College of Arts & Science at Miami University
Biodiversity of Kenya
(with Gwen Bausmith and Sarah Van Frank, August 2010)
A full text transcript of the video is available below.
(In this video Gwen Bausmith and Sarah Van Frank, graduate students in environmental science, describe Gwen's research on the impacts of ecotourism on local communities. There is footage of students living and working in local communities in Kenya.)
Gwen: "I was looking at a lot of the different ecotourism that goes on in Kenya and so I was primarily focusing on wildlife-based ecotourism and then also, on the flip side, looking at community-based ecotourism, which is more of like the service-learning projects. So, you're coming in and you're actually getting to do home stays. And so building upon and learning about the culture from a very intimate setting rather than kind of coming to the country and just staying in a hotel and learning about it that way to actually being immersed in that culture.
"And so looking at those different types of ecotourism and how they're impacting the local communities. And so, it was really cool because we got a lot of different sites that you could look at to kind of compare how that money is filtering back into the community and how the local villagers are being employed at different resorts and things like that."
Sarah: "The first service-learning that we did was at Rukanga Primary School. And they had just finished up their new preschool and so they were clearing some of the grass out front to make some play areas for the children. So we got there and started clearing with slashers and with ..."
Gwen: "Different people had different types of hoes, I think, and slashers — just as a description — a slasher, it kind of resembles a golf club and the tip (rather than obviously being a golf club) it's got this kind of rounded tip that's sharp around the edges and you pretty much swing it like you would a golf club as well. And it just cuts through the grass.
"And when you watch them slashing, it looks wonderful and it looks relatively easy. I mean, how can you get it wrong? And yet, we were going through, blisters and all, you know. We were sweating. We had blisters. We felt horrible. But we're out there slashing and thinking that we're doing a wonderful job, of course. And then you turn around there are several men behind you, like, slashing away because you have done a horrible job."
Sarah: "I think that there were several times when they were like, Why don't you go take a break. And I'm like, I'm okay. I'm really doing okay."
Gwen: "And they're like, No really, we're having to redo everything that you guys are doing. But it was nice at least attempt to help, even though we did a rather poor job. It felt really nice to be able to be out there and help them and just know that you're a part of this, this new school that's being built."
Sarah: "There's a lot of exchange of dialogue, too. And so, I think that was a huge part of it, too. Just exchanging those cultural stories and exchanging what our lives are like and so I think that's part of the service-learning as well is going and providing our time for them but also our time in talking to them as well."