DABASO, Kenya (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – When Kahindi Charo gathered 30 of his friends to replant mangroves in the 32 square km (12 square mile) Mida Creek area, people in his village of Dabaso in Kilifi County dismissed them as crazy idlers.
Charo recalls that back then, in 2000, the creek had suffered badly from unregulated harvesting that had left the area bare, with rotting stumps and patches of old mangrove trees.
Today, Mida Creek, about 60 km (38 miles) north of Mombasa, flourishes with dense mangrove plantations that provide a habitat for birds, fish and crabs. There is also a boardwalk leading to a 12-seat eco-restaurant perched beside the Indian Ocean.
“If there were no mangroves, we would be dead, since most of us are fishermen and fish lay their eggs and get their food from mangrove marshes,” Charo said, sitting at the restaurant.