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The Sengwer Resilience

Despite cyclic, violent evictions, the Sengwer haven't given up the will to live. Embobut forest is their home. They have nowhere else to go
Published : February 6, 2022

Martin Luther King Jr once said that "unmerited suffering is redemptive. The Sengwer of Embobut forest seems to keep on going knowing that the darkest hour of the night is about dawn.

Despite the constant violent evictions perpetrated by KFS guards against them resulting in death, maiming, displacement not to mention loss of property, they always have a reason to rebuild and hope for the future.

Talking to the Sengwer living under temporary shelters and caves after being evicted from their homes, one gets a sense of the Sengwer resilient, indomitable spirit. After the evictions, Sengwer are exposed to the harsh vagaries of weather. Young children now have to walk long distances to get to the schools outside the forest after the schools inside the glades fell to the brutal hands of KFS guards.

For Edward Chemur, the cave below is his oasis at the desert of homelessness. For the moment this is where he calls home.

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#117: Habitation: Edward Chemur's cave
February 2, 2022

Edward chemur is living here in this cave. This is where he calls home.

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#117: Habitation: Edward Chemur's cave

February 2, 2022

Edward chemur is living here in this cave. This is where he calls home.

Mzee Kipcheko says that he has since learnt to cook after the evictions forced him to separate with his family. Due to the harsh climatic conditions in the cold Embobut Forest he was forced to rent a house outside the forest to enable his children to attend school.

The wife takes care of the children outside the forest while he looks after the family's livestock inside the forest.

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#116: Habitation: The home of Mzee Kipcheko
February 2, 2022

Mzee kipcheko at his home in  Kapkok

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#116: Habitation: The home of Mzee Kipcheko

February 2, 2022

Mzee kipcheko at his home in  Kapkok

The story is the same for Mzee Loshamba. He too stayed back to look after the livestock while the wife looks after the children outside the forest.

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#115: Livelihood: Mzee Daniel Loshamba's sheep
February 2, 2022

Shearing of Loshamba’s sheep inside the Kapkok glade

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#115: Livelihood: Mzee Daniel Loshamba's sheep

February 2, 2022

Shearing of Loshamba’s sheep inside the Kapkok glade

Kipchangalek son can't stop wondering why their only home was razed down by angry fire lit by KFS guards. He has come to be with his father before going out to attend school. He only hopes that the suffering will come to an end soon.

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#114: Habitation: Mzee Kipchangalek home
February 2, 2022

The son Kipchangalek taking tea inside their "home".

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#114: Habitation: Mzee Kipchangalek home

February 2, 2022

The son Kipchangalek taking tea inside their "home".

Loyumto have been evicted numerous times he has lost count. He is thankful to the Red Cross for giving him the tent which has become his home at the moment.

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#113: Habitation: Loyumto's home at Kapkok
February 2, 2022

The Sengwer have got an indomitable spirit and no eviction will rid them out of their ancestral land inside the Embobut fores

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#113: Habitation: Loyumto's home at Kapkok

February 2, 2022

The Sengwer have got an indomitable spirit and no eviction will rid them out of their ancestral land inside the Embobut fores

For Jeramol, life must go on no matter what. He is rebuilding his life after being evicted from his home. Although he his not sure how long he will stay here, his focus is living one day at a time. 

He his hopeful that the government will recognize the Sengwer as indigenous inhabitants of the Embobut forest and grant them the land tenure rights. He says what he only wish for in this life is peace.


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#112: Habitation: Home of Mzee Jeramol
February 2, 2022

Mzee jeramol making his utensils table outside his temporary shelter after being evicted from his home. He knows no other home apart from the Embobut forest

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#112: Habitation: Home of Mzee Jeramol

February 2, 2022

Mzee jeramol making his utensils table outside his temporary shelter after being evicted from his home. He knows no other home apart from the Embobut forest

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#139: Habitation: A Sengwer woman home
February 23, 2022

The woman in the video is explaining the challenges she undergoes on a daily basis under the fear of a KFS attack.

She says this is the only home she knows and she has nowhere else to go

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#139: Habitation: A Sengwer woman home

February 23, 2022

The woman in the video is explaining the challenges she undergoes on a daily basis under the fear of a KFS attack.

She says this is the only home she knows and she has nowhere else to go