Sunday, 7 August 2011

A Day in the Life of a Nomad

4.00 a.m

Cow-bells outside
An occasional howl
Everything is peaceful
The village is calm and sleepy

5 a.m

Mothers milking cows at cow-sheds
The low of cows
Life is catching up
The village is waking up

7 a.m

Basking in the sun, taking tea
Counting cows and seeing them off
These cows needs to be rid of ticks
Time they were taken for cattle dip

9 a.m

Busy brushing teeth with kamsityan
Singing songs of my bull
The cows are grazing
It is me, my cows and my world
I am all peaceful

10 a.m

Gathered at baraza
Chief has a message
From serikali
Half asleep, resting my head on ng’achar
Looks like I will spend the whole day here
Supay Kokwo,” Kirwokin greets
“Mmmmh,” we respond
“Bad news people, you stole from Turkana
It is in K.B.C and everywhere
I am in hot soup”
Age-old animosity
Tired culture
Spoilt image
Time folks went to school
Stopped this polygamy circus
Changed from nomadism to “somadism”
It is crazy!

1 p.m

Still half-awake, half-asleep under oron tree
Fellow old man is telling me how he first tasted rice
At the D.C’s compound
Then we hear a case of stolen donkey
Most complicated case
We listen on and on and on

5 a.m

I sprint from the baraza
Cut through thorn trees and shrubs
To go look for my cows
I pass through the market-place to buy tobacco
To keep the nostrils of an old man busy
Then I drive my cows home
Whistling and singing my bull songs

7 p.m

Seated at the aperit
With fellow old men
Fire lit to scare away witches
And to keep the stomach of old men
Warm and cared-for
We keep our guns at the ready
And sleep in the cold

Lorot Son of the Hills’ Notes

Kamsityan- A traditional toothbrush from a tree branch mostly from select trees.

Baraza- a Public gathering where information to the community is disseminated; a Kiswahili word.

Serikali- Kiswahili word for government.

Ng’achar-A Pokot traditional stool.

Supay kokwo- A form of Pokot greeting especially when addressing a large gathering of people.

Kirwokin- Pokot name for a chief.

Oron- a Tarmarind tree, most Pokot gatherings in Kacheliba are done under this tree.

Aperit- A resting place for Pokot men outside in the compound where fire is lit and from which they keep watch of their cows.


madhumakhi said...

Nice view of a nomad's life.

Salem Lorot said...

Thank you Makhi. Courtesy of my stay at home recently.

jayne kukat said...

mmmh! totally right,very simple life and people there are happy...:)

echoesofthehills said...

Thank you Jayne. At long last you have dropped a comment here. As always, thanks a lot.

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