A recent attempt to rehabilitate the bridge was foiled by heavy
downpour, forcing engineers on site to vacate.
bricks and setting a metal frameworks ready with concrete the
following day, we woke up on to find everything was washed away
after heavy rains," said Zelmah Gichuhi, a local farmer.
The bridge which straddles a major River as it burbles
downstream unbothered, has stood the test of time in a scenery
characterized by a thicket-chocked slope under treacherous
The God’s bridge is essentially regarded as having divine
powers and is designed in a way that it puts off any intruder or
anyone who tries to tamper with its natural outlook.
Marred with strongly sealed roots of a fig tree which rush
down the rocky slab the hideout has maintained its awe and as it
were, the ride down the bridge is not for the faint-hearted.
On its roof some roots tangle freely as they are blown by the
wind and the burbles of foamy river with a rock-board tainted
with acknowledgement, short posts left by tourists as souvenirs.
Outside the bridge parasol, and just along the banks of the
river are numerous wide and deep hovels whose occurrence remain
a mystery as well.
Locals revealed that in the years gone by, hyenas used to
live in the huts and caves which are currently empty.
"The caves were also treated as shrines where elders would
visit to seek divine intervention during scanty rainfall spells
or other calamities," said Agnes Gachoki, a village elder.
community vows to preserve mother tongue
by Robert Manyara NAKURU (Xinhua) --
Joseph Chemaina, a member of the indigenous Ogiek community, has
for the last 61 years lived at the foot of Kenya’s largest water
tower, the Mau Forest Complex.
When he was growing up, community elders would hold regular
meetings with the youth to teach them Ogiek language and
The meetings were held at a designated location in the
"That arrangement ensured our language and way of life lived
on through generations," Chemaina told Xinhua during a recent
However, the removal of the community from their habitation
in the early 1990s upset how they engaged in socio-cultural
activities, said Chemaina.
"That our language would be extinct because of the eviction
"We cannot converge freely in the forest and talk about our
heritage like we used to," he said.
Through these gatherings, there was passing of knowledge on
protection of indigenous trees and animals such as collecting
barks for making hives from specific trees and putting off the
fire useful during hunting to avoid burning the forest, noted
He is one of the elders among the Ogiek and respected for
being a custodian of the community’s knowledge and information
that his advice is sought by all and sundry.
Change of environment has forced the Ogiek community to adapt
to a new way of life that little supports further passage of
their ancient history to the younger generation.
"Now we have our children moving to the urban areas to seek
for better opportunities.
"Are they available to learn about our language, our
culture?" Chemaina posed.
The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
classifies the Ogiek as indigenous people with a distinct
culture but whose survival is threatened because of evictions
from their ancestral homes.
This year on Aug. 9 the indigenous peoples across the world
marked the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples
with the theme of focusing on the indigenous languages.
Sarah Osas, an Ogiek woman said that celebrating this day
with reflections on dying away of the indigenous languages would
awaken the government and international community to protect the
rights of the indigenous peoples in Kenya so that their
languages can remain intact.
"If the land and human rights of the indigenous communities
like Ogiek are not protected then their languages will finally
"When people are landless, they will move away to other
places to find shelter and the more the movement, the less the
sharing of the language," said Osas.
The United Nations declared 2019 the international year of
indigenous languages with a call for urgent action to promote,
preserve and revitalize them.
Lucy Mulenkei, executive director of the Indigenous
Information Network said the indigenous people have the right to
maintain and protect their cultural heritage including their
"Traditional knowledge cannot be delinked from the native
languages of the indigenous peoples.
"And these traditional knowledge is key to sustainable
management of the natural resources," said Mulenkei.
UN Environment Programme emphasizes the urgency of protecting
the rights of indigenous peoples as endangering their existence
diminishes the potential of achieving Sustainable Development