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Update on Paul Simiyu Mukhwana
By Mary Zellachild

Paul Simiyu Mukhwana in the garden at G-BIACK, in Keny

Paul Simiyu Mukhwana in the garden at G-BIACK, in Kenya.

Paul was a 6-month Ecology Action intern at The Jeavons Center in 2014, sent by Peris and Samuel Nderitu, managers of the Grow Biointensive Agricultural Centre of Kenya (G-BIACK). Paul worked at the G-BIACK, and after his EA internship he became Site Manager there, and later was Education and Outreach Manager.

This year Paul will return to Willits as a MESA* Senior Return Steward at Tequio Community Farm—near Ecology Action's Golden Rule Mini-Farm site—run by Hunter Flynn and Isa Quiroz. Hunter was the EA Farmer at The Jeavons Center when Paul interned there, and Isa is a former 6-month intern from Mexico. They currently grow food to sell at three Mendocino County Farmer's Markets, on their one-acre farm.

When his new internship is complete, Paul plans to return to his home farm near Kitale, Kenya, and create his own Community-Based Organization (similar to an NGO), where he will teach others biologically intensive food and soil growing. While working at G-BIACK, Paul has only been able to visit his wife and three daughters a few times a year, because the two sites are many hours apart. Paul has been able to improve the tiny house at his farm thanks to financial contributions from the St. Francis Episcopal Church in Willits, which he attended when he was an EA intern. These improvements on the house will allow him to live with his wife and family.

*MESA is the Multinational Exchange for Sustainable Agriculture, headquartered in Berkeley, CA. MESA's mission is to cultivate "... a global grassroots network of food and farming leaders to revive community food systems, linking ancestral knowledge with innovation rooted in earth stewardship, equitable economies and multicultural alliances worldwide."

MESA and Ecology Action have collaborated since 2008 to sponsor training opportunities for promising international applicants. MESA sponsors J1 visas, as well as offering many other services and benefits to each Steward. To qualify to be a Senior Return Steward, a person must successfully complete a beginning internship or learning program and then return home and remain in agriculture for two or more years.

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