Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tribulations of the Turkana people

Every time when drought affects Kenya, Turkana County in the Northwestern part of the Country is amongst the most affected region together with Northeastern part. Now with Kenya and the Horn of Africa going through the worst drought in years, everyday we see images on TV and newspapers of the Turkana people’s suffering.
One amazing thing that I have noted is the people are very different from other Kenyans, most of them especially those living in the very remote parts are still backward in development. Most of them are half naked and the children are completely naked, the structures they live in are sticks joined together to make something like the Maasai Manyata, they are not safe at all. It is not like they are in Kenya where even the Maasai communities who wore their shukas for a long time and were considered backward are now very developed. Even though some still wear the shukas, they wear them covering most of their body and do it as a tradition wearing the latest designs.
The case of the Turkana people is very sad yesterday after watching Citizen TV news I was shocked and said OH MY GOD! There was a newscast on people walking over 10 km to get food from the “nearest” local authority, after trekking nearly the whole day they go back home with only one 2kg tin (gorogoro) of maize, those lucky to get more go home with 3 tins. Some even end up going home empty handed. One person at the office said there are people who are 25 kms away who have not been reached. Imagine what will happen before the message gets to them that there is relief maize at the local authority 25 kms away, if the others took nearly a whole day to walk around 10 - 11kms, they will have to spend a night or two, too and from the chief/district office where they get the maize. The worst is there is no guarantee they will get the maize and may collapse going back home.
This is shocking for us Kenyans to see there are people in our country who leave like they are in their own world. This is a real Food for Thought for the Government to work on because there is no way life in Turkana will improve with poor infrastructures. On this news a messenger was sent on foot to announce to the villagers to collect maize from the authorities’ office 10 - 11kms away. This means even the local authority does not have the capacity like Government vehicles to distribute the relief food or the roads are bad. Therefore apart from thinking of Agricultural methods to improve food security, they have also to put in place proper infrastructure in Turkana County. We have seen trucks of relief food stuck for days on the way to deliver food some have also been attacked. The Government is now using the military aircraft and the military to deliver food in Turkana.
Thank God for initiative Kenyans for Kenya, God bless us Kenyans, many local and international organizations for willingly contributing towards saving lives. It is also good the Government took up their duty to distribute food to the affected areas using the military. The Military should also now be deployed in such affected regions to work on infrastructure and security because the aircraft can only offload the food at an airstrip.
Lastly as I looked at the half naked Kenyans and the naked children I just thought may be after the drought, people should also donate clothes.

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