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‘14 Falls’ on its knees from filth

Wairimu Nyingi @wairimu_Nyingi

“It’s…a spectacular 27-metre deep scenery.” That is the description of 14 Falls by Magical Kenya, the official travel and tourism guide by the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB).

Yes, KTB is right… as far as the depth is concerned, I would say. The guide uses other ‘spectacular’ semantics that I won’t go to now. What I will say with all confidence –and perhaps anger –is that my visit left me feeling thoroughly short-changed.

When I left Nairobi for the 54km ride to the nature spot, I was psyched for some hours of tantalising refreshment, hours of detoxifying my lungs of the city’s pollution.

Fall of its awesomeness tells a story of a society at war with itself.

My shower cap snuggling in a corner of my handbag, my hair was the only thing I was willing to protect from the supposed mist of the cascading waters I was expecting to float in.

But what a shocker awaited my company and I.

The once pristine waterfall where the environment was unspoiled and the water clear, fresh, flowing free and unrestricted had turned into a filthy-grey stinker flowing with all manner of waste.

I stared at the foamy water, the occasional black pile of garbage and shook my head with livid wonderment. The rubbish that included pesticide bottles, rags, water bottles —even used condoms and wrappers – had turned the site into a sludgy fall that no one would jump into unless on a suicidal plunge.

It dawned on me that some of the garbage and pollution I was running away from in the city had beaten me to the Falls. Just like that, the balloon I had nursed in my head into a colourful experience burst into a gazillion pieces of rage and disappointment.

I left Thika back to the city with a heavily shattered heart and a question yet unanswered: How would such a stunning piece of nature with so much potential be neglected that much by authorities?

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