Kenya map:
Feb 01, 2005

So I've made it as far as Loarengak.  A town's whose name is a complete tongue twister for me.  I was unable even to come close to pronouncing it.  Each time I tried, my tongue would literally get tangled up in my mouth.  Finally, I learned that if I opened my mouth wide, and kept it open, I could spit out something at least close enough to "Loarengak".


Traditional Homes

Lake Turkana

Spanish Mission

The mission of the day is to find a way north, and the first step is to visit Father Francis who runs the Catholic mission.  Priscilla and I drop by his office but he's too busy to talk.  He asks that I come back to see him at 2pm.

Priscilla fries up the Kenyan staples of ugali and goat for lunch.  Then she sends me on my way to see the town.  The town is quite a bit bigger, and nicer, than Kalikol.  Though, like everywhere around here it's hot and dusty.  In Lodwar, and even in Kalikol, the traditional Turkana people seemed out of place; they seemed like visitors.  Here they seem at home. 

I was told that there are no restaurants or guesthouses North of Lodwar, but that's proving a bit untrue.  I find a cafe, which in addition to tea, serves a bit of food, and the butcher fries up meat for a slight surcharge. 

At 2pm, I visit Father Francis.  He's quite a contrast to the priests in Lodwar who told me that I'd be killed.  Both of those priests were white, a bit elderly, and a bit overweight.  Father Francis on the other hand is an impressive character.  He's a Malaysian Priest, of about my age, who is running a Spanish mission.  He must fluently speak at least 6 languages (Bahasa Malay, Spanish, English, Swahili, Turkana and Latin).  The priests in Lodwar told me that I'd be killed if I came up here, but Father Francis travels freely between warring tribes to preach to both sides.  I don't agree with missionary work, but I am impressed with him.

Father Francis gives me all the help that I could want.  He offers me a room in the mission's guesthouse for tonight so I won't further impose on Priscilla.  In this case, the word guesthouse actually means a house for guests - free of charge.  He tells me that tomorrow there is a tractor that can take me down to the lake to meet with the police where they load up on water.  The police will give me a ride up to the border.  There is no way safer to travel to the border than in a truck full of Kenya's elite police forces. 

Father Francis draws me a rough map of the rest of the route to my destination of Omorate in Ethiopia.  From the border, it is only a 3-mile walk to the Ethiopian police checkpoint.  I can sleep there.  Then it's 13 more miles to Omorate, but I can walk that or catch a ride.  He tells me that 9 people were killed in Sibil last week, which isn't too far from where I'm going, but I still shouldn't have any problems.

After the meeting, I walk down to the Lake.  It's a bit of a long walk, but it isn't so hot in the afternoon.  Lake Turkana up here is much nicer here than it was in Kalikol.  At the lake there is no one around, just a couple of empty fishing boats.  But once again I don't manage to have a swim.  I run out of time.  It's starting to get late and the town apparently gets very dangerous after dark, so I rush back. 

It's a very hard life in the desert and the fauna very much protects itself.  Everything out here has spikes.  I spent part of the afternoon pulling 50 small broken off spines out of the soles of my Tivas where they had embedded themselves.  That wasn't bad though.  What was bad, was that two bigger spines went straight through the soles and punctured my foot.  The local people make use of them though - Priscilla's house is protected by a very effective natural barbwire made from these spikes. 

I arrive back in town, almost too late for dinner - nothing is open after dark.  The butcher is out of goat.  He offers to make me chicken, but they only sell whole chickens.  I asked for something else as it must take a long time to slaughter, pluck and prepare an entire chicken.  The butcher cooks up some spaghetti for me; something I wouldn't have expected to find in remote African villages. 

Tomorrow, I might be in Ethiopia.

The trip from Nairobi to Addis Ababa was interesting enough that I wrote it up as a daily log.  If you'd like to read it from the beginning click here:  [ Leaving Nairobi ]

Leave a comment!  I'm much more inspired to write when I know people are reading. 

Sammy Thomson - Aug 12, 2007

Hi Adam,
I am a Uni student and employee at a welfare organisation in Australia.  I am studing for a Diploma In Community Welfare.
Would you mind if I used some of these pictures of yours in a powerpoint presentation to be presented in class and I shall include your webpage in my referencing.

Kind Regards Sammy.

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