Country

Kenya ’s Western Province
(Excerpt & based on information from Wikipedia)

Kenya ’s Western Province

The Western Province of Kenya, bordering Uganda, is one of Kenya's seven administrative provinces outside Nairobi.

It is west of the Eastern Rift Valley and is inhabited mainly by the Luhya people. Kenya's second highest mountain, Mount Elgon is located in Bungoma District. The Kakamega Forest rainforest is part of the area. The province capital is the town of

 

The dark section is the location of Western Province in Kenya.

 

Kakamega. In 2007 the total population was of 4,023,000 inhabitants within an area of 8,285 km.

Farming is the main economic activity in the province. Kakamega district has a mixture of both subsistence and cash crop farming, with sugar cane being the preferred medium to large scale crop.

The district has two sugar factories. There is also a significant tourism industry centering on Kakamega Forest.

 

The Luhya
(The tribe most of our children belong to)
             

The Luhya (also Luyia, Luhia, Abaluhya) are the second largest ethnic group in Kenya, numbering about 5.3 million people, or 14% of Kenya's total population of 38 million, according to kenyaweb.com.The Luhya cultivate the fertile highlands of Western Kenya, between Lake Victoria to the south, the Nandi Escarpment to the East, Uganda to the West and Mt. Elgon to the north. The area they live in is the most densely populated in Kenya and indeed, in the world. Luhyas are one of the most culturally, politically and economically active ethnic groups in Kenya.Luhya refers both to the people and the Luhya languages, a group of closely related languages spoken by Luhya sub-groups. The Luhya are made up of about 16 sub-ethnic groups in Kenya, the most dominant groups being the:Bukhusu, Maragoli, Wanga, Ava-Nyore (who ruled the Bunyoro Kingdom in present

 

day Uganda), Marama, Idakho, Khisa, Isukha, Tsotso, Tiriki, Khabras, Ava-Nyala, Tachoni, Khayo, Marachi and Samia. One sub-ethnic group is in northern Tanzania and four are in Uganda. The Maragoli are considered to be related to the Kisii (also known as Abagusii), who are separated from the rest of the Luhyas by the chasm of Lake Victoria, Kano plains and Luo Nyanza to the South and the Nandi Escarpment and Kipsigis to the South East. The relationship between the Maragoli and the Kisii or Abagusii is mainly from their oral history (where both claim to have migrated from Misri (Egypt) via Mount Elgon, and also in linguistic similarity of their

 

phonemes and certain key words in the languages. The Abagusii also have linguistic relationships with some tribes in Tanzania, and this similarity may be due to acquisition of words from these tribes due to more recent contact after the main migration from Misri. It is also noteworthy that the sound forms of Maragoli and Tiriki languages is slightly different from the other Luhya dialects and closer to the Kisii Language. Note that the prefix 'Ava' or 'Aba' which when translated into English would mean 'the people/children of ...' (for example 'Ava-Logoli' would mean 'the children of Maragoli') is placed before all the Luhya sub-ethnic groups when referring to one's ethnicity, by a different person describing another person's ethnicity.

 

Someone describing themself will use the prefix 'Omu-@, as in 'Omubukusu'. Many Luhyas today are remnants of several federations (divided along the sub-ethnic lines of the Luhya), of the most powerful centralised kingdom that ever existed in Kenya's entire history before the advent of British colonialism in the early 1900s — the Wanga kingdom. The Wanga, themselves a Luhya people, incorporated most of the other sub-ethnic groups of the Luhya, as well as much of the areas inhabited by the Luo, the Kipsigis, the Nandi and the Masai territories as far east as the popular tourist town and flower capital of Kenya, Naivasha in Central Kenya.

             
Kakamega Forest National Reserve
 

The Kakamega Forest is a rainforest situated in the Western Province of Kenya, around the town of Kakamega. It is the easternmost corner of the equatorial rainforest and the only tropical rainforest in Kenya.

In 1900 it still covered 240,000 hectares (926.65 sq mi) of which today only about a tenth (23,000 ha/about 88 sq mi) is left. The deforestation was caused by the people’s need for wood, grazing land, the cultivation of land, and the excessive collection of medicinal plants. In the north of the Forest about 4,400 ha (ab. 17 sq mi) were given national forest reserve status in 1985.

The rainforest is home to a unique diversity of rare plants, mammals, birds, insects, reptiles, and amphibians. Normally a rainforest has a 90%closed canopy but here already half is missing meanwhile, and so the natural habitat of many species is threatened and some already vanished forever.

   
Protective Measures

In the Kakamega Forest National Reserve several activities to save the rainforest are carried out like KEEP(Kakamega Environmental Education Program), supporting a sustainable green tourism and providing information to school children, or the ICIPE (International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology ) in Nairobi which instructs people to gather and use medical plants in a sensitive way.

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