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Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools

Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools

Transportation: Kenya

Water for Africa

Africa, Kenya

by Drew Denzin, Ololulunga, Kenya

Our river, which varies greatly in depth between the rainy season and the dry season, is a tributary of larger rivers. Transport isn't possible on it.

by Kendall Rondeau, Miharati, Kenya

People here do not use the river for transport or travel. Instead, they use it as a car wash. A lorry (truck) will pull up into a shallow part of a river and five guys will jump out and begin washing. Oil, grease, and dirt float downstream. People also wash their bikes in the rivers because our roads are extremely muddy and bikes become clogged with mud. I've washed my bike in the river a few times. You have to be quick, though. The water is so cold it numbs your hands and feet!


by Melissa Perry, Oyugis, Kenya

I live near Lake Victoria—inland about 30 km. Many of the people in my community go to the lake to purchase fish to resell. There are many fishermen on Lake Victoria. In the bay areas, the fishing boats are used to transport goods and people to surrounding areas.

by Bryce Sitter, Mobile Clinic, Kajiado, Kenya

Kajiado means the long river. I have never seen water in it though. The cement factory harvests sand and limestone from the dry riverbed, and for certain seasons one can dig deep in the riverbed and access water as it seeps though the sand. I've been told that during El Niño, this area saw rains that were not of normal amounts, and the river could not sustain them. Many people were caught in the flash flooding as bridges washed out. The soil could not absorb the water, as it is too rocky.

by Barbara Hinsman, Vigeze Village, Vihiga, Kenya

I live about 20 km (13 miles) north of Lake Victoria, the second largest freshwater lake in the world (in surface area; Lake Superior is the largest). The Maragoli people who inhabit the rocky hills of Vihiga have a spectacular view of the lake, yet few take advantage of its existence so nearby, and most have never walked on its shores. The Maragoli do make use of various streams in Vihiga, which feed into Lake Victoria. None of these waterway are large enough for transportation however.

A different tribe of people, the Luo tribe, live on the shores of Lake Victoria and use its waters in their daily lives—for drinking, bathing, fishing, and transportation. Unfortunately these activities, especially transportation and fishing, have been greatly inhibited by the water hyacinth, an exotic plant that reproduces very rapidly, keeping boats from passing. An American environmental firm has just arrived to mechanically remove this water hyacinth, which should free the water again for the Luos to carry on with their traditional lifestyles.

by Patrick Campbell, Mombasa, Kenya

Mombasa is the major port for East Africa. For centuries it has been a center of trade. From Vasco da Gama explorations to the importation of vehicles today, the port has long been a center of activity. Looking out across the sea, you can see fishing boats in the distance and huge trade ships from all over the world on the horizon.

by David Frommell, Bagoo, Rift Valley Province, Kenya

Among the hills of Kericho District run many rivers and streams. Natural springs arise along hillsides and rock outcroppings. Kericho's waterways remain too small for transportation purposes, however. The only man-made things transported by the rivers are trash, chemical pollutants, and sediment carried by erosion from improperly maintained farms and roads.


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