January 20, 2016
Today we collected a line of resistivity north of the only existing water well for at least 12 km in any direction at Kalobeyei, and in the very busy dry river bed/sand highway of Laga Esikiriait. We have a good prospect on the former, but the Laga was entirely saline everywhere along our survey. We expected the area surrounding the proposed 60,000 person Kalobeyei Refugee Camp expansion to be empty of people, but every day we have encountered many nomadic Turkana Camps and hundreds of camels, donkeys, and goats on the move. The Turkana dig down through the sand to find water for themselves and their livestock, using nothing but sticks, tin cups, and perhaps a large pot. But already, only a few weeks into the dry season, most of the lagas are dry, and the Turkana, their herds, and all they own are on the move to other areas where they hope to find grass and water. It is difficult to imagine what the situation will be like in another 2 months into the dry season, or if the spring rains do not come. Though most Turkana are illiterate and do not have radios, and I have never seen a nomad with a newspaper or a book, they are all aware of global warming, increasing temperatures, and less predictable rainy seasons.
The seismic crew worked in the Camp, shooting through a well that tested for a massive amount of water at 100 m3 per hour (about 500 gallons per minute, enough for a small town), but was abandoned because of very high fluoride. It was challenging getting good data as “quiet on the line” does not mean much when thousands of school kids are walking home and they suddenly spy a muzungu (white person) giant swinging a sledge hammer on top of a hill. The refugees tried to chase the kids away with sticks, but of course that all turned into a game and more ground noise on our geophone array. We are hoping to image thicker sands and deeper bedrock in that location, so as to site an equally productive well without the fluoride.