We can’t make it to Kapedo this trip. The roads are washed out, cars have been washed away, and it will be two weeks before the roads can be repaired enough to allow some traffic through. Nginyang River is washed out, bridges are gone, the message is clear, we can’t go this trip.
The violence started when a Pokot man was beheaded in Kapedo. We don’t know the circumstances. When the Pokots asked for his head so that they could bury him, the Turkanas said they didn’t have it. That started the violence. Attacks on the road. The chief who has worked with us barely escaped the attack on his vehicle by running off. All others in the vehicle were killed, and the car was burned. Guards from the government joined forces with local security people to go and meet with the Pokots and bring in those responsible. They were ambushed from the hills above and all 22 of them were killed and their guns were taken. The Turkanas responded by destroying the water supply for the Pokots’ livestock and filling the well with rocks. The government responded by saying “give us back the guns, or you will all be killed.” Samuel and two other friends from the peace initiative went house to house to convince people to give back the guns. They were able to recover 20 of the guns and no one else was killed. The president of Kenya came to Kapedo for the first time and begged them to stop the violence and to use the vehicle of the peace initiative that we created to develop peace. Samuel and the peace initiative leaders met together to create a plan for peace. They went together, Turkanas and Pokots, to meet with the Pokots living in the remote site beyond Kapedo. They slaughtered a bull and invited them to a feast and stayed with them three days hoping to bring about peace.
The Pokots agreed not to kill anyone, not to put up any roadblocks to people passing through, no wrecking cars, no attacking travelers. They also agreed that if we put up a structure in their community, a multipurpose structure to be used for education, for healthcare, and for spiritual care, they would come. There is community buy in.
The challenge now is that though we have the stones, cement, roofing, etc., the builders don’t want to build there due to the security situation. Samuel talked to the district commissioner in a place called Chemolingot and was able to get a promise from him for a tent, three security guards and water for the builder to complete the task.
Samuel handed me the reports from the past year. I will be reviewing these overnight tonight, and tomorrow we will put together a couple of 12 volt water pumps to be used to pump river water up to the two communities to develop a fish project, or a garden project. I also have a donated ram pump that I hope to explain sufficiently to Samuel to make it work in doing a similar process. I have some supplies to put the electrical generator back on track and a backup generator that can be retrofitted in, we hope. Finally, I am going to see if anyone can create a dual chamber pump that harnesses the power of the salty hot waterfall of Kapedo and use that power to push more river water up to the village for agricultural development. This we will go over in detail tomorrow, then we leave it in Samuel’s hands. He will put this together with the communities’ help. Water is still critical to make the program work. Peace is essential or the water we develop will never last. Water becomes the target to be destroyed because it strikes the enemy where they are most vulnerable. Without water, the livestock die, their livelihood, their food source, their lives are destroyed.