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Crying Stones of Kakamega

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On top of the hills just south of Kakamega is the mysterious Crying Stone of Ilesi. The Crying Stone is a local landmark that consists of a large boulder resting on top of a massive pillar of rock eight meters high. The formation is supposed to resemble a solemn head falling on weary shoulders and from the top “tears” flow down the length of the column.

The legend has it that the “tears” never stop flowing, but the stones can definitely dry up at some times. The cause of this natural curiosity is a hidden reservoir at the top of the stone “head.” When it rains the reservoir fills up with water and slowly flows through small cracks down the side of the “shoulders.” Moss that grows inside the reservoir soaks up water and allows it to flow for many weeks at a time, even during a drought.

Although it seems to always be in good spirits, remnants of many sorrowful days can still be seen. The stone is stained a dark green color from many years of weeping. Villagers say when the stone cries, it is a good omen, signalling a bumper harvest, for instance. When there is drought, the community carries out rituals here to persuade the gods to bring rain.

Other rituals are performed to allay disasters. There is a symbolic meaning when the stone ‘cries' when it has not rained, villagers say. The site is also used for cleansing victims of incest in families. There is a cave under the crying stone called Shimichiro, where those involved in acts of incest are cleansed before they can be re-accepted into the community," The community has resisted the take-over of the crying stone by the Government or private developers who would like to build a resort in the area.

The crying stone is so revered that folklore has it that it fought wars for the abaluhya against their enemies before the colonial times. The stone has magical powers and protect the local people against evil design by enemies. The stone has religious importance as churches such as legio maria and rosary make pilgrimage to it, camp and fast overnight. Some religious group camp on the site on new year eve and during Easter festivities.
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