Omo River Delta
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The Merile tribe

"The Merile Tribe"

The Merile (they call themselves Dassanech) are settled in many villages in the delta area along the banks of the 6 branches of the Omo River .  The largest village is Toltale-Sibil and it has a population of about 4,000 people.  This is also the nearest Merile settlement from the Kenya Police Post (5.5km).  The Omo River delta (which continues to expand southwards into Lake Turkana ) is technically Kenyan territory.  While the Merile have access to water (from the Omo River) and hence are able to support large herds of cows and goats, and cultivation activities, their main need is in the area of health care and basic education for the children. 



Curative medicine

"we have provided curative medicine to the local people"

We have been visiting Toltale-Sibil and other villages to the north and south of it since October 2004.  On most of these visits, we have also provided curative medicine to the local population, apart from meetings with the elders on a getting-to-know basis. 


On all these trips, we have always been accompanied by Turkana men and youth from Lowarengak who were always astounded by the friendliness and warmth of the Merile towards them.



Nursery school

In December, we placed a Turkana nursery school teacher at Toltale-Sibil but he was home-sick and had to leave.  The local people at Toltale saw to his needs of food and shelter as the area had a scarcity of persons who could read and write and were willing to teach the many hundreds of children of all ages at this village alone.


"The banks of the Omo River are mostly cultivated"

The banks of the Omo River are mostly cultivated on both sides.  About 1.5 km north of Toltale-Sibil, a Merile elder gave the parish a plot of land fronting the most western branch of the Omo River .  Fruit trees and vegetables are already being cultivated on this plot.

Peace plan

The elders of the villages along the 3 western branches of the Omo River are in favour of peace with the Turkana and have frequently asked for Turkana elders to come and visit them.  As a matter of fact, people are related to each from both sides.  A number of Merile elders at Toltale-Sibil have a Turkana parent and they also speak Turkana and Kiswahili.

We have obtained some prayer books in the Merile (Dassanech) language from Ileret Catholic Mission.

The needs in the area

At the moment, the track from the Kenya Police Post to Toltale-Sibil is being improved by Merile volunteers; this track is near to impassable during the rain season.  The Kenya Police do not agree to Turkana and Merile working together.

The needs in the Toltale-Sibil area and the neighbouring villages of Koroh, Gabite, Nakabilah etc. are:


Availability of clean water (as compared to the river water) for human consumption through the drilling of boreholes;


Curative medicine and periodical coverage by health agents;


Education in English especially for the several hundred children;



Designed by Manlio @ 2005