Greetings and good wishes from a hot and dry East Pokot, Kenya
“Barpello Catholic Mission is located in Koloa Division, in the sub-county of East Pokot, Baringo County. The climate of East Pokot is typical of arid and semi-arid conditions; the land is of volcanic origin. The annual rainfall is unreliable, poorly distributed and erratic. The daily temperature range between 30 C and 45 C, the evaporation rate is high. East Pokot is regularly prone to drought and famine, most people are illiterate this adds to the difficulties when it comes to development and addressing basic needs. The infrastructure is very poor. the climate is harsh and the mortality rate is high. Water borne diseases are common.
East Pokot has a population of 127,000 people. 68,000 is the population of the vast area of covered by Barpello Catholic Mission. The Christian Community represents approximately 2%. The other 98% are of no particular denomination but have their own traditional religion, a religion rich in culture and tradition. My furthest out-station where we have a church, made of sticks, mud and grass is 52 kms from Barpello, because of the poor road infrastructure this is about a two and a half hour drive. Needless to say the community of this station does not see me too often.
The activities of the Mission include, Barpello High School, East Pokot Medical Project, Honey Processing House, two nursery schools, one Government Primary School, one dispensary and laboratory. A pastoral Team, Food security programmes, (both emergency and long-term programme), the camel project is a dairy project and is a long-term food security programme.
My main areas of concentration are Barpello High School with 412 students, most of who cannot pay modest fees and the other areas are in Food Security and in livelihoods.
Christmas for most of the Pokot will last about three hours (the time that we will be at Mass on 24th night). It will be a real celebration with singing and dancing. The next day, its back to normal, trying to find food for evening and carrying water a long distance.
On behalf of our mission to the Pokot I wish you a very happy Christmas and wish to thank you sincerely for your ongoing support. May 2014 bring you health and happiness.