Please note that on our website we use cookies to enhance your experience, and for analytics purposes. To learn more about our cookies, please read our privacy policy. By clicking ‘Allow cookies’, you agree to our use of cookies. By clicking ‘Decline’, you don’t agree to our Privacy Policy.

No translations available

The Bad Car Day

16 May 2008

In the second of her blogs from Kenya, Ishbel Matheson sees the living conditions of the Endorois, and has a bad car day.

The day began badly. The car broke down, belching black smoke, on the outskirts of Eldoret, where I had been visiting camps for those displaced by the political violence earlier in the year. I was bound for Lake Bogoria in the Rift Valley – one of the premier tourist spots in the country. It is also the ancestral home of the Il Chamus tribe, armed with shotguns, guarding their villages from Pokot attacks. At that point, I felt things couldn’t get any worse. But they did. In the couple of hours since we had driven up, it had rained in the Valley. The ground was now dangerously soft, and we had to creep forward while the councillor leant out of the window, peering at the ground in the pitch dark, and guiding the car forward. After an hour and a half of nerve-wracking travel, including the further revelation that we were actually travelling on an ‘unofficial’ road, that the alternative was too dangerous, we eventually reached terra firma, and safety.

Later, in the hotel, I told Kipkazi that I’d been worried that we’d never get the car out of the river bed. He laughed and said. ‘Oh Cynthia and Clive got stuck for three hours’. (Cythia Morel is MRG’s legal cases officer, and Clive Baldwin was formerly head of international advocacy). ‘But,’ he continued, ‘it was fine when I took Sian,’ (an external evaluator for the MRG legal cases programme). A thought began to creep into my head. Had every single MRG staff member who had visited the Endorois gone down the ruby road? Was this some kind of initiation rite? Kipkazi confirmed he had also taken Samia Khan, our head of programmes, on the same torturous journey. ‘But,’ he said ‘Paile (MRG’s African Commission project officer) hasn’t been.’ He shot me a side-long twinkly glance. ‘She’s in my sights’. Paile, you have been warned!

This article reflects the sole opinion of its author and does not engage MRG’s responsibility.