Carcasses by the roadside: travelling to Sericho

Saturday, July 9, 2011 - 11:25

We’ve driven approximately 250km from Isiolo to Sericho. Along the way the landscape gets drier and starker. A quarter of the way through our journey we are stopped by a herd of around 300 camels travelling South towards Isiolo. Enrico Eminae, ActionAid Kenya’s Regional Coordinator notes that this is a clear indication that the situation further north must progressively be getting worse especially regarding the availability of pasture and water for livestock.

As we continue our journey we start noticing carcasses by the roadside and stop to inspect each one. The first remains we see are of a goat, then a gazelle and a camel.

It’s a bad sign when wild life, such as gazelles, starts to perish due to drought. It’s even worse to see camels as they are usually very resilient and are the last animals to go Enrico tells me.

As we approach Modogashe, the last town before Sericho, goat carcasses are so frequent that we no longer stop or take note of them. In Modogashe we cross a bridge overlooking what once was the flowing Togweine river, but now looks like a never ending sand bank.  We’re anxious to arrive in Sericho to find out how people are coping with the drought.  

At Sericho School, we’re greeted by Ibrahim Kosi - ActionAid’s Programme Coordinator for the Serico District Initiative. “The drought has affected Sericho village greatly because livestock is the backbone of this community. Since the beginning of the drought most of the animals have become emaciated and weak and can no longer be sold in livestock markets.”

Sericho village has a largely Muslim population of approximately 6,000 people. They are of the Boran tribe, who originated from Somalia and Ethiopia. Most people here are cattle keepers.

A school feeding programme supported by World Food Program (WFP) and implemented by ActionAid is running at the school. “Because of the drought some of the children here don’t have food at home and live far away. By serving them food the children concentrate better, enhance their performance and stay in school,” Ibrahim explains.

Ambia Sereka, who is 16, is grateful for the free lunches. Since the drought, my family and I have to share the little food we have with our livestock. If the school lunches weren’t there I’d just stay home and be hungry.

Kabelo Adam Halicako the deputy village chief says: “This community is in an emergency situation and people here are at risk. Since May 80 per cent of this community is relying on food relief from WFP but it is not enough. If you go to a health centre here you will see that most patients are suffering from diseases related to malnutrition.  That is why we are turning to ActionAid and asking you to help us.

ActionAid is the only NGO in our community, it is the only NGO that has stayed with us throughout the years