ORIGIN OF LAKE TURKANA(ANAM ACHOPER)

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View of Turkana Village, Kenya at the shores of the Lake Turkana

In the Turkana Tradition, all Myths, Fables and Legends stories are meant to explain or answer questions on natural phenomenon at disposal. Due to human quest to answer questions on the force behind existence of any natural phenomenon at their site, they seek to explore more and more to unearth the origin for existence. These come in form of myths, tales or legends as they do not have any scientific explanation tracing back to their existence.

According to the Turkana people, the origin of the Lake Turkana formerly known as Lake Rudolf came to existence as a result of a great famine that had hit the entirety of the turkana land. The community migrated to the western side of the lake though before its existence in search for pasture for the animals and water after they lost a lot of animals from the drought. Since there was not enough water for the animals they moved to the Eastern side where they landed on a huge valley with green pasture and clean water oozing from the ground. Since they there was no water at all from the surrounding areas they settled on the land. The Kraals were made around the water point as the plain was surrounded by giant hills. With time the community grew big and bigger until the water became inadequate for the animals and the community. So, they decided to dig around the spring so as to increase the water to cater for the growing population. A lid made from stone was curved in order to cover the spring in the evening after every household had fetched to their satisfaction since the water pressure was high. Since it was a dry season and people had little food for their families, the heads of families organized the killing of bulls as food for their families during the period of hunger (Apuore).

One day, a certain Man decided to kill a Bull for his family in the evening, but they did not have enough water for cooking, he asked his daughters to fetch water from the spring while other members remained to prepare the meat for the family. As it was getting dark the girls hurriedly fetched water and forgot to cover the spring only to remember on their way. They didn’t bother to return to the spring but journeyed home and never told anyone about the incident.

As if nothing was wrong, they joined the rest of the family and meat was cooked and eaten while the rest preserved for the next day as they retired to sleep. The water continued flowing throughout the night while the entire community was a sleep. Water flowed overnight and reaching the kraals. By the time the people realized that the kraals were flooded it was already late causing mayhem and finally drowning all the people and livestock living at the base of the plain. For those that lived on raised grounds were lucky and managed to escape from drowning.

The following morning those who lived on the western side and the few survivors saw dead bodies and livestock floating lifeless on the water. They feared what might happen overnight as water level was still rising with three giant hills stood submerged in the middle of the rising water. The hills were North, Central and the Southern Islands of the lake Turkana. For fear of the water extending towards their homesteads they decided to migrate far away from the waters as others remained marooned in the Islands.

According to our source, they are three theories that support the narrative. The first theory bases the argument on the fact that the lake originated from a spring and at that particular spot could be where there is high speeding and strong water. The fishermen usually try to avoid the area as it is prone to boats accidents.

The second Argument is that, the source believes that the El-molo tribe could be the survivors from the rising water abandoned on the Island and could not be rescued. The other survivors managed to move offshore and lived on the shores of the lake turkana. These are the people whose livelihood solely depend on fishing activities.

The third theory tries to link existence of ghosts in Choro; the central Island. According to him, people lived in the Island after the rising waters and later became extinct as a result of a pandemic or mysterious wild animal(s) wiped them out living their animals abandoned in the Island as they were surrounded by water and could not sail offshore. Their spirits are still wandering in the Island to date as the lake people believe. These spirits are associated with the experience of people talking, lighting of bonfires at night and voices mimicking the turkana dances when sailing towards the Island and the more one approached the Island the more the experiences move away.

The fourth argument relates the existence of the big wild goats to belong to the native occupants of the island and those that managed to escape the tragedy that had befallen the community. These wild goats are distinctively different from the typical goats due to their enormous sizes. These wild goats are still there to date.

As I wind up, My question is the argument from the tale linked to the origin of Lake Turkana? Does the Archaeological findings of the Turkana Boy and the surrounding Springs of Eliye and the presence of Turkana Oasis at Loyangalani among others support the theories as well? From my point of view this could be just layman’s talk which may not be proven by a mere narrative unless the Archaeologist and Anthropologist pitch their tents and explore more on this as there are many factions related to the origin of the Lake Turkana.

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