Turkana and Pokot peoples celebrate together

FCA co-workers Edel Mitei and John Bongei are admiring Turkana style.
FCA co-workers Edel Mitei and John Bongei are admiring Turkana style.

The temperatures in Lodwar town, last weekend, were ranging from 34 to 38 degrees when the Turkana cultural festival took Place.

In the midst of these high temperatures, the county government, along with other likeminded individuals and organizations, was busy with songs and traditional dances in the very colorful Turkana cultural festival.  Finn Church Aid (FCA) and the entire REGAL-IR consortium were amongst key participants of this occasion.

Participants from far and wide

FCA/REGAL-IR facilitated 80 participants from Turkana south community to the festival, including 15 Pokot elders. The presence of these 15 elders attracted a lot of onlookers to the REGAL-IR stall, especially because of their unique attire and their dancing style.

The elders were warmly welcomed by the chairperson of the peace group Peter Lonyangatundo.

“FCA has taken bold steps in being the only organisation to facilitate the Pokot elders to attend an event inside Turkana community. On our part, we have also shown commitment in attending this event by travelling long distances through very difficult roads and dangerous environments. Our brothers and sisters here in Turkana County have indeed welcomed us and treated us like loving neighbours. During this festival, we have bonded well, shared our songs, foods, drinks and dances. We have all worked hard to search for peace and we are happy to celebrate together and make our friendship grow stronger”, said   Peter Lonyangatundo.

The elders drive peace

Turkana cultural festival was a colourful event but at the same time promoting peace between Turkana and Pokot.

Turkana cultural festival was a colourful event but at the same time promoting peace between Turkana and Pokot.

Both the Pokot and Turkana elders agreed that they are the ones who will continue to drive the peace agenda in their communities. Ali Lopeker, who represents the Turkana council elders, actually defined the group he represents as heroes.

”These my peers are heroes because they can work in places others cannot, they are resistant to the low and high temperatures of the day. And they stay searching for the truth long after the immediate danger has passed, and their words are very much respected in the community. They work tirelessly for the future of their communities, because it is, quite simply, their home and their children’s prosperity depends on them”, said Ali Lopeker.

Finn Church Aid (FCA) is implementing the peace component of a larger program “Resilience and Economic Growth in the Arid Lands – Improving Resilience” (REGAL-IR) by the consortium led by Adeso, African Development Solutions, and funded by USAID.

Text: John Bongei
Photos: John Bongei and Florence Bosibore

FCA is a member of ACT Alliance.