Its formation that resembles a solemn head resting on a weary shoulder that consists of a large, boulder, balanced a top a huge column of rock, down which ‘tears’ flow is a true definition of what we know as the crying stone of Ilesi in Western part of Kenya. The stone is hailed among the luhya community and in particular the isukha sub-tribe who live around the area and regard it of a great cultural and spiritual importance that was passed from their ancestors and has been handed down from one generation to the next. The image has been spiced up by various myths and folklore.
Are you eager to find out one of the tales told of how it came into existence? Well worry not, we got your back. A story is told from one of the community elder from the luhya community (Isukha sub-tribe) that inhabited the area where the crying stone reside, that a long time ago, the place where the stone stands was covered by forest just like the rest of the area which means the stone did not exist. And for those who have visited it, you will attest that it is in a hilly place. Everything was running okay in the community, men, women and even children had their own specified roles, but women who were also dedicated to their roles as wives, mothers and even home makers were often bitten by their husbands and to some for no reasons. They were not allowed to sit on the table with men as their counterpart when decisions were being made for the community.
They were told that their role was in the kitchen, bringing children to the world and raising them and more so good wives to their husbands. The biting continued for a long time until one day, one single woman came out and summoned other women and headed to the hill after their husbands had retrieved to their chamber as usual to make decisions for the community. Upon arrival at the hill, they shared what they were going through then gathered together and started crying. They wept for a long time, and when their husbands heard, they hurried to the place and were surprised upon arrival that they had turned to stone. Ever since, rituals have been carried out there for any decision pertaining the community as a way of honoring them and also in case of any epidemic that befall the community rituals were also done there till date and they have attested that it has always worked.
For a long time, the community has resisted the take-over of the crying stone by the government or even private developers claiming that when the stone cries, it serves as a good omen for them: bumper harvest for them, incase of drought, rituals are done there to persuade gods to bring rain and also using the place for cleansing rituals for incests.The crying stone is so revered that folk has it that it even fought wars for the Luyha community. Wow, what an insight, find your way up there to see it for yourself…
The luhya community is also famously known for bull and cork fighting, an activity that is done annually as part of their culture and tradition. The community is well known for their ritual rite of circumcision done once in every two years according to their culture and tradition. They are known for their love of ‘ugali’ Kenya’s staple food and chicken popularly known as ‘engogho’ in their dialect. This might come as a surprise to many that they prepare this meal according to their culture. Want to have a test of it, make your way to Kenya and for those in Kenya to Western.
The luhya or the abaluhya community is a group of 19 distinct bantu tribes in Kenya. The word Luhya means ‘North’ thus the abaluhya means ‘people from the north.’ Their principle settlement is western province in Kenya.