Damo, N-dog, and K-unit. (aka Damian, Nell and Kim)

We arose to a brisk morning, sky filled with ceros clouds and sounds of active passerines ready to greet the day. All were well-satiated with a wonderful breakfast of sausage, fried mushroom, mystery potato, and mango prepared by our skilled Bunduz kitchen staff. Shortly after we departed for Timaflour 4 rose farm in Central Meru. Where we were warmly welcomed by Simon van der Burg (proprietor), and Simon Jr. whom led us on our tour. We learned that most flowers supplied to Holland originate from flower farms in Kenya cultivated by hard-working Kenyan locals. Which commenced with an open sheeted greenhouse containing 2-year old juvenile white roses. Exterior design has an extended roof segment that acts as a ventilatory structure. Next, we were shown the fertigation room where 26 hectares of mix fertilizer product are combined through a pipe with flower feed. The proceeding greenhouse was flooded with mature 8-year old white roses as well. Most of these species are tetra/quatroploid which increases susceptibility to color mutations. Water supplied to each greenhouse is collected from rainfall and 45% of energy powering the farm is solar. He also keenly mentioned that back-up generators are used in case of frequent loss of power. Another issue is the contamination of individual roses within a crop with white fly, spider mite and Phytocillus. An infestation is detected via intermittent sampling by ‘’Scouts’’ every few meters within a line of stock and marked with a color-coded flag. The white fly can also induce secondary infection known as triumph fungus. Another innovative method known as ‘’grafting’’ conducted by an external company is used to increase production by 30% Where a multitude of young stalks are grown from a single rose stem. Different species are also fused together to form ornamental hybrids. The tour progressed through each department of the rose harvesting operation from short-term storage to sorting and final packaging before shipment.

Soon after we returned to Angiri camp to feast on a delectable lunch by our Bunduz chefs (rice and peas, beans, meatballs, green beans and slices of pineapple. D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S. After refueling we geared up for a hike near the Burguret river basin at the base of Mount Kenya. The beginning of the hike had clear signs of human influence within the pastoral setting. Creating loose dry soils and an open landscape from grazers. The objective of the hike was to locate wildlife, and identify species of reptiles, mammals, plants, insects and butterflies. Our knowledgeable guides Julius and Mike displayed their fine expertise on the surrounding flora and fauna by differentiating between poisonous and edible plants. As well in the identification of animal tracks. Due to the time of day and considerable heat, there was a noticeable absence in animal activity. However, there was a continual presence of fresh elephant, water buck, antelope and sheep scat. As we almost neared the desired destination, we unfortunately had to high tail it back to the HMS Tusker. Upon hiking downhill, some students went off the beaten path, but luckily reencountered the rest of the group before ending up as hyena chow. At last we arrived at Angiri camp just in time to commence the shower race where some of us figured out how to turn on the hot water while others suffered in polar temperatures. To top off the day, we had a wonderful meal, again by our Bunduz pals (Mia, Franco, and Eucabetha).