During our year long trip we only had a few times and destinations set in stone and volunteering with A Rocha Kenya in Watamu Kenya was one of them. How we ended up here is an interesting story.
Last summer we became very active in the CouchSurfing.org community. We started up a weekly gathering and hosted a number of folks in our tiny Fort Collins home. And one morning we received a “couch request” from Will and Pip a young couple from England who were traveling through North America in a van the bought in Canada. That old van decided that taking I-70 west through the Colorado mountains was just too much for it and the couple was forced to reroute in order to continue west and the new route took them through Fort Collins.
But on their was through town their van needed some repairs so they turned to CouchSurfing and that is how they found Joyce and I. They stayed with us for two nights and we had a great time breaking bread and learning a bit about each other. In the course of that they told us about A Rocha which is a Christian organization that works in environmental conservation. Christian and conservation are two things that do not often go together so that alone peaked our interest. There is the not so uncommon belief among Christians that we do not need to worry about the Earth’s environment because soon Jesus will come and the world will end. Don’t get me started on just how wrong and selfish (and lazy) that sort of thinking is.
Joyce’s educational background is in biology and ecology and she has a personal interest in marine ecology so A Rocha Kenya seemed like a great place to volunteer during our journey. But we most likely would have never heard of the place if not for a van having mechanical trouble in Colorado.
Watamu is quite an interesting area of the world with a huge range of plants an animals. Many people come to go birding in the area and many others come to do a bit of diving in the reef. The town itself is not much to peak of, mosty a few roads lined with shops of all kinds. And it is very annoying to walk just about anywhere here because of the touts or the “beach boys” as they are known. They are willing to sell you everything from a necklace to a mulitday diving trip. I’d be willing to pay one just to walk a few feet behind us and guard us from all the other touts.
And there are a lot of Italians. A lot. Many of the local people have even taught themselves how to speak Italian because so many of them have moved here.