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Johan Gerrits | profile | all galleries >> Kenya - Journey around the Turkana Lake tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Kenya - Journey around the Turkana Lake

Turkana, this region is considered the cradle of humankind, once the Garden of Eden, the paradise. Now the inhabitants are facing climate change: droughts, shrinking water levels and subsequent tribal wars. An upcoming hydroelectric power plant project on the Omo River, the only permanent tributary to Lake Turkana, is now seriously threatening life in and around the lake.
The Turkana is one of the most remote areas of Kenya and is mostly inhabited by nomadic communities such as the Pokot, Toposa, Samburu and Turkana tribes. These communities form smaller groups of 40-100 families called adakar, and migrate with their herds along established routes to find pasture and water for their livestock. These people are highly dependent of their herds and have the highest numbers of livestock in the country. Their livestock (consisting of goats, sheep, donkeys, cows and camels) is their main form of wealth and provides them with food, building materials and cash earnings. The animals play also an important role in various social functions such as payment of the bride price. One’s status in the community is based on the size of their herds and only when there is need for money, for example for food or veterinary drugs, the animals are sold. Losing one livestock is a horrible thing for the Turkana.