Words & Pictures from Northern Kenya

At least 43 people killed in 5 counties in the last 2 weeks

Armed herder in Northern Kenya

According to my timeline I have tweeted reports of 43 violent deaths and 22 violence related injuries in the last two weeks. These reports have all originated from mainstream media or sources such as KPR, rangers or doctors. The deaths occurred in just 5 counties. Turkana County - 5 dead, 2 injured Baringo County - 12 dead, 5 injured Laikipia County - 5 dead, 3 injured Samburu County - 2 dead, 1 injured Isiolo County - 19 dead, 9 injured This number is likely to be lower than the true ... Continue Reading

Living on Rubbish in a Bright Red Dress

Girl at the dump

I met the girl in a bright red dress at the municipal rubbish dump one day, her eyes were smarting from the smoke and dust but she was excited to see me, or rather, to see what I had brought. There are no rubbish collections here in northern Kenya. You have to manage all your own rubbish yourself. It is a very good exercise in understanding just how much waste we produce on a daily basis. Here, as yet, there is not very much in the way of packaged foods. A few tinned items, some things in ... Continue Reading

It’s not drought that is causing the violence in Laikipia

Moving Livestock

Drought years are happening more and more frequently in Kenya, especially in the northern half of the country. Weather conditions are more variable than they once were, but perhaps more significantly there are a lot more livestock than there used to be. Either way, drought like conditions are now occurring every few years. Every time there are drought conditions pastoralist struggle to find enough grazing for their animals. I am married into a northern pastoralist family and over the years I ... Continue Reading

Traveling through Northern Kenya on the Wind Farm Road

The windfarm road

In order to get the large lorries needed to carry wind turbines up to the remote shores of Lake Turkana, the Lake Turkana Wind Power company have had to make a serious investment in road care. The old road that led from Laisamis to Loiyangalani was bone jarring at best, at other times impassable due to flood waters from distant mountains or rainy season mud. Long and dusty, it wasn't anybody's idea of a good time. The road they have made, though still a dirt road, is pretty spectacular. You ... Continue Reading

Why is it acceptable for schools to be so bad in developing countries?

A classroom in one of the best performing government schools in northern Kenya

The photograph is of a well equipped classroom in one of the best government schools in northern Kenya. Every time I visit such a school I always wonder why it is that everybody accepts such ridiculously low standards for education here. Or indeed in most countries across the African continent. The prevailing ideology of development agencies seems to be that if you build a classroom you have a school. Yet we all know that a building is not a school. A building only becomes a school when it ... Continue Reading