A small visit to the wild again.

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The rough guide initiates its description of Lodwar like this:
“For most Kenyans, mention of Lodwar conjures up remote and outlandish images of the badlands, an aberrant place where anything could befall you. And the Turkana District capital is, to put it mildly, a wild town.”

Well, its not really that bad, but it’s a dry and dusty place where there is really nothing going on except from NGO´s and government organizations trying to bettering the conditions for the locals, and my impression is that the main task for all the people working there is to plan how to get away from there as soon as they arrive. Anyway – even after my 17 hours bus ride up these bumpy road last year I decided to go back with James and Sarah.

It took us 17 hours to get from Kisumu to Lodwar after being chased out the door very early in the morning. I think it was 3 matatus and one bus to Kitale. The matatus when they aren’t full enough sell you to another matatu and you have to change cars. We then got a place in a government vehicle heading to Lodwar with James. It takes a lot of time to get from Kitale to Lodwar, because nothing has been done to the road since the British left. Lots of places have eroded away and even some small cliffs are quite near the road that the buses pass on. Money has been allocated by the government but corrupt officials always find a way not to have the money go to that use. We saw several of Jame’s water projects on the way including drip irrigation and water storage ponds.

The tribal communities around there are still quite violent and have always ongoing disagreements. They are also all dependent on relief aid for food although they have lots of goats as well. The problem is that the communities are so used to just getting the aid that they do not want to work at all to receive it thus projects are usually unsuccessful because communities do not want to upkeep operations. I didn’t hear from the tribal communities so I’m sure they also have a side. We did meet a man in Lodwar that was from the disputed triangle area that Kenya is claiming. He was the only one in his community with an education and got it much by chance when he killed a goat with his friends to eat and got a severe punishment from his father. He ran away and ended up in a boarding school where he ended up liking the atmosphere.

We left town several times all in government vehicles – you do not stray from town. We traveled to Lake Turkana which is a beautiful mirage almost from the surrounding desert with palm trees and lots of birds. Such a difficult place to get to but even more gorgeous due to the trip there. Lots of camels and herds of goats followed by herdsmen. Randomly scattered villages all over made out of branches and mud and many times children run out to greet the car on roads that do not see cars often. We also visited the Catholic farms pumping water from underground near the river and they were able to grow some remarkable fruits. So green compared to everything surrounding the farms. Unfortunately I do not think there is water for everyone to farm like this but hopefully they could expand at least a little and let more than the Catholic priests experience fresh fruit in Lodwar.

Lodwar was a great experience also this time, though hot! It was around 38 degrees when we were there. It took 20 hours to arrive back in Nakuru with overnight buses, which included two stops of about two hours each to wait for the bus to fill up before it continues to the next town. I was  filthy from all the sand blowing into the windows og the buses, and my backpack looked like it had been to war with dust all over and for some reason red and blue paint all over as well. I continued straight to Nairobi, and spent one night before I again entered a bus and travelled to the coast. Some time I will add the kilometres I have spent in a bus in Kenya, and I will probably realize that Im totally crazy to keep crossing the country several times.

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