Ngiini Primary School Kitui; Kitui High School; Moi University Eldoret; Mondsee Institute of Limnology -Austria; UNESCO-IHE Delft The Netherlands; Kagoshima University – Japan
BSc Fisheries, MSc Environmental Science & Technology; MSc Fisheries / Oceanography; PhD Fisheries
State Department of Fisheries (Ngomeni Mariculture Project Malindi, Sagana Fish Farm Sagana); Kenya Marine & Fisheries Research Institute
Pwani University, Kenya
Favourite thing to do in my job: Walk the beach, dive into the sea, and try to understand the dynamics of the sea, the tides, the waves, the weather, the animals that live there, how they divide their territories, how they survive in salt water, how the plants grow at bottom, what makes corals beautiful; soooo many things to do, just follow your passion and dive in!
I am a lecturer in marines sciences, fisheries, environment and all that concerns the sea; I love swimming, diving and exploring the sea/ the ocean, and just out of curiosity, try to understand it!!
My work entails teaching the following subjects from September to April: Fisheries, study of the weather at sea (marine meteorology), study of the relationships between plants and animals and their environment (Ecology), study of the behaviour of the sea (Physical oceanography), environmental management and management of fisheries using the new approaches of considering all attributes in the environment (ecosystem approach). During this period we also have exams after every 3 months and examine the students. Basically we dont have national exams every 4 years for universities as we have in high schools
When i am not in class, I am in the field doing research, mainly on management of fisheries, especially the small scale fisheries within the shores, creeks, bays etc. and most of my research has been in the Malindi Ungwana Bay from Malindi to Kipini, Lamu archipelago, and outside Kenya I have studied the Kagoshima Bay in southern Japan for 6 years during 2006-2012.
When am not lecturing, or in the field doing research, I love nature drives with my family, and I love travel alot
My Typical Day
Lecturing, mentoring students, preparing notes for them, and exams.
What I'd do with the money
I will embark on a high school program to engage the high school students in marine research where selected students will join our labs once every week to sample the coast at Bofa, bring samples to lab, identify and through tutorials with my B.Sc. students, get to understand the sea more
I would select a team of mentors from my B. Sc. programs and then from the participating schools, I will have a group of 3-6 students making roughly a class of about 30 high school students/mentees, 6-10 B.Sc. Marine student mentors. With this team we will set up a day of fieldwork every week and followed by another day of lab-work where students sample / survey the intertidal areas in Bofa, the mangrove areas in the creek and get to understand more about the species, the spatial distribution, the factors influencing the distribution (why every organism chooses to be where it is) etc. This will be basically involve being dropped at the beach by bus, work the morning, come back to the university and after lunch work on the samples and such a day would be followed by a day of tutorials where all the students attend, ask questions, raise their curiosity, get issues clarified, give opionions on what they feel we are doing wrong in relation to protecting our marine resources, what they would do given an opportunity, etc. I am sure by the end of the session and all the mentoring, we will have a great batch of marine ambassadors ready for further training in marine sciences and oceanography: wildlife clubs, environmental clubs, science clubs etc have done it for agriculture and other science fields, and we need to take the message stronger to these future marine scientists if we are to manage our coastal and marine resources sustainably.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
I am born from the savanna, but i have grown to love the sea, and i got a crazy passion for the coast and the marine field
What was your favourite subject at school?
Chemistry and Biology, I LOVED Chemistry with mad passion
What did you want to be after you left school?
Initially I want to do range management (you know this cowboy business), Grow up, rear many livestock, buy a horse and ride around like a cowboy!!
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Yeah, in form 2, the “man” in me then decided that since the form 4s from my village had completed their exams, i could join them for celebrations; I still remember the caning i got from my very friendly headmaster John Mutahi, I almost fainted, and realized if I don’t tow the discipline line, i will die before completing form 4; I typically got baptized into a good boy
If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?
I would be a musician, I would love to be striking my guitar on “Grass country” music everyday!
Who is your favourite singer or band?
I am an ardent lover of Lingala: Tabu Ley, Franco, Madilu, and Country music:(Andy Griggs, George Strait, Tim McGraw & Allan Jackson,
What's your favourite food?
Pan-fried fish (Tuna) with sautéed/parsley potatoes (roast potatoes also do the magic)
What is the most fun thing you've done?
My first dive, some 28m deep into the waters of Malindi Marine park in 1998, I would say was the happiest moments of my marine live!
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
1. I wanna remain an inspiration every aspiring marine scientist would want to follow, 2. I wanna be rich, and 3. I wanna live looooooong until i witness the wedding of my grand children/daughters
Tell us a joke.
Do you know the spelling for Samaki in english is GHOTI and not FISH?: “GH” in enouGH (pronounced as “enouF” there fore “F” can be written as “GH”; “O” in women is pronounced as wimen, therefore “i” can be written as “O”; “ti” in naTIon is pronounced as NeSHoN, therefore “SH” can be written as “TI”,,,,,,,, and therefore you can write “Samak” as FISH or GHOTI….sema Kizungu ni ngumu kuelewa, no wonder kitu ikiwa ngumu waswahili wanaita kizungu mkuti, sijaelewa hapo!