I was the youngest of eight brothers of a poor family, never knowing when would be the next time that we could eat. Due to many miracles I had the chance to visit high school and later to study for some months in a permaculture institute in the US. It was my first time abroad. It was a dream: going to the US! From the 6 young men that went with me, I was the only to return to Kenya. My friends and family never expected that and thought I was crazy to come back to such a poverty.
The reason why I went back to Kenya was because I believed that all the coincidences that helped me to go on this journey were guidance. There was a reason for that. I had got the chance to learn, and I had to go back to pass on the knowledge I had received. This knowledge is much needed at the place that I come from. It can make a big difference. It can help young people to find employment and help in an effective way for the welfare of the people.
So I founded OTEPIC to teach this knowledge. Meanwhile I could travel very often to Europe to share and to learn more and to receive fundings to buy several demonstration gardens. I can see the effect of my work, the change in my community and the benefit that the knowledge has brought to many people. If I would stay in Europe it would be another kind of brain drain and increase the inbalance.
People are migrating out of economic and political reasons. Recently when I was in Kassel in Germany, people showed me a weapon factory. The weapons will be used in Africa and the Middle East. I realized that the weapons and armed interventions also make people move.
We have to find the solution together, in the global community. There are many small initiatives in Africa, that try to make changes and to improve things, reducing poverty and its reasons. But we won´t make it alone. Also the international community has to become active and reduce the weaponary system. This is a Must. We have to work together from two sides to find tangible solutions and get out of tension and challenges of migration. We have to work together as global community. Only together we will achieve it.
Many people in Kenya are brainwashed. They think that Europe´s streets are made of gold. I try to awaken the consciousness that we can improve our living standard at the place where we are.
Still, when I come to Europe, I find that people live an easy life. They don´t have many worries. You push a button and have hot water. Food is something that just is there when you open the fridge. This is different in our place. I don´t believe in running away from problems, but solving them whereever they are.
There is a chain of global connections that all together will create the solutions that are urgently needed. I want to be part of that solving chain. I want to live my life as a bridge and find the solutions that are applicable to our communities and can help us. The bridge is small, but very beautiful. I don´t want to break it.
I want to encourage refugees to go back to their home countries and share their knowledge.
They have seen that also in Europe not everybody is happy. I see people in the streets, I see a lot of loneliness.
Happiness is where you are. You can connect to nature whereever you live. On every place on earth nature has once been well balanced – and can be like this again. Let´s help nature to become again how it was meant to be.
Sometimes people think they have to find the solution somewhere else, out of the box. But you can activate what is around you. Let´s make use of what is already there and improve the living standard.
I don´t want to follow the crowd. I want to make it different. I want to play my role as a catalyst of change and want to make my life as a torch and burn as brightly as possible. This means to show good examples. Sometimes it is difficult, especially politicians make things worse. Some people even go prison for doing good things. But we have to try to come together to get strength, and always hoping for the positive. We believe that by fear you loose strenght. That´s why we keep on smiling and continue. Overcoming fear and creating the energy that moves us on in spite of any difficult conditions.
Philip Munyasia, 32, is founder of OTEPIC, a community based organisation in a poor neighborhood of Kitale, Kenya. Colonialism and globalisation have overused the land and deprived people from their original wealth and traditional knowledge. While the vast majority of the land is owned by agromultis cultivating monocultures of corn or roses for export, most families are left with tiny “points” of land to grow what they need to survive. It is the same situation that you find in many places of the world. Over the years, Philip and his team have trained several thousand women, farmers, and youth in sustainability technologies, women empowerment, conflict resolution, water management, and community building. Their dream is to build a peace and ecovillage and school for Permaculture.