What is Turkana?
Turkana. I’d never heard of it until a few years ago when I was watching the news and heard about the famine there. It’s actually in the northwest part of Kenya, although the people who live there will often tell you that it is a country in itself.
The biggest need in Turkana is water. It hasn’t rained in some parts of Turkana for years. When CRF first started helping there, we brought in truckloads of food. But we realized we weren’t going to help enough until we got water.
We were told that there was no water. We were told if we drilled there, we would be crazy because everyone was hitting, dry holes. Then we were given our own rig that could drill 900 feet deep, and we started hitting water nearly every time. We were also given matching funds for the wells, and now we have drilled hundreds of wells in Turkana.
In addition to wells, we have started farms, schools, child sponsorships, churches, and animal distribution. I am often asked why we don’t move on from Turkana. We just don’t know of a place where the need is greater.
I hope some of the information in this newsletter will help you understand the need in Turkana and make you glad that you have helped.
Story written by Francis Bii, CRF Program Director (Eldoret, Kenya)
The Turkana people are “Nilotec” – one of many tribes of the Nile River region of Africa. The Turkana people are nomadic pastoralist people that inhabit the Turkana region in Kenya and are the second largest pastoralist group in Kenya after the Maasai. Turkana is a semi-arid climatic region bordering Lake Turkana in the East, Pokot, Rendile and Samburu to the South, Uganda to the west and South Sudan and Ethiopia to the north.
The Turkana people’s main sources of water are infrequent streams that flow through the desert. When it rains in the mountains to the south, the rivers are flooded. These flash floods are dangerous because they come without warning and can sweep people away. And then, as soon as the river started flowing, it is dry again. Only a bit of water is able to soak into the ground. After the rivers dry up, open pit wells are dug in these dry river beds. These pits are used for providing water to the livestock and also for human consumption. There are few (if any) developed wells for community and livestock drinking water, and often families must travel several hours searching for water. We as Turkana people thank Hope Water International through Christian Relief Fund (CRF) for drilling more wells in Turkana. This has helped the community to settle in places that now have water for livestock and human consumption. However, we still need more wells to be drilled. This is a great achievement by Christian Relief Fund, insuring our girls, women and young men are not raped and killed by bandits from neighboring communities who are also searching for water and green pastures.
Livestock is also an important aspect of Turkana culture. Goats, camels, donkeys and zebu are the primary herd stock utilized by the Turkana people. They rely on these animals for milk and meat. Goat is roasted on fire—roasting meat is their favorite way of consuming meat. But nowadays animals are used as form of currency. We sell our livestock to get money; this money helps us to meet our basics needs. Turkana is a region that has witnessed perennial drought. And when it strikes, livestock and locals suffer. The elderly and the children are the most affected in our community when they don’t have food and water to survive. We also thank Christian Relief Fund for the gift of goats. CRF provides many goats in our community in terms of restocking the animals lost due to droughts. The goats given by CRF have brought hope to the community because we can sell goats to meet our basics needs such as food, clothes, education and other essential needs.
Thank you Christian Relief Fund for caring and supporting the Turkana community.
About Christian Relief Fund
CRF is a non-profit relief organization based in Amarillo, Texas with a focus on holistic programs to rescue orphans and vulnerable children from poverty.
CRF operates child sponsorship programs in over 25 countries and is dedicated to providing food, clean water, healthcare and disaster relief to the glory of God worldwide.