Sunday, April 29, 2012

Lillian Ikal Angel ei and Lake Turkana 2012 Goldman Prize

Lillian Ikal Angelei

"She comes forth with good news of a happier Turkana region!"

It has come as fabulous news that Lillian Ikal Angeleil had been awarded the 2012 Prize for environment for her work on Lake Turkana in Kenya! Mobilising a community of Friends of Lake Turkana was her idea of changing the fortune of many people stuck in very difficult conditions around this lake in Northern Kenya. Lillian Ikal Angelei deserves every accolade. Congratulations!

What I like most about her work is that she set herself a specifi target and worked to achieve it. Most of us in Kenya know that there many threats to our environment. We remember the awareness Wangari Maathai raised. We treasure it. We see rivers and lakes shrinking around us but we are not all able to do something concrete to intervene. Lillian is saying that we can.

I remember a friend of Lake Turkana in Nairobi. A young man who used to tell me about this problem. I wonder if he is still there to celebrate the progress. I had seen much suffering in his life. I used to see him from time to time in the dust and hot sun on the streets of Nairobi.

For when an environment dies, with it too are many people at risk. Lake Turkana is beautiful. I remember too that many make money from the Lake in one way or the other. I do not remember some of them, quite well heeled, helping to protect the Lake. Here is a view of fishing baskets on another blog . I see they are for sale. I hope that this famous photographer in Kenya is a Friend of Lake Turkana. I hope more minds and hearts are for marginalised Lake Turkana area and other zones of Kenya.

This is the song of hope we long to hear. I wrote in Kenya, will you marry me?

"From that day music and floated everywhere in my mind. Wherever I went I heard the song that was planted deeply in me. It burned in me like a CD. I downloaded it in my soul. I heard it in many languages. In Turkana, in Luo, in Taita, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, German, English, Gikuyu…  I heard the same song of love for my country that he put in my breast.

I hear this song swirl around the hills at Hurri, Limuru and at Cherangany and Chyulu at the same time. I hear it sang by the village singer in Kigiriama. Even the parched throat singer of Kamasasia in Turkana drinks it. I hear her and she says she will not stop singing even as she sits and stares at endless sand at the end of the road, where Sudan begins. This singer sang longer than any other. Her voice was carried by the mirage in the sand to Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia. I  hear an echo but I am not sure. I think I can hold the notes that sing our song long enough. I must find a way; it is in our feet. Afrika is, in our mouths, hearts and heads. We are alive for this. We must find a way." 
excerpt from Kenya, will you marry me? by Philo Ikonya. Langaa Publishers, Cameroon



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