TEMBEA : Menengai’s devils

Depending on whom you choose to believe, the Menengai crater is the home of devils. They say Menengai means the place of corpses in the local Maasai dialect. Other sources say Menengai means ‘where the devils live.’ The crater is said to be the dwelling place of devils and other evil and local Maasai people prefer not to go near its edge. But the jewel is in the Scenic site in a geographical feature called a Caldera that usually sits on top of a volcanic mountain.

Depending on whom you choose to believe, the Menengai crater is the home of devils. They say Menengai means the place of corpses in the local Maasai dialect.

Other sources say Menengai means ‘where the devils live.’ The crater is said to be the dwelling place of devils and other evil and local Maasai people prefer not to go near its edge.

But the jewel is in the Scenic site in a geographical feature called a Caldera that usually sits on top of a volcanic mountain.

It boasts of hot springs and geysers, mud pots as a result of millions of years of volcanic activity in the Rift Valley.

The Menengai Crater is one of the principal craters in Kenya. The highest point on the crater gives an awe-inspiring view of the neighbouring rift valley lakes, Lakes Nakuru and Bogoria

At the highest point of this circular crest, the Rotary Club erected a signpost which tells you that Nairobi is 140km away and marks distances to many other cities and points all over the world.

It also points out that the crater wall is 2272m above sea level and its area covers some 90 square kilometres. The massive crater spreads out beneath you, a spectacular sea of bush-covered lava, and its black waves frozen solid.

The evil assumptions perhaps come from the fact that a misstep by a human can result into a fatal tumble into the crater from its sharp edges.

Thus the myths about the corpses and how the crater attracts people to kill might be a result of the geographical features. According to an East African Standard report, one Mr. Simon Kamenju believes in the existence of demons.

He said that during the planting season, they plough the land towards the southern end of the crater and plant wheat and maize, which are soon harvested by the ghosts. “Things happen so fast.

You will see some crops, people harvesting and before long, the flurry of activities are over and the land would revert back to its former state of grassland and the people would also disappear,” he says.

Kamenju recalls in the same report that in the 1960s, ghosts used to practice large scale agriculture on the floor of the crater. “What we are seeing is small scale farming by the ghosts who reside in the floor of the crater unlike 40 years ago,” he alleges.

He says these ghosts are responsible for capturing human beings and hiding them in the underworld. However, the spirits capture only those who attempt to destroy the fauna in the crater.

Apart from tourists who grace the crater to enjoy the beautiful scenic views, Christians frequent the site as a sort of pilgrimage.

Beliefs aside, the Menengai Crater is a natural piece of art that is a beauty to behold.

kelviod@yahoo.com

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