Growing up in a Kenyan village where there is the huge Komala hill to the east, an extensive Nyabondo plateau to the North and beyond the plateau, the famous Homa hills, I have always loved geographical features. I loved the beauty such features created on the landscape. When I was a little bit older, about ten years old, my dad took me to a famous tor in the western part of Kisumu. It is called Kit Mikayi. Kit Mikayi means “the stone of the first wife” in the Luo language. This was a journey of hundreds of discoveries, legends and beliefs about this rock. This tor is one of the most visited tourist sites in the western part of Kenya.
The famous tory behind it talks about a man, who had really fallen in love with this stone. Each morning, he would go into the cave below the rock. From where he would take his meals, meditate and talk to the gods all day long until sunset. So his wife said the stone was the man´s first wife. This tor has meaning beyond the pillar of rock that I saw at the first sight-breathtaking. The site is associated with sacrifices and many legends and a very popular local pilgrimage site for the followers of the Legio Maria sect who visit the rock to pray and fast.
While so many tourists-both local and foreign-come for sightseeing and having fun, they actually create a very big social impact to the community living around this legendary tor. Normally there is a small entrance fee paid before accessing the site. There is a council of elders who distribute this money so as to benefit all the members of the community in an equitable way. For instance, Ngóp Ngeso Primary School which is found within the vicinity was created thanks to the funding from the tourism. Ngóp Ngeso Primay is a mixed day school, now run by the central government. More than sixty percent of the school going children from this area benefit from the free education at the school.
There a social welfare group created as a result of the same touristic site. These are especially formed by women with an objective of presenting the Luo culture and entertainment to the tourists. This includes traditional music, choreographies, dances and sometimes food. The women earn a living from here. Most of these women live with vulnerable and orphaned children. The income is directed toward supporting such children with their daily basic needs.
So each time I returned there to enjoy the beautiful scenery, I have always had in mind that I am making an impact in someone´s life-be it the elderly woman showcasing the dances or the school-going child who needs my support. I realized, “Nothing is as satisfying as enjoy such scenery having in mind that you are helping someone somewhere.