Kipsongo is home to about 14,000 people mostly of the Turkana tribe. As slum dwellers they have developed a local reputation as the most violent, drunken, dirty, and uncivilised of any community. However, while living and working in Kitale the people of Kipsongo became especially dear to me. *see more*


  • fujifilm, fuji, #fujixt2, x-t2, xf35mm f1.4r, oliver lynton
  • fujifilm, fuji, #fujixt2, x-t2, xf35mm f1.4r, oliver lynton
  • fujifilm, fuji, #fujixt2, x-t2, xf35mm f1.4r, oliver lynton
  • fujifilm, fuji, #fujixt2, x-t2, xf35mm f1.4r, oliver lynton
  • fujifilm, fuji, #fujixt2, x-t2, xf35mm f1.4r, oliver lynton
  • fujifilm, fuji, #fujixt2, x-t2, xf35mm f1.4r, oliver lynton
  • fujifilm, fuji, #fujixt2, x-t2, xf35mm f1.4r, oliver lynton
  • fujifilm, fuji, #fujixt2, x-t2, xf35mm f1.4r, oliver lynton
  • fujifilm, fuji, #fujixt2, x-t2, xf35mm f1.4r, oliver lynton
  • fujifilm, fuji, #fujixt2, x-t2, xf35mm f1.4r, oliver lynton
  • fujifilm, fuji, #fujixt2, x-t2, xf35mm f1.4r, oliver lynton
  • fujifilm, fuji, #fujixt2, x-t2, xf35mm f1.4r, oliver lynton
  • fujifilm, fuji, #fujixt2, x-t2, xf35mm f1.4r, oliver lynton
  • fujifilm, fuji, #fujixt2, x-t2, xf35mm f1.4r, oliver lynton
  • fujifilm, fuji, #fujixt2, x-t2, xf35mm f1.4r, oliver lynton
  • fujifilm, fuji, #fujixt2, x-t2, xf35mm f1.4r, oliver lynton
  • fujifilm, fuji, #fujixt2, x-t2, xf35mm f1.4r, oliver lynton
  • fujifilm, fuji, #fujixt2, x-t2, xf35mm f1.4r, oliver lynton

The Turkana are a Nilotic people who hail from the northern tip of Kenya, a harsh and arid area that borders north-east Uganda, south South Sudan and southern Ethiopia. Their lands are inhospitable where only a race of survivors could etch a life from the terrain. For this reason, seeing little value in their lands, the Turkana remained virtually untouched by British colonialists leaving their pastoralist traditions largely intact. That is until recently.

Dramatic population growth has placed a premium on land throughout Kenya and modern technological advances have made arid lands more accessible. Combine land privatisation, an expanding desert from the north and the discovery of oil: Indigenous livelihoods are quickly and quietly swept aside.

The Turkana people are literally being starved from their lands, many end up migrating to towns and a wholly alien new way of life.

Kipsongo slum has grown up over a disused rubbish dump on the outskirts of Kitale town. The slum itself has become the centre of many land disputes because of its proximity to the town and the increased value of land. This uncertainty of tenure precludes slum development as few are willing to invest in infrastructure.

In the slum unemployment runs at about 97% giving the residents few options but to lead a chaotic form of urban hunter-gatherer existence. Odd jobbing, hawking, scavenging, begging and stealing provide sustenance but despair fuelled alcoholism and an exceptionally low health status is destroying families and fracturing the community. Few children regularly attend school. Of the estimated 1,300 street children living rough in Kitale a very large percentage come from Kipsongo slum.

On 2 early morning shoots I asked the slum residents to pose with something of their own that they love – a difficult concept to a people who only recently understood the meaning of ownership and have only what they actually need. The word love translates to ‘like’ in Turkana anyway.

This collection of portraits is the result of those two shoots.

Child Rescue Kenya works directly with Kitale street children and their Kipsongo families. Training and small business are key to finding long-term solutions that enable young families to learn professions, move from the slum and care for their own children. If you wish to contribute to Child Rescue Kenya’s Youth Programme you may do so here Child Rescue Kenya UK