In 1999/2000 I went to Turkana, for the first time ever, on a mission
to do a documentary filming of the worst ever drought in the region
that threatened to wipe out both man and beast from the Turkana desert
They were then fairly strangers to me. Eight years down the line,
they are close confidants, brothers and sisters still eking out a
living in the same harsh conditions, but many now followers of our
Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
There is a repeat of the threatening circumstances of 1999 not only in
Lodwar, but covering virtually the whole of Kenya. For the Turkana,
being in desert conditions, their situation is even more pronounced as
it is an extreme multiplication of what others are going through. The
situation is worsened by the fact that being so far and isolated from
the rest of Kenya, those in the comfort zones will cry loudest from
the adversity they are not used to, leaving the Turkana to die
silently and unaccounted for in the desert. In effect, the relief
food normally given out to the Turkana may now not be as forthcoming
as the whole country is encompassed in the threat of a dire famine,
which has already resulted in several casualties, chief among them
Connie, I know many churches are fully engaged in normal meetings and
conferences and workshops to work out new liturgies, new evangelism
approaches and even fund-raising strategies. I feel Christians cannot
be so far away from their calling if they can concentrate on these
kind of callings when the suffering laity is dying unattended out
I was funded by a German democratic foundation in 2000 to do a
documentary on the adverse drought in Turkana for their own German
consumption. I feel there is a necessity to urgently do something
like that again to bring out the stark reality of what is happening.
ALready, as I saw and recorded in 1999, the worst scenarios are
appearing of very emaciated women virtually crawling to the main roads
to die there, if nobody comes in with the life-giving product, food.
I may not be able to go back to Lodwar or Marsabit if these people die
and we could have done something about it. I do not know how far and
how much we can do, but we can feed one person and save him from
starving to death. By so doing, somebody else will follow in our
example and whole villages may be saved from this menacing evil of
To me and you, to Joy Griffin and the ILI fraternity that has made
inroads to these lovely Turkana people, to Steve Taylor, Culpepper,
with whom we crisscrossed the desert, to eminent persons like Bill
Johnson we have brothers and sisters in the Turkana desert on the
verge of perishing, yet we have the means. Could we have done
something about it?
I am seeking your help to carry out that documentation of the
situation on the ground in both Turkana and Marsabit with a view to
pointing to properly thought-out interventions. I believe our
Christianity is on the test and the Lord who has empowered us to act
on His behalf is watching from His throne. Who will act for Him when
it matters most?
Yes, we can argue like the international community that Kenya does not
deserve this help because of corruption in government. Will God take
that justification in the face of the many threatened by painful death
through starvation? I believe not and am blowing this trumpet so that
we can act now and ask the ethical questions later.
I wish I could write more, but I feel even the seconds that I am
writing this are valuable, maybe there is a life that could be saved
by acting faster than I am typing this.
Forgive me, Connie for the tone of my short note. I hope you will
read the humane urgency that I want to impart for that is my only
motive for sounding this desperate plea.
May God bless you and all who respond.
Laban G. Gitau