We had a great time with the folks from HAKI Community Organization a few weeks ago, at a Family Park Day. HAKI Community does important work for the East African community that live in and near the Tryon Creek watershed, serving Swahili-speaking watershed residents & neighbors and helping with food security, affordable housing, English learning services, and more. We were glad to serve as fiscal agents for HAKI as they secured 501(c)(3) nonprofit status while providing food & housing support to many community members, which has been particularly important during the pandemic.
At our Family Park day, we enjoyed coming together to talk about urban watersheds, and went on a brief hike through a pollinator meadow and shaded riparian area. TCWC staff members shared information about urban watersheds, with Swahili translation. We shared about the traditional uses for some of the plants and trees here in North America, such as Western redcedar trees having a multitude of uses for Pacific Northwest Native American tribes. HAKI’s community members were particularly interested in these traditional & medicinal uses as they also relied on plants in Somali and Kenya, with this knowledge usually being held by elders in the community.
Finally, we savored a delicious meal prepared by community members. We were able to provide compensation for HAKI staff’s outreach and interpretation, mileage for all, and for the community-prepared catering. We’re grateful to the Community Watershed Stewardship Program at BES for funding this day for TCWC and HAKI’s community members.