Kiambere

Advent Calendar – December 19, 2019

Advent Calendar – December 19, 2019

December 19, 2019
/ / /

Mukau trees at Nyongoro, with one of our two buses in front of the magnificent baobab tree; the green leafage proof that the climate here – closer to the ocean – differs from Kiambere, where there were no leaves on the baobab trees. As stunning as these trees are with their green finery, when the only thing you see is the very peculiar and unique silhouette of the tree itself, without leaves, it’s even more special. Not for nothing are they called the life of trees.

At the Nyongoro plantation which is a total of 32 000 hectares large, only about a thirtieth of the land has been planted, if my memory (and hearing during the visit) serves me. The Kiambere plantation has been visible on Google maps for years, and now you can see the Nyongoro plantation there as well.

However, the plantations are just one aspect of the tree plantation of Better Globe Forestry. Since 2016 there is an active and growing outgrower-program in place with partner farmers, some of whom we got to visit. Once contracted,  the partner farmers (about half of whom are women) basically get free business development from the Agroforestry Agents employed by Better Globe Forestry, helping the farmers in many ways, both relating to the planting and caring for the mukau trees themselves, as to how they can increase their yield by improved irrigation, mulching and so on.

One farmer we talked to told of mukau trees he’d planted before becoming a partner farmer, comparing them to the ones he’d planted since (with his newly gained knowledge, courtesy of the training he’s entitled to as a partner farmer). Guess what? In but a few years, the mukau trees he’d planted after becoming a Better Globe partner farmer had already outgrown the older trees. Knowledge of proper spacing, planting, watering, mulching and so on, transformed into practice makes a difference!


Advent Calendar for 2019: sharing pictures and stories/reflections from my trip to Kenya in June. I went to visit “my trees” and get a hands-on experience of the social entrepreneurship of the Kenyan forestry company that I buy trees through.

Full disclosure: I am proud to say I am both a customer and an ambassador for the company. If you are curious to find out more, let me know and I’ll gladly get in touch with you! Here’s my sponsored link: https://betterglobe.com/27216 

Read More

Advent Calendar – December 14, 2019

December 14, 2019
/ / /

Living in Sweden, making my voice heard is, for me, a given. It’s something I don’t think too much about because I know I have every right to speak up. However much I would want this to be the right of every human on earth, it isn’t. Or rather, it i s every human’s right, but it’s not a right every human can exercise.

This is why this picture in my view, is one of the most impactful ones from my trip to Kenya in June. I didn’t take the picture myself, because I was busy having breakfast at Lion Rock in Tsavo West National Park when this big meeting took place at the Kiambere plantation. Luckily, Jan and Jonatan were there, and one of them captured it.

You see, a new supervisor has started work a week or so earlier, and somehow there had been a misunderstanding. The dayworkers did not fully understand how they got paid – checking in with your thumbprint in the morning, checking out with your thumbprint in the afternoon, and on Friday the week after, you get your salary as M-Pesa (Sweden got Swish in 2012. Kenya has M-Pesa since 2007!) to your cellphone – and did just that: Exercise their right to make their voices – their concerns – heard.

The misunderstanding was cleared up in no time and everything went back to business as usual; except for me… I was left impacted. Moved. Proud. You see, these workers were not afraid for their jobs. Nor for their lives, which can certainly be the case in some countries/companies! This sense of pride is an unexpected side-effect, I have to say. I didn’t expect to sense into the operations of Better Globe Forestry in quite such a way, that I did during my visit. That I do, still. It has led to a deep knowing in me, that putting my savings into trees makes a real difference. And I want to make a difference. And I want you to make a difference too. Time to buy your first tree?


Advent Calendar for 2019: sharing pictures and stories/reflections from my trip to Kenya in June. I went to visit “my trees” and get a hands-on experience of the social entrepreneurship of the Kenyan forestry company that I buy trees through.

Full disclosure: I am proud to say I am both a customer and an ambassador for the company. If you are curious to find out more, let me know and I’ll gladly get in touch with you! Here’s my sponsored link: https://betterglobe.com/27216 

Read More

Advent Calendar – December 12, 2019

December 12, 2019
/ / /

At the Nyongoro-plantation the operation is mechanized compared to the way things are done in Kiambere. One reason is the fact that the area is sparsely populated, which means Better Globe Forestry has a hard time to find enough workers.

Still, it would be hard to mechanize operations such as land clearing, pitting (that is, drilling holes for the seedlings), weed control and watering if the lands were rocky and/or very muddy.  Luckily, it isn’t. The soil conditions are just right for mechanization!

This bulldozer is part of the fleet of heavy equipment at Nyongoro, consisting of three bulldozers and eight tractors. There is still a need for manual labor though, especially for planting, pruning, seedling production, and security. The trees at the plantation are planted with just the right distance so the bulldozer can manage weed control in an efficient way, and the tractors can supply the seedlings with water (only necessary for the first year, after that the young trees can manage on their own).

There is a story about this bulldozer, one I would love to share with you, but it’s better suited for verbal than written storytelling. If you wanna hear it, reach out and I’ll set up a Zoom-call with you, ok? Curious?



Advent Calendar for 2019: sharing pictures and stories/reflections from my trip to Kenya in June. I went to visit “my trees” and get a hands-on experience of the social entrepreneurship of the Kenyan forestry company that I buy trees through.

Full disclosure: I am proud to say I am both a customer and an ambassador for the company. If you are curious to find out more, let me know and I’ll gladly get in touch with you! Here’s my sponsored link: https://betterglobe.com/27216 

Read More

Advent Calendar – December 10, 2019

December 10, 2019
/ / /

It rained!
For half an hour during my nine days in Kenya, it rained just when we visited the trees on the plantation in Nyongoro.
We were on the clock at that, as the local chief who came along for the trip there to guaranteed our safety has us on a tight schedule. Driving through four police checks to reach the plantation, he wanted us to be out again past the first roadblock we drove through within three hours, so when we got to the trees, we were told to get off the bus, take whatever pictures we wanted, not stray out of sight, and be back on the bus whenever the chief called for us.

Nyongoro is south of Kiambere, but most importantly, it’s a lot closer to the coast, hence the climate is more humid. So the plantation here was more rainforest-like than that in Kiambere which was much drier with a lot of felled leaves during our visit (remember, June on the Southern hemisphere means winter-time!). The most apparent difference was in the baobab-trees which still had all their leaves here in Nyongoro.

The plantation lie in a sparsely populated area, and Better Globe Forestry is the biggest employer of the area, with 60-120 workers, depending on the season. These are two of the workers on the plantation, eager to come into work a few extra hours for our visit on a Sunday. Normally, they work 5,5 days a week, 7:30-16:30 or so Monday-Fridays and half days on Saturdays. Better Globe Forestry Ltd. aims at ensuring better working conditions for their workers than what is custom in the areas where they are operating. The Kenyan day workers of Better Globe Forestry are paid 400 KSH (around €4) a day, which is twice the minimum wage of Kenya. Interestingly, this is more than state employees receive – as they get approximately 250 KSH.

This is another reason why I put my savings into trees. As the Chinese proverb reads:

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

My monthly purchases of trees and donation packages ensure BGF can plant trees around the year (regardless of dry or rainy seasons) and provide much-needed job opportunities in poor areas. Your savings can do the same: what better time to buy a tree, than now?


Advent Calendar for 2019: sharing pictures and stories/reflections from my trip to Kenya in June. I went to visit “my trees” and get a hands-on experience of the social entrepreneurship of the Kenyan forestry company that I buy trees through.

Full disclosure: I am proud to say I am both a customer and an ambassador for the company. If you are curious to find out more, let me know and I’ll gladly get in touch with you! Here’s my sponsored link: https://betterglobe.com/27216 

Read More

Advent Calendar – December 8, 2019

December 8, 2019
/ / /

Worker of Better Globe Forestry at the nursery in Nyongoro, which has a capacity of half a million mukau-seedlings a year.

During my visit to Kenya in June 2019, I got to visit two Better Globe Forestry plantations, in Kiambere and in Nyongoro. The latter one has not had a lot of visitors since 2015, on account of being a bit too close to the Somalian border to be deemed safe. A few months prior to our visit, Torgny, a Swedish customer of Better Globe, went there on his own and wrote a really interesting chronicle describing his experience. The Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs still advises against traveling there, but luckily the customer trip of 2019 had this visit planned, with necessary safety precautions taken. And I must say, I am very grateful I got to visit this plantation as well.

The staff at Nyongoro were more curious about us visitors than the staff at Kiambere, which makes perfect sense. The Kiambere plantation is closer to Nairobi, started earlier (in 2006 as compared to 2012 for Nyongoro) and hence is a good place to bring visitors. This worker reminded me of the Aracuan Bird in the Donald Duck film Clown of the jungle. He was everywhere, wanting to be in all the photos, offering to pose for us, both here and there, which made for a lot of laughs!


Advent Calendar for 2019: sharing pictures and stories/reflections from my trip to Kenya in June. I went to visit “my trees” and get a hands-on experience of the social entrepreneurship of the Kenyan forestry company that I buy trees through.

Full disclosure: I am proud to say I am both a customer and an ambassador for the company. If you are curious to find out more, let me know and I’ll gladly get in touch with you! Here’s my sponsored link: https://betterglobe.com/27216 

Read More

Advent Calendar – December 2, 2019

December 2, 2019
/ / /

A beautiful sunset view of part of the Kiambere plantation, Kenya, taken by a drone. June, 2019.

This is the main reason why I went to Kenya. I started to save money through buying trees in November of 2015, and have continued doing so on a monthly basis ever since. When I found out I could place my savings in trees, I finally found what I’d been looking for, ever since moving away from home in the early 90s: An ethical, sustainable and longterm way to save my money.

Did you know that our shared savings have a greater impact on our climate and the environment than all the car driving in the world? I only found out in 2018, and it shocked me. But then I started to think more about it and realized that it makes a lot of sense. In many ways, the way my savings support various companies (either directly through owning stocks and funds, or though my savings account at the bank, which they, in turn, lend to companies) is quite neutral. Or anonymous perhaps is a better way to describe it? I mean, I am not an active shareholder, and even though I’ve tried to invest in “ethical funds” I am far from certain my money does good.

Until now that is. The money I use to buy trees for me, my company, my children and bonus-grandchildren, do good. Without a doubt. It comes at a risk, of course, but then again the possible return is higher than normal as well. And, on November 28th of 2019 I got my first payback from the trees purchased in 2015, so there’s no doubt in my mind that this is a savings scheme that works the way it promises.


Advent Calendar for 2019: sharing pictures and stories/reflections from my trip to Kenya in June. I went to visit “my trees” and get a hands-on experience of the social entrepreneurship of the Kenyan forestry company that I buy trees through.

Full disclosure: I am proud to say I am both a customer and an ambassador for the company. If you are curious to find out more, let me know and I’ll gladly get in touch with you! Here’s my sponsored link: https://betterglobe.com/27216 

Read More