In the hills of Moroto, Rupa county in a sub county called Nakiloro, Naput village lives an interesting group of Karamojong people. Naput is 30km from Moroto town and from Nakiloro center, all you see are short shrubs on bare land with less homesteads as you get closer to the village.
When in this community you need to be careful how you speak to the people lest they think you are against them. The first person you interact with or ask for should be the chairman of the area because of the community wrangles that exist among the K’jong of Naput, the Gie of Kotido and the Turkana of Kenya although they fear the gie most who keep raiding their cattle. The main activities carried out in this area are cattle rearing. The natives move long distances to find water and grass for their cattle. Aside from that, the youth also get engaged in low scale mining of gold (shallow gold mining).
Sadly, the community has only two people that understand English so communication is a hurdle as you know interpreters may not convey the exact message given. Schools in this area are scarce, the nearest is about 20km from the village. One of the people that speak English is a mason from soroti that has worked in the area for five years and so has learnt the language and the other is a polytechnic student who is from that community. Interestingly we also met a Somali that did not know English but somehow knew n’karimojong.
A typical K’jong from this area wears a suka and a shirt which is their traditional wear, the elders in the community are recognized by the hats they wear with a feather attached to them and a wooden ring on their second finger from the thumb. The men walk with a herdsman stick to signify their main activity as a cattle rearing community.
These particular people do not have areas of convenience in their homesteads i.e. bathrooms and pit latrines; they take a bath from any of the nearby rivers and water tanks and bushes are used in the place of pit latrines even after the later have been constructed for them.
The first word I learnt was the greeting. In the morning it is ikenyunit iyaai (singular) Ikenyunit itaa (plural) and the reply to that is akenyunit. In the later part of the day the greeting is ejokai to which you reply ejok.