Monday, 3 February 2014

Of Droughts & Friends - Water Separates Us

A few years back, I came across a typical post on an LGB page about a new emerging group in North Eastern Kenya. I was drawn to this post, and spoke to a much-surprised Brian* who ordinarily had most of his posts ignored.

Getting to know him and the group Upper Rift Minorities which mainly comprised of nomadic LGB group organizing and growing and finding ways to occupy spaces that are hostile in every sense of the word. I took it upon myself to write about this very inspiring group and their story caught the attention of many.

I guess after that, the rest is history. The group has really managed to grow from strength to strength; and it has even managed reach out to even more vulnerable populations, LGB refugees based in the area and they have support groups.

Over the years, we have become great friends.  I do not write much anymore but today I would like to share with you some rather grim news from my friend.

He sent me this text yesterday,

Imagine, due to hunger in the north, I have been sent to the mountains to rescue my grandparents who are trapped in this scenario.  What the news are showing is just but a small portion of the real situation on the ground.

Melissa, people are dying from thirst, leave alone hunger. The is no water and all the wells are dry, people are forced to move kilometers to look for water, on the way they meet their death. You can’t believe one of my Aunty’s had to leave her two dead children on the way coming. She was forced to leave our grandparents on the way as the could not walk…………

……..I will be out of network for three days. I will go by foot with my aunt coz she is the only one who knows where she left them…..

What a horrible situation! Even more disturbing is that this region has recently discovered two huge aquifers!

 “One, close to the main town of Lodwar, is said to have a proven reserve of 10 billion cubic metres of fresh water. The other, the Lotikipi basin, further north, towards the Sudanese border, is even larger, holding at least 200 billion cubic metres of water. Kenya water discovery brings hope for drought relief in rural north – The Guardian

So it turns out oil was also discovered in the North! Two guesses what has been put as a priority for drilling and pumping - you got it, oil!! So now we have a drought where so many needless deaths, pain and suffering has to be endured by our fellow countrymen and all this barely 4 months into discovery of huge water reservoirs! When is the government going to prioritise the needs and rights of its people as a matter of urgency?

And to think, there are so many complaints against the governor and his warped up priorities on what they are spending money on (like several land-cruisers!!) instead of investing in community based initiatives to allow everyone the ability to make a good and decent life for themselves! And all we know is how to give AID and give heroes, put up millions worth of silly Ads and billboards…wtf! We need to find a way to force the government stop leaving some Kenyans at the fringes of existence! The North does not need aid, it needs infrastructure, it needs equal opportunities like the other parts of this country. Let us stand together and fight for our fellow country men and women to have a live with dignity!
Being the second day our friends is on his trek to rescue his family, I send positive vibes, safety and peace of mind at such a gruesome trip....

“It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes we must do what is required.” ― Winston Churchill

 *Not his real name