Some moments in life help put everything in proportions. Stepping outside the Kisumu Airport in Kenya and heading towards Lake Victoria was one of those moments.
Lake Victoria, or “Nam Lolwe,” in Luo, is one of the African Great Lakes. Hanning Speke, the first European to discover this lake in 1856, named it after Queen Victoria.
With a surface area of 68,800 square kilometers, Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest lake by area, and it is the largest tropical lake in the world. It is the world’s second largest freshwater lake by surface area; and the world’s ninth largest continental lake. It is also shared by three nations – Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
For hundreds of years, the area’s impoverished residents – who are devoid of any real infrastructure, electricity and running water – have relied on the lake for their food and livelihood.
According to assessments, some five million people are dependent on this great source of life in Kenya alone, turning them, unfortunately, into one of the world’s poorest and most ailing populations.
Numerous mistakes have been made since the lake’s discovery by the white man, turning the area from one bustling with life, to one struggling with muddy waters – literally – and one that can only barely sustain the lives of those dependant on it.