Originally published in the Washington Post and at Mashable.
A small boat lies abandoned on desiccated earth a thousand feet from the edge of Lake Turkana at Impressa Beach on November 30, 2015.
Ekai Lopeyak walks home carrying the body of one of his family's goats, which he found dead outside Kalokol on the western shore of Lake Turkana. Traditional pastoralists have turned to fishing in ever greater numbers in recent years as drought has decimated their herds.
Lake Turkana's water levels have risen and fallen over the millennia but the recent completion of the GIBE III dam on Ethiopia's Omo River—the source of over 90 percent of Lake Turkana's water—could cause it to eventually recede into two small lakes.
A boy walks with a makeshift toy at a fishing encampment on Impressa Beach.
The high fluoride content of the alkaline lake combines with malnutrition to bleach the hair of many children who swim in its waters.
In some cases, when people consume the water, skeletal fluorosis can warp the bones and eventually render them unable to walk.
Fishing nets lie abandoned far from shore.
Fishing boats bob at anchor as dawn approaches at Lake Turkana's Impressa Beach.
With many pastoralists turning to fishing as drought thins their herds of livestock, the lake's supply of fish is dwindling. 
Ekaale Ewoi steers a fishing boat out to deeper water near Impressa Beach as the sun rises on Lake Turkana.
Ekai Longolan, left, and Ekaale Ewoi take a boat out to check their nets just after sunrise.
Ekaale Ewoi checks nets hand over hand on a fishing boat in Ferguson's Gulf, a small bay protected by a spit of land on the western edge of Lake Turkana. After checking several hundred meters' worth of net, he came up with a single mudfish that was too small to sell.
After checking several hundred meters' worth of net, Ewoi came up with a single mudfish that was too small to sell.
Benjamin Atok, a fish trader, works in an office at Natira Fish Industry Company Ltd. in Kalokol.
Laborers sort fish at Natira Fish Industry Company Ltd.
Josephine Avon fills a plastic jerry can with water from a hand-dug well in the peninsular village of Longech. Lake Turkana is just a few hundred yards away and the well yields the same salty, high-fluoride water the lake holds—just cleaner. She intends to use it for drinking.
Regina Epokot nurses her baby in her village on the peninsula of Longech.
Musa Ng'asike, center, sorts through dried fish that sell for two Kenyan shillings (two cents) each. 
They have families and homes further from shore but when they're working sometimes they sleep at this shelter by the lake.
The village of Namakat sits on a flat, lunar plain at the edge of Lake Turkana. 
Kalokol, the nearest town, is a two-hour walk away for residents who need to fetch clean water. 
Joseph Ekimomor, 60, sits in a hut with his wife Leah Nakadi, 58, in the fishing village of Namakat. "Once the younger ones would fish and feed the old," Ekimomor says. "Now Fisheries has taken the nets, and we are just here."
Back to Top