Shift to New Site

Good morning everyone,

I would like to thank you for following this blog and for your contribution to my posts. You really are the best! 🙂

It is because of this contribution that I felt the need to further organize my posts on a better platform.

I would therefore like to inform you that this blog has now moved to mwikali.com. I take this opportunity to invite you to subscribe and read my posts there.

Thank you once again and I look forward to interacting with you on mwikali.com

This will be the last blog post on this site.

Love,

Mwikali.

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While we anticipate the irrelevant…..

…….girls aged twelve are sold off as brides to old pastoralist men. While we anticipate the next episode of Empire, traditional women in a wasteland benightedly ululate genital mutilation of their daughters. While we anticipate the next great marathon seasoned with comedic commentators, Frida* walks two days to a neighboring county hoping to find safety and education.

In Baringo County, everything apart from Frida* is part of everyday life.  Early marriage and FGM aside, women also experience gender based violence and they are denied a voice. Fortunately, Action Aid Kenya has stepped in and this is where my story begins.

There is a place called Churo in Baringo. In Churo, there is a primary school where Frida* and her younger sister ran to, when their father announced his plan to sell them off as wives to old men in Laikipia.  Frida’s father is married to four wives, each with ten children. Frida’s mother is his second wife. IMG_20150401_134743

In Pokot culture, a man can marry as many wives as he wants provided he is wealthy enough to pay dowry, usually in form of livestock. The Pokot also believe that a larger family is indicative of wealth, so the more children you have, the better.  When our team got to Frida’s homestead hidden among withered thickets on Laikipia plateau, we were greeted by a large crowd.

Once the pleasantries were out of the way, we sat down for a lengthy interview with Frida’s father, who became   rather likable as he explained the traditional beliefs of his tribe. By the time we left, I was torn between inwardly weeping for the girls of Pokot and appreciation for a community that had managed to shield its culture from erosion by westernization.IMG_20150401_133845

Meanwhile, Frida* sits first-term examinations in seventh grade and is looking forward to becoming a lawyer when she grows up. Why? She wants to defend the rights of children in her community and beyond. Our team will be keeping an eye on this brave young woman, while the world anticipates the irrelevant.

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Mbita Point, Kenya

Something many of you don’t know about me, is that other than weddings, I end up in pretty exciting documentary production ventures. As I write this, I am sitting in a cosy apartment by the shores of lake Victoria, brooding over the interviews we conducted earlier today on a group of farmers practicing push-pull technology.

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This ‘push-pull’ is a pretty fierce system, simultaneously stifling striga weed and suffocating stemborer moths. Growth of maize crops in Africa is mostly challenged by striga weed and stemborer. By planting desmodium between rows of maize and three border lines of brachiaria grass around the entire plot, farmers are able to prevent striga and stemborer on their maize plots.

I wouldn’t want to bore you with too much scientific mumbo-jumbo so I’ll get to the interesting culturly and artsy bits. For starters, Mbita is a very small town, so don’t expect too much. However, there is a ferry joining Mbita to Luanda. Using the ferry is a great idea if you’re going to Siaya, Kisumu or Maseno, except it only goes for about four trips in total each day. Also, its a fairly long sail from Mbita to Luanda so carry a good book to curl up to.

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Secondly, you will probably notice a micro-island on your left as you approach the Luanda shore. Today, I saw two iron-sheet roofed shacks on the micro-island. There was also one man ploughing his field (I hope he was practicing push-pull) and some livestock grazing. They say no man is an island, so the man had better get some neighbors to move in.                          IMG_20150323_105902

The highlight of my day was definitely seeing the largest Nile Perch ever! It was delivered onto the ferry by a large white truck. It takes four men to lift the fish and I bet it can comfortably swallow anyone five feet and below in a flash.

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I hope to learn more about the culture here during the week and as we take the ferry back to the ICIPE Campus in Mbita, I am glad to have experienced such diversity.

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Experience us today http://www.thellesi.co.ke