of gods and geysers; Bogoria stories of origin, Noah’s ark, and the parting of the Red Sea

I’m always on the lookout for African traditional stories. On Sunday the Standard published this one – Myths of Lake Bogoria. Note the similarities to certain biblical stories.

Here are some excerpts:baringo-geysers_090308_01.jpg

Because of its spouting geysers that spurt steam and bubbling geothermal pools, Lake Bogoria is a sight to behold. The geysers give the surrounding rocks a kaleidoscope of colours that leave visitors awestruck.

The local community believes the lake, set at the foot of Laikipia escarpment, is a result of the gods’ retribution against a wayward clan. They say thousands of years ago —about 20 generations ago —Bogoria village was a fertile land hosting Kapsokomo and Kapsaraki clans. Although they shared the same ancestry, the two clans were different. Apart from both being pastoralists, their lifestyles varied. Historian Mr William Boruett says the Kapsokomo were generous, kind and humble. The Kapsaraki clan was arrogant, proud and unkind.

. . . They decided to carry out a second cursing ceremony. This time round, the gods did not disappoint them. Boruett says the gods appeared one evening and warned the Sokomo family of a punishment to be meted on the village. They advised them to pack and leave. “The Sokomo family collected everything and waited for an opportune time to leave,” he says. And that night, heavy rain started pounding the area. “The rain was so heavy that it shook the ground and jets of hot water started to shoot up from the ground,” says Boruett. Kipng’eny adds that chaos reigned in the village as sounds of falling pots and gourds hit against each other. Screams of desperate men and women could be heard thousands of miles away. Property was destroyed and people perished. But the Sokomo were spared. “Their houses were not touched despite the village being submerged in water,” says Kipng’eny.

. . . When the Sokomo woke up the following morning, they found themselves surrounded by a mass of water. They were actually standing on an island. Leading out of the island to the main land was a narrow path. “The clan elder, Sokomo, led his family and everything that lived in his house out of the island,” says Kipkios. As the Sokomo family went through the path, the earth behind them formed a depression that was filled with water. By the time they reached the mainland, the narrow path had been filled with water.

“It became a huge lake and when the neighbours learnt what had happened, they named the huge mass of water Lake Bogoria,” says Boruett. Though the lake dotted with steam jets and boiling geysers continues to fascinate visitors, the residents know what is happening beneath.

[Read the full story here.]

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