We were off by 5 am and Ali our driver (who must have been a rally driver in a different life) managed to get us to the lake’s shore before sunrise. We were also able to take photos of fishermen in their makeshift rafts.
Shortly afterwords we headed across to Ferguson Bay.
We got to our destination, set up our stuff and started shooting.
Everything seemed fine as we walked around the village looking for more things to shoot when suddenly a man came up behind me, grabbed the reflector I was holding and marched off towards Jeri (photographer). He then tried to grab her camera, but her grip was firm. This whole time he was shouting at us.
After calming down he told us that he was the area chief and instructed us to follow him to his office. I immediately phoned Chela our producer (we had left her across the gulf) and explained what was going on.
We walked to the chief’s office as the whole village escorted us. The venue was under a shed constructed out of duom palms, we were offered plastic chairs that were falling apart. Meanwhile a crowd had gathered around and outside the shed trying to see and hear what was going on.
The speech began. I might be exaggerating but it felt like the assistant chief spoke for a good half hour before he got to his point. His superior, the area chief had called him from Lodwar and instructed him to arrest the strangers taking photos in his village.
By this time I was just pissed and was ready to get on a boat and leave. I did understad where he was coming from but violently grabbing equipment and shouting at us had certainly not been the best approach. Thank goodness, we had a diplomat in or midst, Jeri was calmly able to explain our mission. I in turn simply stated that we had no idea that we were meant to seek his permission and that if we had known, we would definitely had done so.
He then brought up a lot of irrelevant issues and accused us of trying to make him lose his job. I could honestly go on and on about how self-important people have a problem grasping simple logic but I will cut the story short.
Meanwhile Chela, was on her way to the village to come assist us. After arriving she had to explain all over again why we were taking photographs, including showing him the licence thus validating the legality of our mission. The youth chairman was then called to speak (no idea why).
After wasting a considerable chunk of our time the chief eventually agreed to let us continue with our work. By this time it was already midday so we hurriedly shot a few photos and left.
We then proceeded to Kalokol. This time we stayed well out of trouble
The midday sun is unbearable. Most schools in the area close at 12pm and resume at 3pm.
Our last stop of the day was in the Eliye Springs area. We were able to grab some lunch and take a few more photos before calling it a day.
Partially submerged banda at the Eliye Springs Resort. The water levels this side of the lake are high due to rainfall in the Ethiopian highlands. The rain from the highlands feeds the River Omo which is Lake Turkana’s only inlet.
Tomorrow is the end of my journey. I hope you have enjoyed the Unexpected Kenya series as much as I have enjoyed sharing my adventures.