Words & Pictures from Northern Kenya

Mount Kenya with Snow

Mount Kenya with Snow

Some days I see my home country everywhere I look. Mount Kenya, covered in snow, on a grey day during the dry season, looks a lot like Scotland; or at least it does to my unaccustomed eyes. The camel gives it away though, I have never seen a camel in Scotland. ... Continue Reading

Livestock herders dream of grass like this.

Good Grass

This is what the grass looks like in a conservation area. I am a pastoralist by marriage, we love our livestock. Cows, goats, camels; pastoralists love their animals beyond all reason. And that, I guess, is the trouble. There are now so many animals that there is rarely any good grass to be found any more. Poor rains don't help, but even when the rains are good the grass never gets that way, unless it is in area protected from livestock. The livestock we love is striping northern Kenya bare, and ... Continue Reading

Hard times in northern Kenya, the long and the short of it.

Skin and Bone Cows in Northern Kenya

For most of northern Kenya the long rains aren't actually any longer than the short rains. This year the long rains (arriving somewhere from late March and rarely staying beyond the first week in May) have been looked for with more than the normal amount of anxious anticipation. Across the north the short rains (usually occurring between late October and early December) were very poor, or failed completely. This disappointment came after an especially harsh long dry season, where many people ... Continue Reading

Killing Suspects

Killing Suspects

The Kenyan press are regularly reporting the death of 'suspected' criminals at the hands of the police or other security enforcement officers. Most of these people are suspected of crimes that would not actually carry the death penalty if they were tried and convicted. KWS for example shoots dead a lot of suspected poachers. Poaching doesn't carry the death penalty here. It seems we have a justice system that runs parallel to, but entirely separate from, the legal system of justice. This ... Continue Reading

Storm Clouds and Uncertainty over Northern Kenya

Turkana Mzee Talking about Climate Change

The weather in much of northern Kenya is giving all the signs that the seasonal rains have started. This is great news for the many pastoralists that have been struggling to keep their livestock alive through an especially harsh dry season. It is a little surprising though, as the rains here aren't due for nearly another 2 months. A few weeks ago, when we were still firmly in the grip of the long dry season, I was in a village on the east side of Lake Turkana, in Marsabit County. There I ... Continue Reading