|After River Suam changed course, residents constructed a makeshift road with stones to allow passage. They hope next year’s incoming county government will improve the roads. [Photo: Jeckonia Otieno/Standard]|
By Jeckonia Otieno
Rainy seasons complicate life for the people of Kacheliba and Kongelai in Kacheliba and Kapenguria constituencies respectively. The two areas share more than a boundary; they have a symbiotic relationship and peace. But when it rains, this relationship is disrupted.
Under normal circumstances, this area is dry. So when it rains, it pours as if to make up for the many months of drought.
It is at such times that the narrow bridge that links the two constituencies over River Suam is washed away or becomes useless. Without the use of this vital bridge, life in Kacheliba and Kongelai is disrupted.
Rely on market
On the same note, while the people of Kacheliba might boast of the hospital, they rely on the market at Kongelai just beside the bridge to sell their goods and services.
It is because of this symbiotic relationship between the two constituencies that the people are able to co-exist. Otherwise, they are deadly enemies when it comes to fighting over pasture for their animals, especially during the lengthy dry spells.
The rains pounding the area since mid-April have made grass grow and provided sufficient water for the animals, but with it soil has been extensively eroded and River Suam has changed its course.
It now flows just before the main bridge. With this change, the people cannot cross to the neighbouring constituency to transact their normal business.
So one morning, some people decided to make a passage by picking stones from the river’s bank to fill the trench. Soon another group arrives arguing that the stones being used were actually meant for sale.
“But where will the lorries pass to pick these stones?” one of the young men filling the gulley with stones asks the other group.
As they argue, people wishing to cross from one side to the other are getting impatient. They don’t know where to direct their anger.