Lodwar Day #2 - Not so dangerous.
Jan 25, 2005
I wake up to a white out. A windstorm is kicking up clouds of dust that out the sun. But at least it's cooler.
Once again, I head out to the diocese to meet with Peter. It looks as if a camel is not an option so I talk to him about boats. He tells me that there might be a boat in a town called Loarengak and that I might be able to hire it. That's a lot of 'ifs' but at least it's a possibility.
Peter also gives me more details about the area that I'm heading into to and a good map of the region. I'm told that there are no hotels or restaurants north of Lodwar. I'm beginning to think that I'm perhaps not quite prepared for an adventure like this. However, laughing at oneself is an important survival skill. I'm heading into the middle of nowhere, into the unknown. I don't have a tent, a sleeping bag, nor stove, but at least I'm carrying a dead laptop.
By now I'm already a regular at the Muslim restaurant. But I decide to try somewhere new for lunch. I go to a touristy hotel (as touristy as things get in Lodwar) across from Miami. Immediately after ordering two tour guides / souvenir vendors join me. I always avoid tour guides, but I try to be polite to everyone.
These guys were surprisingly full of useful info. They tell me that a guy from New Zealand named Mark is in Kalikol (the next town down the road) and that he's also heading into Ethiopia. I'm sorry to hear that I'm not actually the first tourist attempting this route. But, I'm glad to hear that I might have someone to travel with. They also tell me that there is indeed a boat in Loarengak. This is good news. And finally, they tell me that I should have gotten my passport stamped back in Eldoret - there is no immigration office here nor at the border.
I was on my way over to my favorite restaurant for dinner, but a cute white girl was sitting alone at the touristy hotel. Of course, I joined her. She's Portuguese and works for the Red Cross. Some of her coworkers showed up and sat with us. The Red Cross finally gave me a good, balanced analysis of the security situation.
The path I'm taking is not 100% safe, but it's not so dangerous either. The nomadic Merile people of Ethiopia occasionally get hungry come down to Kenya, kill some herders and steal their cattle and sheep. Then the Turkana will get hungry go up to Ethiopia kill some herders and steal the cattle and sheep back. The raids always happen late at night and are always for sheep and cattle. To these nomads cows are holy - they live for and from the cows. Some of the nomads in the area subsist only off the milk and blood of the cows. The nomads have no interest in me, my money, or my camera. They are not part of the modern world and aren't part of the cash economy. I should be fine. There are however a few bandits...
With that update on the security situation, I'm ready to go... I just need to get my passport stamped.
The trip from Nairobi to Addis Ababa was interesting enough that I wrote it up as a daily log. If you'd like to read it from the beginning click here: [ Leaving Nairobi ]
Leave a comment! I'm much more inspired to write when I know people are reading.
No pics of the red cross cuties? ;-)
Sorry, but no.
Greg - Jan 01, 2007
Thanks for the great information. I am heading to Nairobi then on to Kampala, Uganda and about he only part of the trip that has me concerned is the trip between Nairobi and Eldoret. We will be renting a small bus, and have heard it can be dangerous in this region. I am an inexperienced traveler having only spent a few years thoughout the Carribean and a few months in Europe. Any feedback regarding the safety of the region would be much welcome. Thanks Greg