Isiukhu River's Golden Touch

Isiukhu River's Golden Touch

Isiukhu River's Golden Touch

By / Rivers / Friday, 13 July 2018 09:02

Tales of gold abound in my hometown, Kakamega. Therefore, at a tender age of ten, I knew the value of gold. Imagine then my joy when I struck gold in this river. And the riches have followed me ever since. It is therefore no wonder that I should consider this the river I love most. 

Twisting its way through the valley, graceful in its meandering and harmonious as an orchestra in its rhythm as the water battles the rocks, the Isiukhu River held our fancy as kids. We’d hear tales of water serpents, crocodiles, hippos and other creatures I feel pretty sure were only figments of imagination. However, for us kids, the river was forbidden. But what do you expect of a kid after arousing their curiosity?

My friends and I one day sneaked off under the pretense of play, and through those bushy paths, we made our way to this magnificent sight we had only heard about, closely following the older boy who had been there before. It was nothing like they described it. No sea serpents, hippos or even crocodiles. It was different.

A cold breeze blowing off the surface of the water hit my face, carrying with it the rich smell of fresh river soil. This alone takes you to such a tranquil state where you can actually feel the river flow and listen to all the bubbling noises it makes. It’s a state where all your thoughts fade to oblivion and you are left with only one thought that consumes you like a burning flame fuelled by every breath you take… peace. For a moment, you forget life and all it has. You just exist in the peace.

The peace beckons you till you are its prisoner and don’t want to be set free…unless of course, your friend decided to splash into the water like mine did, and all your thought bubble bursts. You see, here in this very river is where I learnt to swim. We were not that good, so we kept to the shores at first. By the end of the first day, the only thing we were proficient at was playing in water.

We sneaked home that day without saying a word to each other and avoiding the eyes of spying neighbors, knowing very well what we had done was forbidden. The next day, on my own, I sneaked to the river. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who had the thought.  I found all my friends at the river. We were joined by other boys from the neighborhood who were better swimmers and took to being our teachers.

I owe my skills in water to them. Over time it became a habit to meet at the river. This became our social spot. We would hold our own swimming ‘gala’ here. I made a lot more friend s from my neighborhood than I care to count. As long as there were at least two of us, the river was punctuated by loud laughter. If there was only one person, there was no better place to meditate than its serene banks. It was God’s gift to his little children, us.

To cover our tracks, we oiled our skins after swimming. Though this did stop our skins from drying, it did little for our tell-tale red eyes. And so it was that word got round to mum. I remember clearly the reprimanding, the sting of the cane on my palm and the pity as my brother was being caned.

Thus came the end of an era. No swimming. The peace, however, could not be found anywhere else. Often in pursuit of a clear head and peace for my thoughts, I find myself there at the banks.

So you see, upon this bank I struck gold. I can hear my every thought in the whispers of the wind through the trees by the banks. Every lesson I hold dear is etched on the stones of this river’s banks. The harmony of the river is a constant reminder of all the friends I made here. Here is where I found my identity, a treasure I carry with me up to date.


Martin Milimu

Martin Milimu

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