Jambo! (Hello in Kiswahili)
My name is Amber Orozco and I am a rising Senior at Whittier College, a small private liberal arts college located in Southern California. At Whittier College, I have been involved in many environmental initiatives, from working for the recycling team (Poets Recycle) to starting the school’s environment club (Raising Awareness for the Environment). But as an aspiring environmental anthropologist, my interest lay in understanding the relationship between people and their environment.
Last summer, I was given the amazing opportunity to conduct my own research project in Kenya, with the guidance of Professor of Biology, David N. M. Mbora and South African anthropologist, Lara Allen. As a team, we hosted workshops for the local indigenous communities, the Pokomo and Wardei. These communities surround the Tana River Forests and rely on the natural resources from the forests for their sustenance. From one particular workshop, “the Virtual House”, we learned of the Pokomo and Wardei’s use of specific tree species and the amount of these tree species needed to build a home in a village. It is this data that has inspired my return to Kenya.
A year later, I am back in Kenya, to sample and measure tree species in the local forests of the Pokomo. I am interested to see whether the increase in the Pokomo population has influenced the abundance, density, and diversity of tree species in these local forests. For the next 3 weeks I will record all of my personal experiences through writing, photography, and videography!
Kwa heri ya kuonana (Goodbye, for now) Los Angeles, Jambo Kenya!