Lamu Island on the Kenyan coast is one of our favorite places to visit but it is under threat as the Kenyan government is vowing to build a new deep-water port here along with a system of railroads, highways and pipelines to open up a commercial transport corridor to help develop northern Kenya, Southern Sudan, and Ethiopia. It could be said that there is a need for such improvements in this underdeveloped remote area but is it the place to do it when Kenya already has an existing port at Mombasa which could undergo expansion to include the improvements needed to meet this demand. Lamu District, including all the surrounding islands, is a very fragile environment that could be seriously damaged without careful study of the impact of such a major comprehensive project.
Our friend, Hadija Ernst, whom we are visiting, in Lamu is trying to inform people of this project and its impact on the community she now calls home and is raising her family. A coalition of local grassroots organizations has come together as Save Lamu. Their mission is to engage communities and stakeholders to ensure participatory decision-making so as to achieve sustainable and responsible and preserve the environmental, social and cultural integrity of the indigenous Lamu community. http://www.savelamu.org/