Kanthoroko is a small rural settlement located at Tharaka Ward in Mumoni Sub-county in Kitui county. It is home to approximately 3000 residents. The primary ethnic group is Tharaka and the most commonly spoken language is Kitharaka. Average life expectancy is 63 years.
Mwingi town, the nearest major town for shopping and healthcare, is 90Km away. It would take about 18 hours to walk there.
Kanthoroko and its neighbouring villages experience long dry seasons throughout the year, with short rainfalls in November and December. The seasonal rivers which are very far from the village dry immediately after the rains are over, forcing the residents to walk miles in search of water for domestic use and livestock use.
The nearest natural collection of water is in Cambia, almost 10kms away. It takes about 2hrs to walk there. This water is dirty and contaminated and, subsequently, the children are infested with worms and often become ill. Animals and people share the water. Despite the fact that the water is dirty it still has to be paid for and costs 50KSh per 20 litres. The alternative is to walk 25kms to get clean water from River Tana, the largest river in Kenya . This would mean a round trip of 10hrs walking. A very few people own donkeys which they use to carry the water in 20l containers. Everyone else carries it on their back or their head.
Kanthoroko is surrounded by approximately 15 primary schools. None of the schools have any water.
Numerous homesteads have many children and big families and due to unemployment the families are not able to access good health and sanitation. Most of the houses are made of thatched grasses and dirty mud. Pit latrines are used when at home and the bush is used if they are not. It is a frightening place there and is therefore a place of danger. No cultivation is done because it is a scary place.
Most adults in Kanthoroko are unemployed and only practice livestock keeping of goats and sheep. Others practice crop farming, like the planting of green grams (mung beans) which serves as their income after selling. The average wage is the equivalent of £20 per month.
The regional diet consists of maize (corn) and beans. Typical health problems in this area are malaria, typhoid and HIV/AIDS.
Photo by Compassion International