Friday, April 19, 2013

Business and other major activities at minimal in Nguruman as floods persist

By Francis Maina and Kelvin Koinet.

Following the recent rains in most parts of the country, Nguruman community including businessmen, farmers, pastoralist have suffered losses and their activities interrupted by the resulting floods.

Many of the farmers and agents involved in export of the Asian vegetables and other Agriculture produced in the area say there is an increased cost of transportation from Nguruman to the markets in Kiserian, Rongai and the airport in Nairobi. “Time taken is much longer and sometimes we are not guaranteed that, the produce will reach targeted market on time…” an exporter’s agent said. There is hardship in accessing market and as the Asian vegetables need to be harvested while still young and tender, most of them deteriorated in quality forcing farmers to feed them on livestock . 

Sections of the road across river channels have been cut by the floods. The village of Ndarkalali has been disconnected from the only shopping centre i.e. Entasopia quite often making it hard for people to go to the shopping centre to access food stuffs. People from the other village of Oloibortoto at times could not cross River Oloibortoto to the main shopping centre of Entasopia and health centre, forcing them to halt their business no matter how argent until the floods subside.  

A community member crossing a flooded river via a fallen tree.
photo by James Mathu
As farmers struggle to get their produce to the markets, business men who make to the area are buying the produce at a lower price citing the difficulties to access the area. Most produce has gone to waste in the farms as farmers have given up harvesting and end up succumbing to the difficulties of market access.

The new irrigation system Installation process has been hit many times by the wild river floods. The pipes have been damaged and destroyed at sections. The intake has also been damaged. When NCV interviewed an engineer who sought anonymity, he said these are mare damages that will be rectified when the rains recede.   

It has been a nightmare travelling along Nguruman-Magadi-Kiserian route. This has been contributed by the rising water levels at Lake Magadi covering the road that cut across the Lake. Road at Kamkuru along Magadi-Kiserian route has been impassable due to flash floods that has occurring often persisting for over a month and covering about two kilometers. The only bus playing Nguruman-Kiserian is not reliable and oftenly gets spoiled due to bad terrain.

Section of the road damaged by ranging rains.
Photo by Samuel Nzioka

The floods have been a problem for years every rainy season as in many other pats in the country but no permanent solution has been put in place. The community is hoping that relevant authorities will step up to action as the new Government comes to power. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Olkiramatian Women up in arms against local brew, spirits and Khat

By Samuel Nzioka
More than 200 Olkiramatian women ganged up and with one voice and raised their cries against selling of all local brews, spirits and Khat within Olkiramatian group ranch. Their anger heightened when news broke out that, Secondary school students are the major customers at one of the joint close to their institution. Intervention by the local administration was futile since the mothers blamed them of laxity and negligence of their duties.

The women decided to take the bull by its horns and withstanding the scorching heat, they matched to all local brew joints and ordered the owners to pour the entire brew. They also matched to the shops selling spirits and brewing ingredients and ordered the shop owners to pour them.

Women leaders inspect wines and spirits shop for the illegal spirits.
photo by Kelvin Koinet
“We can’t sit back and watch our children get spoiled and forgetting their families… We will do it ourselves since we are the ones affected most…” said one of the women leaders who sought anonymity.

A source close to Nguruman Community Voices (NCV) revealed that, women leaders had reported the matter to the local authority severally but no action was taken to address the issue prompting them to take action by their own.

‘We are tired of reporting the same matters to the administration with less effort… we have decided to do it ourselves…’ said one of the women.

The big percentage of people mostly affected are the youth aged between 18 – 35 years which is the productive generation. It is said that, majority of the group spend better part of the night chewing Khat and taking the local brew thus forgetting their family responsibilities.
Majority of community members welcomed the move by women citing that, it will be a wake-up call to the local administration on matters affecting development in this region.

‘I support the move by the women since they are the ones affected most and this will help stirrup development and remind men of their family roles...’ said one male community member.

Women witnessing local brew ingredients being destroyed. photo by Kelvin Koinet
An interview with one of the local administrators confirmed that, it is traditionally acceptable for women to take action if something isn't going right.

 ‘It is normal for women to take action on whatever activity they feel is affecting the society and is allowed traditionally within the Maasai community… when they begin the business, you can’t stop them unless they achieve their goal… Men even run away from them since they chant traditional songs and if you go against them, they can curse you to doom…’ he said.

The local administration and elders had to intervene to prevent a curse by the women leaders when one of the shop keepers failed to produce an ingredient used in the manufacture of local brew. At last, he was ordered to produce and destroy it by himself.

Local leaders and elders intervene at one of the shops to prevent curse by furious women leaders.
Photo by Kelvin Koinet
 ‘We had to intervene and prevent the curse… if the women curse you, nobody will greet you or even buy from your shop… their curse is irreversible making it different from the men’s…’ Said one elders

NCV team congratulates women for the action taken and will be keen to follow up on any action taken to curb the vice.