Permaculture is Paving my Future – Terry Kinyahwe

During my third year of attachment at Galana Wildlife Conservancy 2016, I met a wonderful lady, Gai Cullen who introduced permaculture to me. Gai is one of the Founding Member’s of PRI Kenya and is now their Chairlady on their Board. When she talks about the work they’ve all achieved, she really lights up! You see her passion, and you’re automatically hooked!

I didn’t quite understand this ‘permaculture’ concept at first, but I saw some amazing natural products that she brought, like the moringa powder, baobab  powder and pure honey to use in our porridge at Galana. She talked highly of the nutritional values and benefits of each product and where each came from. From there, my interest for permaculture was captivated. Being brought up on the farm and pursuing agriculture in school, I always wanted to do something within these roots. Four months later, Gai asked if I would like to take the two week Permaculture Design Certification Course in Kilifi and of course, without any hesitation, I said YES and never looked back! I am grateful for Gai’s support to attend this course. It simply brought me back to the fundamentals of life and how we could just mimic nature’s unique patterns and design something long term. The answers were here! I enjoyed meeting everyone on the course and taking back lifelong lessons that would enhance my growth.

After the course, I went back to Pwani University to complete my degree in Marine Biology. I couldn’t stop thinking about Permaculture during this time so I dedicated at least two hours a day to get my hands in the soil learn even more! In my opinion, permaculture is something that no lover of nature and good health can’t resist, that even after taking up agriculture in school, I don’t think I really attained so much as I did in just taking a 72 hour permaculture course! I’ve gained a lot of knowledge that I can apply everywhere really! I am now recycling everything under the principle ‘produce no waste’, and most importantly, living responsibly in every aspect of life, from what I eat to how I relate with others around me. Permaculture is not just about farming; it entails the social and economic wellbeing as well. It has become one of my hobbies I can’t go a day without mentioning it and storming ideas around this achievable framework.

My worldview has since shifted significantly; I’m striving to make the world a better place what I cook, the products I use and just really paving my way organically, because I believe everything we see, every natural herb was placed on earth with a purpose. Through permaculture, I have also met a great treasure of friends and a network beyond imagination!

I pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Science and Fisheries, but I can’t just ignore the rising alarm of the current evil systems which are full of chemicals and is controlling everything and making us all sick. I feel my knowledge in permaculture will now shift my mindset to create reform within this field and really have people embrace more sustainable practices long term!

I would highly recommend the two week Permaculture Design Certification Course to everyone, especially farmers from my home area so they may reduce the use of chemicals overtime. Food doesn’t taste the same as I was growing up; farmers are being trapped in to using chemicals and are getting sick themselves. They just need to see permaculture in action and gain the practical knowledge to shift away from current practices to natural practices that our ancestors used. I also recently took an Intro to Permaculture and Water Management course through PRI Kenya at Gai Cullen’s home in the Swara Plains conservancy. Everyone was so engaged because it was all making sense, just seeing it all in action and practically learning ways to harness water from all corners. That simple and applicable!! The facilitators at PRI are also very encouraging and they create a very comfortable space for learning and sharing. Through their efforts, we are planning to turn the Galana conservancy to also become more sustainable and efficient through permaculture. There is a real need to work with the community there and teach them and us all really, the practical skills to make this happen! I am looking forward to growing my skills with PRI Kenya and the Galana team.  I will also pursue my Training of Trainer skills with PRI  Kenya next year.




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