Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Tobongu Lore (Turkana Cultural Festival)

In August, the second Cultural Festival for Turkana was held in Lodwar. They built a new facility with covered concrete areas for seating and a stage with sound systems and video screens. Directions to the festival were given by saying "Follow the electric lines on Kerio road."

What a mix of traditional culture and modern life. Turkana women dressed in skins and more beads than I had ever seen. Men wore bells on their legs as they do during the wedding dances. Turkana dressed in modern Western clothing used their cell phones to take pictures and videos, just as we Wazungu were doing the same.

It almost reminded me of a state fair, well the closest thing to one I could imagine happening here. I was disappointed there was not more food being sold, but at least there were a few places to get a cool drink. Booths were set up to showcase businesses and other organizations working here in Turkana. The whole experience was amazing and overwhelming. I commented that it was like being at many many Turkana weddings all at once! Hope you enjoy the pictures. The videos are all on separate posts. Someone can tell me if there is an easier way to do that. Thanks.

Official Banner as we entered.

Waiting for the opening ceremony. We finally left after a few hours of waiting. 
First day fun!

Traditional village set up just outside the official grounds.
A group from Southern Turkana and many Turkana baskets

Ready to go on day 2, trying to blend in more this time.... wearing my camel shoes!

The cats were very curious about those shoes. 

A bouncy house, I did not expect to see that, but the kids loved it!

Many dancers

Women dressed in skins

What a mixture of traditional and modern

One group in the shade waiting for their turn to dance on the official stage.

Heading off to dance. 
You can see his camel shoes, the bells on his legs and the wedding staff with his hat on top! 
The traditional village again.

Carrying his walking stick and "ekicholong" a mans stool also used as a pillow. 

No large producers tent, just one little booth selling meat!

The diorama of Lodwar and surrounding areas. 

Trying to blend in with traditional celebration beads.

People sitting under the few trees available outside the grounds. 

Many people walked a long way to get to the festival...

...some others road in trucks. I think they could have fit a few more in there! 

The set of beads I eventually bought. 

The blue beads are used to make the stacked beads women wear every day.


  1. looks like lots of fun! love the pictures!

  2. I love the blend of cultures and how are following suit. The picture of you in all your lical garb and neck beads is delightful. Remy commented that maybe you know how he felt with his neck collar! He liked your pictures though. Stay safe and well. Sending love and hugs.

  3. Thank you for the post/photos. I am planning to arrive in NAIROBI Jan 14th, and going to Mbooni district. Excited!! God bless all your projects and guard your health

  4. I was surprised to see English on the truck and on some of the signs! You look great! I heard you will be home in time to go caroling if you want to, I hope you will. Be safe!

  5. Looks like you had lots of fun you look great we miss you

  6. You and Obama! And the bouncy house!
    Oh my soul and body.....Ü