The only thing that can bring things back to life, and restore energy levels in this community, is clean water.
As long as there is water, these young kids can continue to grow, continue to learn, continue to live.
Sorry I have been missing in action from my blog for a few months now, but I have been VERY busy and still am. I am working full-time for an amazing organization called ‘The Hope Foundation” and have also been working hard to get my Masters thesis finished. I also managed to fit in a weekend away in London and just under a month in Northern Kenya, doing field research.
Here are some photos I took while staying in the town of Lodwar, in Central Turkana, where temperatures reach up to 39’c on a daily basis, the climate is harsh and the landscape is desert like. Water is scarce, sanitation facilities are non existent and Life is all about survival. When I have more time I will share with you my stories are heart ache, horror, compassion and hope, but for now here are some photos of the amazingly beautiful children I befriended on my journey.
We eventually made it to Lodwar today. Cool date and it’s Kerrie’s 19th birthday-what a bizzare way to spend your birthday. I’m still shaking as I write…that bus journey was out of this world. I’ve also just realised it’s after 9pm and I am seriously sweating and very sticky- this has to have been one of the weirdest days of my life thus far.
First finding the bus- my god sister Geraldine-what a woman! She cracks me up! Totally paranoid she is. You would think after 27 years living here in Kenya she would have integrated in the local community..become a local. But no! To this day she still acts like an ‘Africa Virgin’. She is still unaccustomed to shouts of ‘Muzungu’ (white person), still believing any local will rape, beat, shoot or attack her all at once after 6pm!! Her word of wisdom to us, ‘Cover your bellies or you’ll be attacked!!’
So after 2 hours of waiting, being overcharged ourselves AND made to pay for an extra seat for our baggage (corruption I tell you!!), much hassle from endless hawkers trying to sell us watches and blades and socks and belts and water and nuts, we made it onto the bus.
We also made a new friend, Kalle. One could write a book on this boy and his life so far. Right, so his mom was a drunkard and left him with his grandmother whom he lived with until he was 6 and she sadly passed away of HIV/Aids. So then he became a cowboy- herding animals in the Turkana. A young swedish missionary rescued him and he realised he no longer wished to be a street kid. His alcoholic mother found God and is no longer a drunkard. She has set up her own orphanage in Lodwar to protect and help children like her son. Kalle is sponsored to go to highschool in Lokitang and Nairobi by the Swedish.
So finally Kalle takes his seat next to his sister and the bus starts up with a bang, a burst of congolese tunes and the start of a very bumpy bus ride! Sitting next to 2 Turkana women, we shared our music, sweets and exchanged small talk in English. The first 2-3 hours was amazing! Passing by tiny villages, maize fields and lush green grass, vegetables, up and down we glided through the cherangani hills, through valleys, cliff hangers and amazing views. We even had to drive through a river..only in Kenya!
As the climate and scenery changed, the bus slowly got warmer. Away from the hills we were faced with vast, endless barrenland. Desert, camels, goats, turkana herders- wearing traditional tartan and beaded neckolaces. It was hot- high 30’s at least. Then suddenlt, out of nowhere, the tarmac road stopper. Fuck. Small bump followed by small bump bump, bumpity bump…stretching on for 200km!
Everytime the bus went into a depression, us 3 fools sitting at the back, with our backpacks in tow, went flying into the air- like being shot from a cannon. This continues for miles and miles, hour after hour. My stomach ached so bad- I was starved but couldn’t eat. My head throbbed and I was gasping for a cold drink but afraid to drink for fear I would need to pee!
We finally made it. I’m sitting safely and alive, just about, in our wooden shack within the military compound. Basic? YES! Hot? YES! But it will do perfectly. A dream house in a dream land. Sand everywhere. Living in a compound surrounded by armed guards. Scorpions and spiders are our biggest worries. Tomorrow we visit St Kevins school and only God knows what lies ahead.
Oh yeah- we have no running water, no luxuries. A Bucket for showering, toilet, washing clothes, brushing teeth…everything! This will be a harsh life like no other. Bring it on!