The Town of Many Hills
Lodwar, also known as the town of many hills is the largest town in northwest Kenya within Turkana County. To access the town from Nairobi, you will use the Nakuru-Kitale route which takes roughly twelve and half hours by bus or 1 hour 55 minutes on a flight. It is predominantly arid with temperatures as high as 38 degrees Celsius. The inhabitants are mostly Turkanas who have held strongly to some of their ancient cultural practices like early child marriages and wife inheritance.
Illiteracy levels are high especially among those living in the outskirts of the town. Very few parents take their children to school. They stay at home looking after livestock. With the terrain being unforgiving, the young boys and girls have to travel long-distances in search of water and pasture for their animals.
Other communities in the area are Somalis, Sudanese and a few Bantu speaking tribes. While some of the people practice pastoralism, others have gone into businesses, operating shops in the town. The businesses range from fish mongering, general stores and supermarkets, hotel industry, basket weaving, fruit and vegetable vending, just to mention, but a few. When it comes to religion, the townsfolk ascribe to Christianity and Islam while their counterparts (pastoralists) follow their Traditional African Religion (ATR) while others are Christians.
We were in Lodwar to attend and minister at a pastors and leaders training conference hosted by Kingdom Vision International Ministry. The delegates came from as far as Isiolo, Nairobi, outskirts of Turkana, the border of Kenya and Sudan as well as Lodwar itself. It was a wonderful opportunity to encourage the brethren in the work they were doing of making disciples in the different areas they came from.
During our interactions with the locals, we got to learn of the combined efforts between the church and the government to eradicate illiteracy and early child marriages. It is through community education that the Turkanas have started to see the value of taking their children to school especially the girl child. We heard amazing testimonies of how those practicing ATR were coming to the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and how the Gospel has helped pave way to some of the changes in the cultural practices among the people.
The passion and zeal these men and women have to reach their communities with the Good News is out of this world. They long for the day that the whole of Turkana County will be covered with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea. Through this trip we were able to see how as an organization we can position ourselves strategically to contribute to the work the church is doing. It is our desire that through partnerships with the various leaders we will be able to roll out Live School to empower them to continue running the race.