From South Sudan, we traveled east, into Kenya. The border town is Lokichogio, nicknamed Loki. When things were at their worst in Sudan, the United Nations and dozens of NGOs were headquartered there to disseminate food, shelter and medical aid. Loki’s airport was said to be busier than Nairobi’s. It’s an ironic sad story, to Loki, peace brought an economic catastrophe. Most of the NGOs have left. The airport takes in but a couple flights.
Traditionally, the people of northern Kenya were pastoralists. Many still are. They are called the Turkana. It was not uncommon to see a man with a bow and arrows tending to his flock of goats. The women are bare-breasted with giant colorful rings around their necks. We were on shinny bicycles with a lithium powered water filter and a computer navigation system listening to satellites thousands of miles away. It was a contrast that escaped no one. They would beg for food, water, anything.
Desertification, high birth rates and economic opportunity are transforming their way of life. From Loki south there is one road. It is dotted with towns overflowing with migrants attempting to escape a rough life dependent on the whims of nature. NGOs are omnipresent. Most vehicles are Land Cruisers, stamped Norwegian Relief Council, Caritas International, World Vision, etc. It’s something you see all too often in Africa, the hopes of whole towns pinned to the West’s charity.