I had always wanted to go to Turkana. My only experience with the counties in Northern Kenya was Garissa and Isiolo, I fell in love with Isiolo. Garissa felt like a mini shoppers mecca. I will tell you more about those in another post.
Just before the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020. I had the opportunity to travel to Turkana for work. I tried to manage my expectations and wait to see what it was like and the people.
When we landed in Lodwar, the heat was harsher than what I had experienced anywhere, it was definitely past 40 degrees Celsius and the sun was unforgiving. It felt like it was on a mission to melt my skin. The cab driver picked us up from the airstrip, all windows rolled down, there was no point in AC in that heat.
Even as we drove to the hotel, I genuinely felt sad, it felt like I was driving through 1980s Kenya in a rural town, yet this is an improvement made over the last seven years of devolution. Sandy road, with mutters of tarmac here and there.
I was there to document a workshop with community members who were pushing for inclusive legislation on ensuring communities benefited from the natural resources they possessed and were mined by outsiders of the community. I was in a hotel, whose name I can’t recall. Frying in a room with extremely weak fans no AC. It felt like being trapped in an oven. But in a see of people in conventional dress of shirts trousers and dresses with normal hairstyles.
I saw what like many so called outsiders get fascinated by; a woman in traditional garb. The bead work was amazing. I later came to learn in traditional Turkana culture the beauty of a woman is measured among many things by the length of her neck and her legs.
I just couldn’t stop staring at the woman. I had to stop eventually because it would get awkward, but to keep that beauty in my mind, I captured this image.