Welcome to Kenya B

There is a Kenya A and a Kenya B.  If you were to divide the country in half, Kenya A is everything south of  Eldoret in the west and Isiolo in the east.  Kenya B is to the north – stretching from the border of Somalia to the east and South Sudan and Ethiopia to the north.

St. Dominique Saviour School, Manyatta Lengina Village.

No building, no books. A volunteer teachers provides instruction to a group of students in northern Kenya. This is what Kenya B looks like.

Kenya A has schools with textbooks and hospitals and paved roads and public transport.  They have cell phone networks and banks and post offices.  Kenya B has school buildings (if they are lucky) but no textbooks.  Many of the schools are a chalkboard leaned up against a tree that provides shade for the students and the volunteer teachers who receive no pay.  Health clinics can be as far as 300 kilometers away but most of the towns simply have a government dispensary providing aspirin, malaria treatments and rehydration meds from the bad water that brings constant bouts of life-threatening diarrhea. When cholera strikes like a death wave, it is the residents of Kenya B who have no recourse but to sit and watch their loved ones die.

Today we passed from Kenya A to Kenya B.  We made the customary stop in Isiolo to pick up the last of our supplies and do the final checks on our two and cruisers.  We then embarked on the short journey to Archers Post, where Semeji, BOMA’s security man, picked up his AK47. It had been checked at the police station.   Guns are not allowed in Kenya A, but Semeji is a recognized home guard, authorized to carry a gun to provide his community with protection since Kenya A does not see the value in signficant investments in security or a justice system for Kenya B residents.  We also picked up our second security guard, Aribo, whose name in Samburu literally means savior.  He has a G3.

Kura and I are spending two weeks in the field, checking in with our mentors and the women who are now running small businesses that BOMA helped them to establish with grants, training and mentoring.  We are joined by the generous presence of David duChemin, a humanitarian photographer who traveled with us two years ago thanks to a gift from a donor.  Now he is coming back, as his gift to us, and he is joined by Corwin Hiebert, his best friend and manager.

Kenya B is not all hardship.  For our first night as we head north, we are staying at Sabache, a new tented camp on the flanks of a mountain of the same name. I’m sipping my Tusker, listening to the melody of frogs who inhabit a nearby pool.  A group of warriors are perched on their haunches on the other side of my tent, attending to cattle that are shiny and fat.  This is also Kenya B.  When it is green, everyone is happy.  And I have never seen Kenya B so green.

It is a good start to our journey.

About Mama Rungu

Founder and CEO The Boma Project
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5 Responses to Welcome to Kenya B

  1. Heidi E. Goodhart says:

    Wonderful writing, beautiful photo. Successful new adventures to you.

  2. Randall Perkins says:

    Enjoying your gifted descriptions, and hope you feel our distant support close at hand these next 2 weeks. excited to imagine David’s photography grow into a catalyst for support. Have a safe, productive journey!

  3. Kit says:

    Greetings from Panama, Mama Rungu. We are in the Cloud Forest outside of Boquete on a small coffee plantation. A bit different from The Forgotten Kenya. Please convey our warmest good wishes to Kura, David and Corwin, Professor John, Semeji and all our wonderful friends in the communities you are visiting. Love to you all. Travel safely. Mama Mema

  4. Patricia says:

    Wonderful to read your post, Kathleen. Please give a hug for me to Cayzine and Brown when you see them.

  5. Jane Long says:

    Thanks for taking us along with you, Kathleen! It is a real pleasure to read your descriptions and see your photos. Have a safe and successful trip, and please give my best to Kura.

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