When we were done working in Lamu we travelled to Garsen.
Power is out, always happens in this small towns. It’s sevenish in the evening and darkness is slowly covering the earth. I cannot stay in the dark room anymore. It’s really hot in here and so I had to remove my pair of jeans and tie my shawl around my waist, this is all I have. My collegues have not yet come and my bag of clothes is in the vehicle.
I go outside, looking for the manager at least to get a candle lit for me. They were far in the kitchen and I could not move close, was uncomfortable in the knee length shawl acting as my skirt.
I sit on the verandah talking on phone to a friend, the lights suddenly come back, I run to the door, as I struggle to open I discover it’s the wrong door. Then my shawl falls down, I follow it to the ground, trying hard to hide my self behind the rose flower bush. All this while I was at the wrong door. I am gland the owner did not come out. I run to my room, lesson learnt. Don’t get comfy half naked outside during a power blackout.
It’s a relief the lights are back, I can write something or do some reading.
No alcoholic drinks sold in this hotel because the owner is a Muslim, was hoping to enjoy a bottle of chilled Guinness. Too bad for me.
The next morning.
I set my equipment and start working. I want the work to be completed soon because I am home sick. People stop me to ask what my equipment are for. One lady asks me take measurement of her home for she needs electricity connected to her house. “Sorry, am surveying water pipes and tanks, not dealing with electricity ” I tell her and move on.
In the small shopping center two old men call me, I walk slowly toward them. I do not like the attention because everyone turns to look at me. When I get to them, they ask a young man to get a stool for me.
“Am okay with standing ” I tell them. “No you have to sit” they tell me.
It’s considered disrespectful for a woman or a younger person to stand when being addressed by older men while they are seated. So I sit and we chat for a minute or two.
Am in Ngao village home to Pokomos only. Tana river county is majorly inhabited by the Ormo and the Pokomo. The two communities harbor animosity towards each other. The main issue am told is the basic resource-Tana river.
Tana river flows throughout the year, the only permanent river in the county. Ormo are livestock keepers while Pokomo are farmers. Conflict arrisses when animals belongings to the Ormo feed on he crop belonging to the pokomos. The farms are located along the river and the livestock are brought to the river for water…
In 2013 fights between the two communities left some dead and many displaced. It gets that serious sometimes. That was an election year, chances are the clashes were fuelled by politics.
Currently, am informed thay the county government consists majorly of the Ormo, and so the Pokomos have little say on the distribution of resources. They are embittered by this and can’t wait for the next election which will be in August.
To access one of the tanks that I am supposed to collect information on, I pass through a maternity unit newly constructed but closed. I ask the man working with me why it’s so.
“The politics of sabotage”. It’s all I get from him.
Garsen has been hit hard by the recent drought, I can even see animal hides of dead cattle. Still I see a dead cow and one too weak to walk, will be dead in a day or two.
We complete work in Garsen and move to the last town Hola. Soon I’ll be home. Yeee.