Turkana County covers a huge expanse of northwestern Kenya. If you visit, you might observe that the region is hot, dry, and sparsely populated, and that its people live with very little.
But if you stay, you might find much more than this beneath its surface.
Such as water. Though Turkana has experienced numerous periods of drought in the last few decades, some communities now have boreholes that provide access to water that sustains the people and land. This water, along with gracious rainy seasons, provides temporary relief from drought and food insecurity.
More recently, oil has been discovered in the region. This is the promise of an abundant new resource. However, it has also brought the attention of wealthy companies, further burdening the already weak infrastructure that exists to help ensure the local community benefits from basic resources.
Perhaps most surprising is the discovery of deep resilience and determination in a people who have faced the challenges of drought, famine, and disempowerment. The Turkana people are plain Nilotes, which means that they are nomadic animal herders. Their primary currency is goats, camels, and sheep, which they herd year-round.
Some communities also grow sorghum or other grains to mill for food. Most other food and goods must be transported from surrounding regions, leaving the people largely dependent on the inconstant provisions of the earth and aid from other countries—and at risk for malnourishment, disease, and economic insecurity.
The current of resilience just below the surface of these challenges is easy to see, if you look and ask. Children attend school. Communities rally their resources. Women meet to weave mats and craft brooms to sell. Goats are slaughtered to welcome new friends and celebrate the provision of a meal.
How You Can Be a Part of What is Happening in Turkana
Alabaster Mobile Clinic is building relationships in Turkana and learning how we—and you—can partner with the community to build access to needed resources. Opportunities abound.
- To address health needs, we conducted outreach clinics to assess needs and connected to local health workers to meet the long-term health needs of the community.
- We are partnering with the primary school to create a garden to supplement school meals of beans and maize with vegetables. Often, school lunch is the only meal a child will eat.
- A women’s group, recently formed, is joining together to sell their crafts, learn leadership skills like public speaking and business skills like record-keeping, and address the needs of their community. Further training and micro-financing can help them do even more.
You can be a part of all of these initiatives. Check our blog and follow us on social media to hear more stories and keep learning. Head over to our giving page to become a monthly donor, or to learn about the new initiatives launching soon. Your partnership peels back the surface challenges and reveals the resilience and beauty of Turkana and its people. You can bring new life to a dry place.