serving plate, which cost only 1,200 Kenya Shillings, which is equivalent to about $8. This plate could have easily have cost at least $75 in the United States. I was very surprised with the price of such great quality.

Overall this trip was a very educational and very exciting one. We are currently in the process of processing the information we learned and at some point we will develop some educational materials on how to grow and produce products containing aloe and bamboo. I love you MOM!!

Written by: Dan Connell

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