City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

Plant Fruit:

African Safari Sparks Life-Changing Mission

The Batwa, East Africa’s original indigenous dwellers of the jungles, lived in harmony for centuries, flourishing in a time capsule that protected them from modern-day issues and provided them food and medicine. Then, in 1997, they were forced from the forests and found themselves naked, without food or shelter and lacking skills to cope with society. They became beggars in a world they didn’t understand, with neighbors who didn’t understand them. 

The Batwa of Kisoro Hill—201 souls—are squatting on land they do not own in shelters pieced together from trash. They pray their children will live to age 6—and nearly half don’t. Without nutrition and in the absence of medical care, they succumb to everyday illness. Men infrequently work removing trash in exchange for a meal—never enough to feed their families. Women walk 12 km each way to obtain water—dirty water. Children can’t attend school due to hunger.

During the pandemic, tourist dollars were scarce and the plight of the Batwa became even more dire. These indigenous people feel that they have no future, and for many, life has become hopeless.  

Chance Encounter

In 2019, when Thousand Oaks resident Kim Mowder went on a safari in Uganda and visited the Batwa, her trip was a bucket-list maker, while meeting the Batwa was life-changing. From that encounter, Plant Fruit was born. A board of directors was formed comprised of women from the Conejo Valley who now lend their time to this great cause.

Today, Plant Fruit brings hope in the form of People, Land, Agriculture, Nutrition and Training. The skills Batwa women and men are learning at Plant Fruit’s trade school can lift their families out of deep poverty and provide a brighter future. The land planted by the Batwa can feed them for life. With the help of Plant Fruit and their generous donors, the Batwa of Kisoro Hill are re-inventing themselves to ensure their survival in the modern world.

“quote about this by Kim or another member,” says Kim.

To learn more about Plant Fruit, visit