It’s a beautiful tree.
This plot of mukau at the Nyongoro plantation reminds me of Swedish birch forests.

I’ve never really been one to dig deep into specific facts on trees, but I do have a thing for them. Have for a long time. As a funny aside, I’ve been married, twice. First marriage gave me the surname Skog, which is Swedish for forest. Second marriage had me go deeper, as Roth (in Swedish) is pronounced as the Swedish word for root. Perhaps my fondness for trees is yet one more reason why I’ve fallen so hard for this way to use my savings in this win-win-win-scheme?

Going on the customer trip in June, I certainly learned a lot more about the Mukau, or Melia volkensii as it’s named in Latin. It’s a hardwood tree, in the same family as mahogany. It’s native to these parts of Kenya. It was at risk of disappearing, due to over-exploitation on account of its durability and excellent qualities, but is now on the rise, rapidly. Better Globe Forestry’s tree expert Jan Vandenabeele plays a part in that, which you can see in the acknowledgments of the Kenya Forest Service Guideline to On-Farm Melia volkensii, Growing in the Dryland Areas of Kenya

As a hardwood, it warrants a higher price on the raw material market than many other types of timber, but Better Globe Forestry does not intend to sell the wood as raw material. Rather, they are looking at setting up a sawmill, to ensure the refinement of the wood stays local. Given the richness of the African continent when it comes to natural resources, it’s a continent that should be wealthy. But it’s just this fact, that raw materials are removed rather than refined on-site, which has enriched so many other countries outside of Africa, especially those who’ve previously had colonies. Keeping the value-adding-chain in the country will lead to more job opportunities. And in a country of high unemployment, that’s a definitive plus!

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: