Tuesday, 4 September 2007

A little more about Pokot

Since I wrote the last little bit about Pokot, the women's marathon took place at the world athletics championship. The winner... a Kenyan, Catherine Ndereba, who lives in the Rift Valley region.

The picture below is a typical sight in Pokot. It's a traditional Pokot mud hut.

This hut is made of mud, and thatched. They prefer to use metals for their roofs, but that is more expensive. (And sweltering - but they don't mind!). The door on this hut is made of wood and has a padlock on it. The number of people living in such a hut will vary depending on the relative wealth of the owner. It is not uncommon for a whole family to share one; the hut will be divided into a sleeping and a living area, and mum, dad and all the kids will share a bed.

To the left side of the hut you can see some goats. Most Pokot people are animal herders. You can see from the background to the photo that Pokot is not a desert; there is sufficient rainfall for much greenery. This rain does tend to fall all at once though, with long periods without in between.

Animal herding leads to a nomadic lifestyle which can be difficult to integrate with school. For this reason many Pokot people are keen to have boarding schools.

Many Pokot men, once their children are old enough to herd the animals themselves, will "retire" and leave it to the next generation - spending their time chatting about politics and playing Pokot games with their peers. Some of the older generation don't see the value of education - how much do you need to learn to herd animals? Denied an education, of course, their isn't then much choice to do anything else but herd animals.

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