A Harvest of Hope in Turkana, Kenya

A colorful row of beads made from leather, metals, wood, glass and shells adorned the women’s necks and heads as they worked in Natoot Farm. The Turkana women are easily identified by their red, yellow, blue and brown colored beads. These beads, an essential component of everyday dress, signify a woman’s age, marital status and station in society. In the desert surrounding Natoot Farm, you can find their homes made from a wooden framework of saplings covered with palms from doum trees, as well as the skins and hides of livestock.  

As the morning sun rises in the East, it gives light to the pastoralists as they weave among the herd of camels. In one of the homes, you can hear a cough. The sound of the cough comes from Elizabeth’s home, where she lives with her seven daughters. Elizabeth rubs medicine on her neck, which helps with the irritation from the layers of beads. Then, she walks to the forest to retrieve charcoal to sell at the market.  

Elizabeth’s white necklaces stand out from the sea of color, signifying the passing of her husband. From birth, Turkana girls receive bright beads from their fathers until they marry. Then, after marriage, they wear necklaces given to them by their husbands. If they become a widow, they replace the colored string of beads with white ones. 

The journey back from the market filled her with sadness because she had sold nothing. The passing of her husband left a burden on Elizabeth as she struggled to provide for her family. A seeping dread filled Elizabeth’s mind as she walked home empty-handed to her sick and hungry children.

Loss of Hope in Turkana

Elizabeth’s life was difficult as she lived in one of the most inhospitable places on earth: an arid desert stretching across northern Kenya and Southern Sudan. However, a newfound hope dawned new light in her life as she began working on a plot of land at Natoot Farm. 

Shortly after Elizabeth began farmingshe could grow enough food to feed her family. As she became more involved at the farm, the number of plots she worked on increased, giving her enough produce to pay for her children’s school fees.  

Then, aher farming business grew, she started to invite other neighbors and families in need to work with her at Natoot. Elizabeth shared, “When I had the opportunity to help, I started sharing my piece of land because they had families to support. I knew what it was like to be in need. But God always came through in my challenges, and I wanted to share this blessing with others.”  

Hope for Eternity

Elizabeth’s efforts to invite others to improve their lives by working on the farm shows her generous attitude. Truly, Elizabeth works to encourage family and friends to engage with God and receive His blessings. And this attitude reflects our desire for all of our Hope for Eternity programs.  

Today, Elizabeth is one of the lead farmers at Natoot Farm. Each morning as she walks to the farm, colorful beads adorning her neck, Elizabeth thanks God for His provision, actively looking for others to tell. 

Malia Rodriguez
Malia Rodriguez

Malia loves serving as a Copywriter for Bright Hope, where she has the privilege to share how God is working among the vulnerable and caring for the extreme poor around the world. As a homeschool mom, Malia strives to develop in her kids compassionate, generous, and caring hearts. Malia and her husband, Matt, live in the Washington, DC area with their son and daughter.