During my boarding school days my roommate was the daughter of a diplomat from Kenya. She grew up in Kakamega, Kenya with her grandparents. After the housemistress called lights out every evening, our favourite topic to talk about was nature, wildlife and the rain forest.
I would tell her about my fascination with poisonous plants and she would tell me about the wild animals whose lives depended on the rain forest. As I grew up I always wanted to do something special that could help to educate children about nature and, ecosystems and conservation. This dream has finally come true.
After 14 months of painstaking work I have finally released the Kakamega the Rainforest Musical eBook. The Kakamega Rainforest App is about three kids saving the rain forest. The story centers on the fundamental concepts of global warming, friendship, faith and love.
During my research and various interviews with young children, I was quite surprised that very few of them understood the importance of the rain forest. They have heard about the melting ice in the North Pole or rising sea temperature but not many young children know how modern medicine depends on the herb extracts found in the rain forest or how more and more indigenous tribes are loosing the battle for their homes against logging companies.
One of my challenges in creating the Kakamega Rainforest story was about how I could make a serious and meaningful subject simple enough for young children to understand and appreciate. So I developed a number of catchy tunes that young children can sing along to; the red-eyed tree frog raps about the forest, there is a ‘forest band’ and the mushrooms chant about their lives on the forest floor.
The story follows a logging company owner’s terminally ill son Henry finds unlikely friends (Yana and Kaka) in Kakamega rainforest who join him on the quest of a lifetime. The animated, educational musical eBook follows the children’s dangerous journey through the magical rainforest, where they are aided by talking animals and friendly flora while being chased by two inept goons and one very sinister vampire bat.
Kakamega app comes with over 120 minutes of story and 12 songs. As an educational resource for teachers and parents the app includes complete sheet music and lyrics. Children can sing along and learn at home or at school.
I believe that youth entertainment should be both fun and educational. What better way to entertain and teach kids than through the power of music?!