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OCMC News - The Turkana: People and Place

by Alex Goodwin (Posted 4/9/2010)

The Turkana are a people distinctive in appearance, language, and culture from the other tribes of Kenya. Located in the northwestern region of this East African country, the Turkana are primarily nomadic pastoralists. Single families will rove large swatches of land as they graze their cattle between homesteads that they have established in places where basic amenities like water can be found.

Their lands are not restricted to Kenya; they also encompass areas in Uganda and the Sudan. Turkanaland is a very hot and dry place subject to cyclical droughts that often wreak havoc on the livestock that lie at the heart of Turkana culture. These droughts also result in famine and force people to walk, sometimes more than 10-miles per day, simply to fetch water. Turkanaland’s extreme remoteness also means that schools and hospitals are a rarity.

There are only a few towns in Turkanaland, the largest being Lodwar, where many Turkana go to escape the poverty that they face in the interior. Lodwar is home to an airport, a hospital, and many schools. Towns like Lodwar are facilitating a shift in traditional Turkana culture from pastoralism to a more modern way of life.

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God of truth and love: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Hear our prayer for those who do not know You. That they may come to a saving knowledge of the truth, and that Your Name may be praised among all peoples of the world. Sustain, inspire, and enlighten Your servants who bring them the Gospel. Bring fresh vigor to wavering faith; sustain our faith when it is still fragile. Continually renew missionary zeal in ourselves and in the Church, and raise up new missionaries who will follow You to the ends of the world. Make us witnesses to Your goodness full of love, full of strength, and full of faith for Your glory and the salvation of the entire world. Through the prayers of all the missionary saints, Have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
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