A camel derby entering its 30th edition this year aimed at nurturing peace and bringing together Turkana, Samburu, Somali, Rendille and Pokot communities, with camels being their unifying factor, has been a means to raise school fees for Vanila, a Form Two student at Moi Girls.
She joined the race for the first time in 2015 when she was 11 and still at Nkoroto Primary School. On Saturday, she braced herself and registered for the yearly camel derby becoming the youngest competitor to participate in the 10km amateur category and later in another 21km race, with the hope that she would win some cash to pay her third term school fees.
A second-born in her family, Vanila said she had challenges raising Sh11,400 school fees for third term and decided to join the competition, hoping to win a cash prize.
“It is not easy to raise school fees. My parents have been trying their best but challenges are still there. Through this derby, I know I will raise part of it or even full amount,” she said.
She emerged first among female competitors in the amateur category, pocketing Sh10,000 prodding her to enter the elite category. During the awards ceremony, Vanila wowed spectators who turned the event into a fundraising session to help her achieve her dreams. She bagged Sh17,000 cash from her wins and Sh25,000 from well-wishers.
“I can now settle my school fees and help my parents as they struggle to pay fees for my elder siblings. This is a motivation and from this year going forward, I will be participating in the derby,” she said.
Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal said the event has for the past 30 years been instrumental in promoting culture and peace, managing to preserve the cultures, bringing communities together under one event to take part in several activities including traditional games and even weddings.