It’s Sunday. Today is CIFOR’s (Centre for International Forestry Research) Forest Day. 1200 people are gathering to discuss the value and future of forests. The focus is global, but the fact that the COP 17 is in South Africa is a great opportunity to highlight the major plight of Africa’s forests. AWF President Helen Gichohi is giving the keynote address.
Nairobi National Park is one of the world’s only national parks that sit on the edge of a major city. It is truly amazing that one can escape the booming city of Nairobi with its 3 million people and world-renowned traffic jams in a matter of
minutes into the forest and grasslands of Nairobi National Park—the green lung of Nairobi.
We are sitting on the porch at Tawi Lodge
in the Kilimanjaro Heartland
. Mt. Kilimanjaro is smack dab in front of us. The view is brilliant as the mountain stands with magnificent enormity. Tawi Lodge sits right in the middle of Kilitome Conservancy, a conservancy created by AWF and 100 Maasai landowners. Tawi is a luxury eco-camp opened in 2010. It is a lovely, peaceful spot in the dryland, acacia woodlands.
AWF and Tawi signed lease agreements with the landowners over two years ago.
We are in a small town called Djolu. Never heard of it? I am not surprised. This is a village in the central part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Actually, if you look at a map of Africa, Djolu looks like it is smack dab in the middle of the continent. We arrived here from Kinshasa via plane. There are no regularly scheduled flights to Djolu. We flew the approximate 900 km from Kinshasa to a small town called Basankusu, where the Lopori and Maringa Rivers meet. We have an office in Basankusu; it is a key logistical location as access to our interior projects is via the rivers.