Of all Meru, the Tharaka have remained most detached in their mode of life. There are many reasons for this. Their country is ecologically quite different from the rest of Meru, being low-lying, hot and somewhat unfertile. Residentially they are cut off from the other sub-tribes, whose markets they visit regularly by walking long distances, especially during their recurrent periods of famine. Until recently the 'immobility' of the people of the Nyambeni Range and their lack of interest in modern developments was regarded almost as one of their characteristics. Both the Tigania and the Igembe have remained attached to their old systems and way of life unlike some of the other Meru sub-tribes. The Mugwe is a public dignitary with official authority, intimately connected with the old social structure, which is now undergoing very deep and thorough changes.