Kenya is bordered by Ethiopia to the north, Somalia to the northeast, Tanzania to the south, Uganda to the west, and Sudan to the northwest, with the Indian Ocean running along the southeast border. It is named after Mount Kenya, the second highest mountain peak of Africa. Turkana is an isolated region of Northwest Kenya that covers approximately 70,000 square miles. Located in a valley between two large mountain ranges, the climate is hot and the land is semi-arid and desert. It has been described as “a horizon-less frying pan of desolation.” With a population of somewhere between 250,000 and 340,000, the Turkana are Kenya's third-largest tribe, as well as the country's second-largest group of sheep/cattle farmers, after the Masai. The Turkana are nomadic and move constantly, chasing the clouds in the hope of rain and the small patches of freshly sprouted vegetation which it gives. As rainfall is uneven and unreliable, this can only be accomplished by the tribe fragmenting into small groups, for what there is of pasture land is insufficient to feed a large number of livestock, as well as people. The land for the most part, is a parched desert plain strewn with rusty sun-baked rocks, coarse sand and small outcrops, and some low and equally barren hills. The climate is dry and often blisteringly hot, and the paltry annual rainfall of around 250-300mm prevents any but the hardiest of desert plants from growing: low thorn bush and seasonal grasses. In any case, rainfall patterns are unreliable and patchy; short rains during April and the long rains from June to early September, but in many years the rainfall is scant or fails altogether. Turkana is Kenya’s third-poorest region. With more than half the local economy relying on agriculture and per capita income less than 1/5th of Nairobi’s. Around 55% of Turkana residents live below the poverty line.
In September 2019, Tullow Oil – an American international company - signed an agreement for the development of oil reserve discoveries in the South Lokichar Basin near Lake Turkana. These were discovered in 2012 and are estimated at 560mn bl. Oil is planned to be transported from the 433-hectare oil production and processing facility to Lamu port in North Kenya via an 820km pipeline and production will likely start in late 2023. Tullow is finalising a water supply agreement to pump water from neighbouring West Pokot County to South Lokichar. Under a petroleum bill in March 2019, central government will receive 75% of state oil revenues, local government will get 20% and the communities living where oil is located will take 5%. The revenue sharing agreement between Kenya and the oil companies has not been disclosed publicly at the request of the government.
“Land disputes will most likely always be there – Turkanans are pastoralists that need community and to graze cattle. Finding common ground between the traditional way of life and the nascent oil industry has proved to be difficult, particularly where the local population has yet to see the much-await revenues from oil.” Patricia Vasquez, an extractive industries expert working in East Africa.
“Most of the pipeline will be laid along community land. We don’t know if any compulsory (land) acquisition will be required- we do not expect many kilometres (of the land on which the pipeline will pass) to be owned by individuals, corporations or even counties.” Mark MacFarlane, Tullow’s executive VP for East Africa.
“At the moment, I could see that this enterprise would affect the population and it’s growth with the necessary development of supporting services in a 50km corridor around the facility and alongside the pipeline – away from where we are operating, although the upgrading of the road from Kitale north has been very beneficial”. Les Saunders, Nehemiah Construction Ministries U.K Operations Manager
More recently, drilling has taken place in the Pokot region of the north-west Kenya. Pokot has a similar climate and conditions as Turkana. Click here to check out these locations
Whatever is that? In the Bible, a man called Gideon was asked by God to fight an enemy. Gideon got together 32,000 men but that was too many. Through a water test this number was reduced to just 300 men. God wanted to show Gideon that it wasn’t just about numbers but about His provision. With just 300 men, Gideon defeated a major enemy.
Nehemiah Construction Ministries U.K. has a vision to buy a Rotary Drilling Rig costing approximately £100,000. To achieve this, an anonymous donor worked out that like Gideon, if 300 individuals, families or groups of people gave £333.33, then the above target would be reached (£99,999). A Rotary Drilling Rig purchased would help us fight the enemy of dirty water and thirst in Kenya.
You may not be able to give £100,000 but you may be able to join Gideon’s Army, are you as an individual, family, or group able to raise £333.33 this year to become one of Gideon’s. If you break it down it is less than £28 a month or less than £6.50 per week!
We want to be able to provide clean water so that the local people do not have to walk as far and that they know that the water they drink is fit for purpose.
Join Gideon’s Army and make a difference. Think how many times we just turn on the tap and get fresh water.
Note: The above was written in 2009 when the drilling rig project was gaining momentum. We are grateful for the sacrificial giving of so many people who joined Gideon’s Army thus enabling us to ship the drilling rig and drilling support vehicle to Kenya in the spring of 2016.
Two thousand years ago, a man sat by a water well, asked a woman for a drink and began to talk to her about “Living Water”. He quickly mentioned that if people drank of the water from the nearby well, they would eventually get thirsty again. Then He made a very bold statement “whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst”. That statement is backed up by another one “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink”. That man was Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and what He said are two of the most amazing statements in the Bible, Gospel of John Chapter 4, verse 13 and 14 and Gospel of John Chapter 7 and verse 38.
What did He mean? What was He getting at? Did He have His own drilling rig? Did He own a reservoir? Did He have ready access to His own water well?
Jesus was simply stating that everyone needs water for Life to exist naturally - but they also needed the water of Life to live fully and eternally. He knew then and we know now that you can’t survive for long without water. The stark reality of His statements is that mankind has no hope of eternity without the ‘Living Water’, which is Jesus. We all know that water is satisfying and thirst quenching and we, the Trustees of Nehemiah Construction Ministries U.K., have our own individual experiences of being satisfied in their spirit by Jesus, the Living Water. Being the Son of God, He became the perfect remedy for completely dealing with the sins of mankind by His sacrifice on the Cross - and anyone who believes in Him will not perish, but will have everlasting life. He satisfies us by coming into our lives, assuring us of God’s forgiveness when we have repented of our sins, bringing His love, joy and peace and giving us the daily assurance of eternal life.
What Jesus has done for us, motivates us to help our fellow human beings of whatever, race, tribe, culture or religion by providing natural satisfying clean water – freely, for this life and informing them of Jesus Christ, the living water who will satisfy them spiritually for eternity. These are our values and mission: they direct our behaviour and reactions in every situation.
In the last chapter of the Bible, Revelation Chapter 22 and verse 17, the invitation from Jesus still applies today “Come! Whoever is thirsty, let him come and take the free gift of the water of life”.