Wednesday was epic! I spent the better part of my day at Kawamwaki Farm feeding cows, riding horses, and learning about trees. The country side girl in me bulged in nostalgia as we explored the farm and so many memories from my upbringing were refreshed. The untamed natural vegetation and giant indigenous trees reminded me of how our shamba in Meru looked in the 90’s before major deforesting happened, thanks to the lack of school fees and need for more land to cultivate. The sloppy landscapes of Limuru overlooking tea farms reminded me of the large coffee plantations in my village and the Ruaka River streaming down the valleys took me back to Kiuro and Uri, the two rivers where I’d do laundry and sometimes fetch water as a young girl upcountry. It’s as though a portion of my childhood had been plucked from Meru and almost perfectly fitted in Kiambu County, the only difference was the set up and of course, the horses ( I first saw a horse at a showground at around the age of twelve)…anyway.
Kawamwaki farm is a 50 acre expanse of land with 90 % natural vegetation including various species of 50 + year old indigenous trees, most of which Tim has planted himself. About 5 acres of the farm sits Tim’s home featuring his 100+ year old classical mansion, his studio, the farm offices, a mini ranch, tree nurseries and organic vegetable gardens. It’s a natural abode of tranquility and a perfect escape from the city buzz except, it’s just a private residential home. We drove around the farm as Tim took us through the various species of indigenous trees he had planted over 20-30 years ago.
Our visit to the farm was part of our homework for the preparation of Architect Tim’s profile which will feature in one of the upcoming issues of BUILDesign Magazine. During our interview before hand, Tim had deeply expressed his love and respect for the environment and how he has always strived to ‘work with nature’ in all his projects. So getting an experience of how he actually lives was just a confirmation of everything he had said. A passionate environmentalist, Tim has lived and practiced in Kenya for over 40 years. He is currently a symbol of consultancy and advisory at TRIAD Architects, one of the largest architectural firms in Kenya, where he has also been practicing until his retirement last year. They say architects never retire so technically, Tim is still practicing – mainly handling small projects here and there that are close to his heart alongside lots of travelling and just an ample time at his farm. I’ll not go into the details of his profession here because we’ll have the full story in the magazine. Stay on the lookout, I’ll share on Instagram in due course.
Have a lovely day
Wendy K. Bedfrid
Photos: Julie Bungei and Mwangi of Kawamwaki Farm