Do you know where your tea is from?

Tea is isolated from most drinkers, grown near the tropics in highland farms, but JusTea wants you to be connected to the farmer, the place of production and the way it arrives in your kitchen.

 

When we walk down the steep path off the dirt road, chickens scatter and dogs bark ferociously. We are greeted by our friend’s aunt, plus 2, no make that 3 little ones scampering around the steep trail.  We are up in the foothills of Mt Kenya, with new friends that we met in Nairobi.  They wanted to bring us up into the back country – through winding roads swerving around the axle-breaking potholes, through jade hued tea bushes, to meet their relatives. It’s a sun dried 3-room mud hut, and as I duck to enter the dark windowless room, my eyes adjust to see the sofas, colorfully decorated with lace and red cloth, the walls arranged with over 30 family photos, many pastoral prints of pictures, including an English windmill on a river.

 

Then in the corner, there’s Grandma, slowly attempting to rise and greet us. She speaks only the tribal language, so we give a quick greeting and settle into the wonderful Kenyan hospitality – a thermos of Kenyan tea and Kigieri – roasted nuts and corn. Grandma stares cautiously at the three white faces across from her, through her daughter she tells us that we are the first Mzungus – whites – that she has seen since the British Colonizers left in the 1960’s. She says she holds no resentment to us for what the British did to her tribe. We don’t ask, but can only imagine the stories behind the sun-creased face. We thank her again for inviting us to share her home with us.

Tea Field in Nandi Hills, Kenya

The Nandi Hills. A perfect climate for growing tea.

Do you know where your tea is from?  

This Grandma needs more than a hand-out, she needs a future for these little kids, a farm that earns enough to support the family. Maybe if she was part of a tea processing co-op that was able to sell their tea directly to the export market, she could afford enough to buy uniforms, and send these children back to school.  JusTea is working to create these partnership opportunities for Kenyan tea farming families.  We want to connect you to where your tea is from and the farmer that made it all possible.  We encourage you to move from being unaware to informed, from passive to active!

Locals of Nakuru are creating social change by using WhatsApp

“No matter how many written petitions you sent to the county officials they would often end up in garbage bins or ignored somewhere in a shelf. Yet these were pertinent issues. By coming up with a WhatsApp group, the leaders felt challenged to answer the questions raised and it has lead to an informed discussion by all the parties involved. Journalists finally picked up the issues and highlighted them,”
– Elijah Kinyanjui, Journalist

Locals of the Nakuru County, located in Western Kenya, are finding innovative ways to make their voices heard to their government representatives. By using WhatsApp, an online messaging app, they have a new platform to address community issues that have long been unanswered by their local government.

Elijah Kinyanjui is one of the founding members of the Nakuru Analyst. This group, like many other groups in the area, is driven by the need for social justice and a representation of the people’s voice in the community. One of their biggest accomplishments of the year was preventing private developers from overtaking land that already belonged to a children’s school.

Similarly, another proactive group, ‘In The Streets of Nakuru’, is tackling local environmental issues through their #ISupportBanPlastic campaign. The campaign’s goal is to forbid plastic bags from being distributed in supermarkets and eliminate plastics of below 100 microns.

Despite being in its early stages, these movement’s outreaches are quickly expanding to beyond just a place for addressing and collaborating on social issues. They have built a strong community of people from diverse backgrounds- journalists, medical professionals, and political speakers are just a few of those who are regularly sharing information on the county’s events. There is so much in store for these platforms as they continue to shine light on the issues that matter most to the people of Nakuru.

Source: http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2016/01/26/whatsapp-groups-transform-citizen-participation-in-nakuru-county_c1270010?