Cold stare in West Pokot

Most of the time, life is empty.

You have to ignore the emptiness by constantly finding something that is exciting for the moment.

This is just one part of all the truths, as life, no one can wrap their heads around one good thing or give the ultimate advice.

The best thing is to live.

Breathe.

The weather is hot, some places chilly. The land is unforgiving and mountainous.

As the car powers its way slowly, meandering through the hills of West Pokot County towards Uganda, I relax knowing that the registration number reads, GK – Government of Kenya.

That registration number is important and powerful these sides.

After over one hour 40 minutes of driving under 40 kilometres per hour, we reach a river crossing, and without a bridge the driver without much hesitation plunges in, powering the Isuzu D-Max through shifting sand and running water.

It is one of the scariest things.

After one minute, we are on the other side, successful.

The driver breaks the silence by stating that he has crossed many times, sometimes when the water is higher. I felt relieved, knowing that he is an experienced hand.

We drive in the same slow speed on dirt roads and encounter another river. This one is rocky and short in width.

There are some boys bathing, others sand harvesting.

The car stops, and the three of us jump out.

I walk ahead of the rest, as fast as I could, so as to assess where we could cross.

‘Inaweza pita hapa’, shouts a young man who was bathing in the river.

It is really nothing, but the water and sand combination, even though there were some rocks, is always not a good thing.

One of the rivers we crossed

We head back to the car and attempt a crossing

Nearly halfway, the car stalls and struggles to rid itself from the clutches of the sand, it begins to sink.

Bated breathe!

The driver presses a button and the car jumps up like a goat whose tail has been tightly-held and twisted.

The vehicle is free and we cross without any further hitch.

A little further after climbing the steep river bank; two young Pokot morans emerge from the thicket, they signal us to stop.

The one who seemed older approaches the car from my side, I was sitting at the back. He mumbles something, his eyes cold, looking straight into mine.

I look back into his eyes, trying to instil dominance, he doesn’t shy away. He stares back coldly.

Am a little bit shaken inside, but I remember my dad starred at such for many years when he was working these sides and came out alive.

Also, the only difference between my dad’s and I was that those that starred at him had AK-47’s pointed most of the time.

The beautiful countryside of West Pokot County

Thanks to Yoweri Kaguta Museveni (a story for another day, but those who know, know), this one didn’t have one. But who knows, maybe it was lurking somewhere in that thicket they had emerged from. Remember the road conditions also allowed us speeds of about 20-30 kilometres per hour. So if we got in trouble here and had to escape, we couldn’t go far.

I shout, ‘Unataka maji’, as I pull two Dasani drinking water bottles from my pile.

I hand them to one of them. He doesn’t say thanks. I didn’t expect it. I know!

Soon, we are on our way towards the Uganda border.

It’ll be another hour before we reached.

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