Kokota Island, about a mile and a half long and a half mile wide, lies off the coast of Tanzania (east Africa). Who cares?
Of course, the 400 people who live on Kokota care. Maybe the rest of the world should care, not only for the ways these poverty-stricken people are saving themselves, but for the example they are setting.
Water shortages, less frequent but more torrential rains, deforestation, soil turned to dust. With modest help and modest goals, residents of Kokota become able to live on more than a quart or two of fresh water per day.
Can’t harvest rainwater off grass roofed houses? Build a metal roofed schoolhouse. (Bonus, they get water AND a schoolhouse). Dig a water tank in the solid rock (by hand, no power tools). Such a successful self-help call to action energized the people, seeded a culture willing to be educated, to embrace change.
Charging motorcycle batteries at the school’s solar panel provides light without spending precious money on dirty kerosene. Charge cell phones, too. Cook on simple stoves that use half as much fuel. Plant trees. Plant trees. Plant trees until half the island has “agroforest.” The trees not only restore soil and cooling shade. Agroforest doubles as a healthier space for grazing and growing crops.
In a thirty-minute documentary “Kokota: The Islet of Hope” makes an encouraging practical, tactical impression. These are practical, tactical, existing examples we can learn from, replicate, and expand upon. Attach to this eyelet of hope.