Kacheliba is not one of those places one would expect to produce a beauty queen. If anything, the name is more likely to be mentioned in the same sentence as illegal guns, cattle rustling and female circumcision.
The constituency is one of the most remote areas in West Pokot County and lies on Kenya-Uganda border.
Until peace efforts started bearing fruit recently, it was known for banditry between Pokot of Kenya and Karamojong of Uganda.
All this is about to change because the area will now be known as the home of Ms Sarah Chebet Pkyach.
If her name does not ring a bell right away, that is because Ms Pkyach was only crowned Miss Tourism Kenya 12 days ago.
MISS TOURISM WORLD PAGEANT
Ms Pkyach hails from Sangakai, a village in Kacheliba, and is a third-year student at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology. Now, she is getting ready to represent the country during the Miss Tourism World pageant to be held in Zagreb, Croatia in April next year.
As she stood tall during her homecoming celebrations earlier this week, Ms Pkyach declared that times have changed and she is now ready to prove sceptics wrong. For her, the Pokot region is not a place where only cattle rustling and retrogressive cultures flourish.
Her journey to be crowned Miss Tourism has been as exhilarating as it was unexpected.
“I never imagined that one day I would become a winner who is being mentioned by everyone in the country though I had confidence during the county tourism competition,” said Ms Pkyach, who is pursuing a degree in Biostatistics.
Having been declared winner of the contest that had a representative from every county, Ms Pkyach is now focusing on the future, telling the Nation that she will use her new platform to market both West Pokot County and Kenya.
“We have a beautiful county. The rest of Kenya and the world at large need to experience this beauty,” she says.
As a tourism ambassador, she said she will strive to promote tourism in West Pokot County which she says, is a destination that has been marginalised for a long time.
“We host three of the Big Five. In addition, we are home to the biggest black elephant population in the world found in North Pokot at Nasolot Game Reserve,” said Miss Pkyach, the first born in a family of four.
On Tuesday, business came to a standstill in Kapenguria as Ms Pkyach was welcomed back home by hundreds of residents led by West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo and Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa. The governor even allowed county staff to take a day off to attend the celebrations at Makutano Stadium. The ceremony was spiced up by traditional songs and dances.
“We are really happy to have our own daughter being crowned Miss Tourism Kenya,” said Mrs Phyllis Pkyach, the model's mother.
Her father, Mr Ibrahim Pkyach, was equally elated saying his daughter deserved the crown.
PRIDE OF ALL PEOPLE
“We have trained you very well. We have brought you up well. You are now the pride of all people. We wish you the best as you go for Miss Tourism World. It is now upon you to conquer the world. You have our blessings,” he said.
Prof Lonyangapuo said the county will do everything to ensure that Ms Pkyach wins the global crown.
CS Wamalwa said Ms Pkyach will be in the maiden Kenya Airways flight from Nairobi to New York tomorrow. President Uhuru Kenyatta is also expected to be in the flight.