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Tracking khat from Kenya to Canada

Canada Goose Jackets Everyone seems to be talking khat these days. American counterterrorism officials claim the trade finances Somalia’s canada goose clearance sale Al Qaeda affiliate, Al Shabab. Environmentalists warn that khat fields are sucking up the last of Yemen’s water reserves. And Hind Aleryani, a Yemeni blogger, helped lead a social media campaign that called for a khat free day throughout the country to ignite a debate about its rampant use and the impact on agriculture and the economy. and most of Europe, khat is illegal. But, despite the ban, demand remains high among the East African diaspora there are an estimated 150,000 Somalis living in Canada, mostly in Toronto, Ottawa and cities in Alberta. Canada Border Services Agency officials confiscate khat shipments almost buy canada goose jacket every day at Toronto’s Pearson airport. In June and July alone, 1,610 kilograms were seized, with an estimated street value of up to canadian goose jacket $800,000. Canada Goose Jackets

canada goose uk black friday “It’s very difficult to understand why this stuff’s against the law,” Ontario Court Justice Elliott Allen said in the original ruling. “I read everything I can get my hands on about it and find it difficult to be canada goose deals persuaded of anything other than what I was told by a federal Crown attorney when I had my first case, which was: ‘We think this is almost as dangerous as coffee.'” canada goose uk black friday

Khat Canada Goose Jackets is legal in the United Kingdom, where its use has been extensively studied, and it is a thriving business. But that may change as the controversy there grows a push to ban it is being championed by Conservative MP Mark Lancaster.

canadian goose jacket Others counter that khat is harmless and making it illegal draws precious resources from policing more potent drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, with clear ties to organized crime and its violence. canadian goose jacket

So what is khat? What does it do? Where does it come from and how does it get to Canada? Is its trade funding the Shabab? Why the debate?

We’ll start where the khat trade starts each day, just before dawn at farms like Mithika’s, where boys and men perch like flocks of birds in crooked branches and quickly pluck the day’s harvest.

Canada Goose Parka A little more than 48 hours later, those tender branches, now wilting, will be stuffed into the cheeks of Toronto chewers, who wonder what all the fuss is about. Canada Goose Parka

Canada Goose Online His home is a two room wood hut with a tin roof. One room is the size of the mattress his family shares; the other, just space enough for a ratty couch and coffee table. The family eats outside under a canopy of banana, mango and avocado trees and mycanadagoosejacket.org beside a cabin that serves as the kitchen. Canada Goose Online

canada goose coats on sale On this July morning, it is buy canada goose jacket cheap about 10 degrees and, as the fog lifts, Canada Goose online dew blankets his home. canada goose coats on sale

Mugambi, 30, is a khat picker. On a good day, he makes enough to feed his family, have a drink and put 150 shillings ($1.80) away for his children’s high school education.

buy canada goose jacket When the church bells ring, the birds jolt awake and Mugambi sets off along a well worn trail behind his home. He stops at the local canteen, where water is boiling for the morning tea. Other pickers sit at Canada Goose Outlet a picnic bench in the courtyard trying to wake up and get warm. Inside, a fading poster of the Lord’s Prayer hangs on the wall. buy canada goose jacket

The canteen opens at 6 and closes at midnight so owner William canada goose black friday sale Gitonga doesn’t sleep much. By the time Mugambi arrives, Gitonga is tossing squares of dough into a vat of boiling oil to make batch after batch of

, a doughnut like fried pastry.

There are two boys who are just canada goose clearance 12 years old. Shandrack Nkunja says his father died and his mother’s illness has forced him to support his two sisters, so he moved in with a cousin and began picking about a year ago. His friend, Kevin Mutugi, no longer lives at home either, saying his father kicked him out.

canada goose store Kevin is sipping tea, huddled over the steaming cup, wearing ripped jeans and cheap Canada Goose a tattered pink and purple windbreaker while children his age pass wearing their blue and white uniforms and Disney knapsacks. “I’d like to be in school, yes,” Kevin says quietly, but he admits he likes money and chews khat himself. canada goose store

Once at the field, the pickers quickly climb the trees, their hands a blur as they snap off the tender reddish branches. The more they pick, the more they can make since they’re paid for the weight of their haul. Within an hour, the 25 pickers have harvested almost two acres of trees.

population Canada Goose sale 40,000, is consumed by the khat trade. It has only a few streets and none are officially named. One, known as “bank street,” is lined with half a dozen bank branches and ATMs that are patrolled by armed guards. Although Maua is not a rich town, money moves through here. Another street is lined with small shops Good Hope Grocery, Trinity Salon, Third World Wines and Spirits, Small But Fit Butchery, the Blessings Store. Men sell newspapers on the corner. Some businesses never close.

uk canada goose outlet Janet Kagendo sits in a shop used to process khat, her legs outstretched, the floor a carpet of discarded khat leaves. She is a sorter, a job she has had for five years, since she was 19. uk canada goose outlet

Canada Goose sale There are about a dozen women in the shop, two of them breastfeeding as they work. Canada Goose sale

canada goose black friday sale For the next hour, Kagendo and the others will discard canada goose store the larger, bitter tasting leaves and bundle the remaining stems together. Out on the street and in other shops around town, about 100 more sorters do the same task. All these bundles are wrapped in massive banana leaves to keep the khat fresh. canada goose black friday sale

canada goose uk outlet Sorting is good money, Kagendo says. When added to what she makes each afternoon selling bananas and oranges roadside, it’s enough for shelter and food for herself and 5 year old son. canada goose uk outlet

canada goose coats Their gleaming white teeth provide the clue that most Maua women stay away from khat, unlike the town’s men, whose canada goose outlet teeth bear the telltale brown stains of regular consumers. canada goose coats

canada goose clearance The next team of workers takes the sorted bundles known as “kilos” although that’s more a guess than a weight into large, white burlap sacks, marking each with the name of the export company that will pick it up once it reaches Nairobi that afternoon. canada goose clearance

Walking along the main road watching all of this is Abdi Kadir Mohammed. He is a khat distributor.

Mohammed, 54, was born in canada goose coats northeast Kenya, in the town of Mandera. Unlike most in Maua, who are of Meru descent, Mohammed’s heritage is Somali, although he balks at the suggestion he is anything but Kenyan and quickly tells me he has never stepped across the border.

He has four wives, 15 children and moved here two decades ago. As Canada Goose Parka an outsider, it took him years to establish himself but eventually he gained respect as an honest distributor. He lives in a small concrete house off the main road with one of his wives and his younger children, including his 9 year old daughter Kali, who is confined to a bed, only able to rock and hum after a brain injury left her unable to walk or talk.

uk canada goose Like many here, Mohammed is also a khat consumer, although he only chews after the trucks leave for Nairobi uk canada goose.

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