Kenya) Pilgrimage to a shrine forest, Kaya
Pilgrimage to a Kenyan Shrine Forest Kaya:
a Congo-Japan Joint Research on Ecotourism
among the Digo People of the Coast Province
ANKEI Yuji*, ANKEI Takako**, John KAHEKWA***
*Professor of Yamaguchi Prefectural
**Part-time lecturer of Yamaguchi
University and Yamaguchi Prefectural University
***Founder of Polepole Foundation,
Democratic Republic of Congo
Published in March 2005, in the
Bulletin of the Graduate Schools, Yamaguchi Prefectural
University, No. 6:1-19
Yamaguchi City, Japan
Keywords: Digo, ecotourism, kaya forest, Kenya, Mijikenda
List of the figures
Fig. 1Transplanting a tree seedling to
memorize our visit in Kakamega Forest
>From left to right, John Kahekwa, Takako
Ankei, and Mr. Wilberforce Okeka
Fig. 2 Map of the study site
Fig. 3 Map of South Coast Kenya.
National Park, Forest Reserves, and
Kayas (after htttp://www.colobustrust.org/)
Fig. 4 Nearby deluxe beach hotels
Fig. 5 Nursery of CFCU
Fig. 6 Plant specimens kept dry over small
Fig. 7 A plate for a National Monument
Fig. 8 A signpost of community ecotourism
on the entrance of Kaya Kinondo
Fig. 9 Takako in black cloth and John
Fig. 10 Mr. Hemed (left) and
Elder Mnyenze (center) as guides
Fig. 11 Yuji (left) and Mr. Kimaru in the forest
Fig. 12 A very big tamarind tree.
Fig. 13A cycad tree transplanted a long time ago
Fig. 14Conch shells consumed by ancestors
Fig. 15 Nothing peculiar, but still fascinating!
Fig. 16 Enjoying dances with local women
Fig. 17 Women's handicrafts as souvenirs
Fig. 18 Elder Mnyenze's family welcoming us dancing
Fig. 19 A list of diseases and symptoms that
Elder Mnyenze can heal
Fig. 20 John and Takako with the family
and neighbors of Mr. Hemed
Maana kwa ufupi katika Kiswahili
Mwaka wa 2002, mwezi wa tisa, Mw. Yuji Ankei (Chuo Kikuu cha Yamaguchi Prefe
cture, Japan) Mw. Takako Ankei (Kakamega Environmental Education Program, Ja
pan Headquarters) na Bw. John Kahekwa (Polepole Foundation, D.R.Congo) walis
afiri pamoja karibu na Mombasa Kenya. Walikutana na utamaduni wa Wadigo una
oitwa kaya. Kaya ni tongo la babu zao ndani ya msitu. Serikali iliingiza m
akaya ya Mijikenda katika mali ya kitaifa (National Monuments) kwa mwaka wa
1992. Lakini misitu ya makaya yenyewe ilianza kuharibiwa sana na majengo ya
mahoteli makubwa ya utalii au kuenea kwa mashamba ya wenyeji. Viongozi vija
na wa Wadigo waliona kwamba makaya yatamalizika kabisa baada ya miaka kumi a
u ishirini tu, na kwa hivyo waliomba wazee wasimamizi wa makaya kuwaruhusu k
uingiza watalii ndani ya Kaya Kinondo. Wazee wanaoabudu sana mizimu ya kaya
walikataa mwanzoni. Lakini wameweza kukubaliana kuanzisha utalii mpya unai
otwa “ecotourism". Wageni wanashauriwa kufuata sheria za kaya: kutovaa ko
fia ndani ya kaya, kutovuta sigara, kutopiga picha za makaburi na vivi hivi.
Watalii wanafurahi kujifunza utamaduni wa Wadigo na kuona aina mbalimbali
za miti na mimea yasiyoonekana nje ya kaya. Wenyeji wakifaulu kuendesha uta
lii huu katika makaya yao, watapata jinsi ya kujitegemea. Wataweza pia kuhif
adhi misitu yao, na wataweza kufufusha utamaduni wa babu zao, na wataweza ku
wajulisha wananchi na watalii wote kwamba faida kubwa ya kuheshimu na kutuku
za desturi na dini mbalimbali ndio msingi wa amani.
Backgrounds for cooperative studies
In September 2002 the authors visited Kenya to study the present status of K
enya's endangered forests and so-called “community-based" conservation of
these forests through the possibility of ecotourism (Ankei, 2002).
Since 1998, Takako Ankei and Yuji Ankei began visiting forest
conservation and ecotourism projects in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
They visited more than a dozen locations where there were or had been
some projects for conservation.
We, Yuji, Takako and John, first met in Yakushima Island, Japan in August
2001, when we attended a fieldwork seminar for Japanese students and a
workshop for local ecotour guides. We were fortunate to welcome four
African conservationists from Kenya (Mr. Wilberforce Okeka) and from DRC
(John Kahekwa, Mr. August Kanyunyi Basabose, and Mr. David Bisimwa). Refer
to Ankei & Ankei (2004) for more detail of our experience in Yakushima. A
second meeting of this Kenya-DRC-Japan cooperation was held in Kenya in
2002, and this is a brief report of what we witnessed on the East Coast of
Kenya to the south of Mombasa, its second biggest town.
Purposes of study
Our visit to Kenyan sacred forests was our first experience to conduct all
daily activities together for so long a period, including meals, traveling
by car, interviews, and almost perpetual discussions. Our common purpose of
this journey was three-fold. 1) To find out a way to encourage local peopl
es to co-exist with the vanishing tropical forests (Ankei, 2002), 2) to shif
t our style of field surveys in area studies, often blamed by local people a
s arrogant and unfair (Ankei, 2002), to a more sustainable one, and 3) to ch
allenge to change our lifestyle itself which causes environmental bankruptcy
, war and terrorism in today's world.
On our arrival in the Kakamega Forest in early September 2002, we
enjoyed staying with Mr. Wilberforce Okeka whom we have not met for a
year since our last meeting in Yakushima. We agreed that our joint
research had been quite fruitful and encouraging as to convince us that
humankind can understand and love each other regardless of their
cultural and physical differences1). Mr. Okeka invited us to plant
tree seedlings of Kakamega Forest as a memory of our Kenya-Congo-Japan
joint research, and we all prayed for its conservation and revival (Fig.
Discussion on the relationship between conservation and religions of local i
nhabitants was also an important theme in our daily conversation during our
journey. John and Mr. Wilberforce Okeka are priests in Christian churches,
and most of the Digo people are reportedly Muslims. Takako and Yuji are rat
her trying to be animists than being traditional Buddhists (Ankei, 2004). T
he following is an example of John's words concerning the messages from the
Holy Spirit, for which Yuji and Takako were very grateful.
Africa as the source of blessings
Yesterday was a brilliant day in a church of Kakamega. I was invited to
preach, and when I was preaching, the Holy Spirit was very strong in
that church because they believe in God very much. And when I was
preaching, I was inspired by the Holy Spirit that told me to transfer
this message to you.
I was obliged to tell you this message. I kept quiet, and didn't tell you
directly. But every two hours, the Holy Spirit was reminding me of this
message. The whole night I was suffering, and this morning I pass you
“Africa is the source of your life. The source of the blessings always com
es from Africa. Africa is your second nationality, and Africa is your secon
d home after Japan. Think of Africans always, and talk about Africans. Whe
n you talk of something, mix it with African news and African life, and peop
le will be more attracted to your speech. Present Africa wherever you go. Af
rica is the source of your blessings."
... for further texts, please consult the attached file in PDF form.