Until four years ago, Talaa Lomeri used to trek for several kilometers to Embobut from her Kaben home to access a bodaboda that could take her to Chesoi for medication at Chesoi Health Centre.
Not even a bodaboda could access her Kaben home in Embobut/Embolot Ward in Marakwet East Sub County since there was no road leading to the village.
This however has changed after new roads were constructed thus opening Chemisto and the neighbouring villages to the outside world following the opening up of new roads in the area.
In 2013 after assuming office, Governor Alex Tolgos’ administration acquired construction machinery which included backhoes, compressor, roller and Tipper lorries at the cost of Sh65 million to help the county open up more roads and maintain the existing ones.
Among the new roads opened in the area are Maron-Wewo-Katilit-Mungwo-Chemisto road and Chepkoit-Kapchoge-Kapcherop which will shorten the current distance from Embobut to Kapyego by almost 20 kilometers and Lemeiwo-Meuno roads.
Talaa said she knew about 18 pregnant who died as they were being stretched to Kamogo dispensary some 14 kilometers away.
“It was not easy moving out of this place (Kaben). I know some women who died on their way to hospital, but since this road was constructed, we have never recorded any deaths because expectant mothers can use bodaboda” says Talaa, “we had to use make shift stretchers to carry patients to the nearest place that was motorable. But now you see…you came here with your vehicle. I am happy for what the County government has done for us.”
Edward Korir from Kipchumwa Location said farmers in the area were also a happy that the new roads were put up. He says despite the area being so productive, farmers not benefitting since cost of transporting farm produce was high. “A bag of maize could cost Sh300 to transport to a buying point at Wewo. When the price was Sh1000, farmers here got Sh700,” he said.
Similarly, in Emsoo Ward in, Mr. Thomas Kiplimo who is popularly known as Mayam says the new Salaba-Kabulwo road will have the distance travelled from Kabulwo to Iten reduced by 20 Kilometers. The road cuts across the Kerio Valley escarpment and it will connect with Kaptum-Msekekwa-Iten road or Kaptum-Anin-Iten or Tambach towns.
“We will also see business thrive along the valley because sand harvesters will be using the road which is shorter compared to the current Kabulwo-Biretwo-Iten road,” he opines. A similar road is also opening up in Tambach Ward. Nyawa-Rimoi road is expected to ease movement of local residents and tourists from Iten to Rimoi and its environs. The road is almost complete.
Nicholas Kipkemboi from Kiptengwer village in Metkei Ward never imagined he could arrive home by car some years ago. Kipkemboi who is a small-scale farmer says he used to transport his farm produce to Kamwosor market using donkeys.
“By the time I reached the market, half of my tomatoes had gone bad but this has now changed since a pickup truck can come up to my farm,” he says of 14-Kilometers Taiya-Kiptengwer road which is currently under construction. The road will link Kitengwer, which is on the hanging valley with Kiptengwer and Kombatich.
And in Cherang’any-Chebororwa, Philip Korir almost gave up farming because of continued loss owing to transport costs.
Mr. Korir who ventures in horticulture in his Kabelio village says most of his farm produce which included potatoes and tomatoes often perished especially during rainy season. “To transport a bag of 50 kilogram of potatoes to the road where lorries could access, I used to pay Sh300… so we were making losses. When the prices were not so good, farmers could get as little as Sh200,” he says, “but now we don’t incur any much cost since our farms can be accessed by the lorries.”
A new road that cuts across five sub-locations of Cherang’any-Chebororwo was constructed by the county government to improve transport network in the area.
Roads director Mr. Elias Cheboi avers that the more than 35-Kilometre road will ease movement of goods and people from the region.
“The road will serve eight sublocations of Kapchebit, Kondabilet, Kabelio, Kamanin and Koitugum. Others are Tenden, Yatoi and Chebai where residents have been using donkeys to ferry their farm produce to the market. This was done in house where by County machinery were used,” he said.
Mr. Cheboi said the county since 2013, has opened 103 Kilometres of new roads, constructed 11-foot bridges, five road bridges and box culverts on roads that required the same.