“I have learned that I, we, are a dollar-a-day people (which is terrible, they say, because a cow in Japan is worth $9 a day). This means that a Japanese cow would be a middle class Kenyan… a $9-a-day cow from Japan could very well head a humanitarian NGO in Kenya. Massages are very cheap in Nairobi, so the cow would be comfortable.”
― Binyavanga Wainaina
There is no place like home. It has always been said, so receive greetings from Kakamega, the land not of my fathers but maybe just a place I have called home. Kakamega District is one of the Kenyan town. It is located at the longitude of 34.784655 and latitude of 0.321655. My parents later moved in a house they had built, few days after I was born. I went to school here, before I was forced to escape home eight months after my high school graduation for fear of arrest. I was innocent.
About fifteen kilometers from Kakamega town there is a market. Lubao market, as old as I can’t remember. Lubao Market is located at the longitude of 34.7835877 and latitude of 0.3165564 . I was born here. Its difficult getting somebody here who has more information on how the market started, they just found it here and benefited from it. But this place has many titles. The biggest dog market in East Africa……yea, East Africa. Kenya’s cat auction….I am also surprised……..where animal sales thrive. The market is segmented to suit the demands of buyers and sellers in what is considered the biggest dog fair in East and Central Africa.
People bring dogs from the neighbouring towns like Webuye, Eldoret, Kapsabet, and Kitale and as far as Burnt Forest for sale. On a good market day, more than 100 dogs are sold here. Every Thursday is booming business, starting from the road to the market, to the market itself. The real story. Lubao was a slaughterhouse, long time ago. A place where cows were slaughtered to be sold in butcheries in Kakamega and its environs. The slaughter house being here meant that cows would be transported here to be killed…..I mean slaughtered. Thats how the business started, people from around came to sell their animals at the slaughterhouse to earn money to take their children to school.
So the demands grew, people needed to have a cup of tea while doing their business. So there came hotels, and shops and other things that paved way to a small town. Today, it’s a small but very vibrant town, Thursday being one of the busiest day of the week. It is very common to see hotels that open only on Thursday, only one day a week. When I visited the market, business was bigger and better. Together with my Dad and his friend, we were buying a cow to be slaughtered when we host our visitors this Saturday at our home in Lurambi. After a lot of bargaining, a very common language in Kenyan business dealings, we managed a good buy. One cow and One goat.
Looking at this place, its very evident of the contribution this Market has put in the many lives of people who have traded here. My Dad narrates a story, long ago. After I had joined college and I needed money, It was very urgent. Him and my brother Job…..his real name, took a cow they had kept went on a journey to the market, he still has a vivid remembrance of the day. The market brings together people, or traders I should call them, burdened with different dreams. Ten years ago, my Dad’s burden was to get money for my college tuition. Today his burden was different, the visitors to feed and entertain………Burdened by the need of protein.