January 3, 2011 – There is nothing boring about a long distance trip in Kenya. Wherever it is you are going, you can keep yourself busy just spotting the most outrageous names ever to be labelled on establishments.
And if you think you’ve seen the best or worst of them, you have another think coming!
On a recent long long long trip to Western Kenya, I set eyes on a few hilarious versions, ranging between “Bubusela Café”, “Croatian Soldier Entertainment”, “Upper Room Pentecostal Church” and – my favourite – “Bistro Hotel”!
This time round my final destination was Kitale – a town that I had not seen for more than a decade – and so was curious to see what it was all about nowadays. At face value, nothing really happens there apart from farming and hanging out in the one decent club aka the Kitale Country Club, but when you lift the carpet there are quite a few surprises to behold.
For me, the biggest discovery was about ten minutes out of the town centre, towards Kapenguria, a very unbecoming stone structure with the name ‘Kitale Nature Conservancy’ forming an arch at the entrance.
When you pass the hideous stones, there is ample parking, and for 100 shillings you can venture into the conversancy which has a very wide variety of activities.
Despite it making its debut in 2006, the ‘conservancy’ only recently started doing the verbal rounds. Why? Because Boniface Ndura, the owner, has a bit of an animal freak show going on in the spacious compound.
As such, some of the prominent members of the Kitale Conservancy include the cow with a man’s face (??) – it’s called Man Face. There is also a cow with a mangled muff and four horns; there is another cow called Semenya, which has both reproductive organs, and a sole male ostrich.
One of the tour guides, Wafula, told Capital Lifestyle: “Right now we have about 26 cows, 23 goats and sheep and two donkeys. As you can see, the donkeys don’t have tails and we have even this cow (he points) which has a horse’s tail.”
Wafula explains that when there is an odd birth in the region, the owners of the animals approach them to sell them off and there is no fixed price.
It might seem like an abuse of animal rights but on the contrary, because it’s considered a bit of a curse to have a deformed animal in your homestead, the conservancy is their only chance at survival.
The freaks of nature are nearly impossible to explain and so can the real scientists please stand up and make their way to Kitale? It’s a genius idea that apart from generating income and employment offers a sanctuary for these ‘cursed’ animals. The only question left unanswered is why are the animals deformed?