Awaking with the ocean breeze, we hit the road for Bombolulu Workshops and Cultural Centre located in Bamburi. A euphoric twenty minute drive filled with music from our colorful matatu set us in the mood for a prosperous day. On arrival, we were warmly received as we gazed at this well organized community with an impartial mix of both the natural and built environment.
Ronald Jimbo, our guide, begun by narrating the historical background of the place. Bombolulu is a cultural center started in 1969 that mainly deals in African crafts made by the disabled locals to become economically and socially empowered. Previously in Mazeras, the centre was later relocated to Bamburi in 1994 to cater for the rise in staff numbers.
Ronald led us through each of the four worksop centre; wood carving, jewelry, mobility aid, and textiles. In the wood carving centre, we came across interesting models of animals, tools, and more fascinating is the fact that they are carved out of home grown trees (rosewood, coconut tree). The center is greatly involved in nature conservation as all the trees that are cut down are replanted since they have short gestation period. The jewelry section has a mix of raw materials like camel bones, cow horns, glass and metals such as copper and brass. Not to mention the use of recycled materials such as cans for jewelry. The mobility aid workshop is involved in making the wheelchairs and tricycles for the crippled. Textiles however, mainly deals in screen printing where clothes are patterned with various African prints.
We then detoured to Miji Kenda Kaya; directly translated from Kiswahili as the ‘nine tribes in the bush’. The area showcases the Kenyan way of life as it existed in the past and still exists in the remote areas of Kenya.
It was only fitting that our final stop be the cultural centre gift shop where products from all centers are showcased and sold. An important point to note is the fact that some of these products are exported overseas, and this has in general helped the community generate income hence forth eradicate poverty.
Winding up the field experience, we look back at where we begun; Bwindi Impenetrable forest, through guru guru caves then Mbale, up to this point. In each of the areas, the societies established are dependent on the physical features around and rely on the past to shape the present leading to the future. The grand tour is done, our minds appreciate, and the beach awaits as the blue waters of Mombasa mark the end of our expedition. Thank you for Joining us on our travels.