Man-made beauty in Pipeline, Nairobi

Sometimes beautiful things are born from the worst of things, and from the most unexpected places. Who would’ve thought that such a beautiful scenery would be found at such a place, in the middle of dumsite!

It’s in the late afternoon and I’m leisurely walking on this recently tarmacked road from the Quarry stage along the Outer Ring Road in Embakasi, Nairobi, where I had alighted from the City centre instead of my usual stage, Pipeline, which is further ahead. It had been a busy day, spent it setting up this website for a client in an effort to earn a living. You know how tight money is in January. We can’t just sit around and hope shit to happen, we have to push it.

I chose this place because I love walking, and the road was a perfect detour to take me back to the house sweating and thirsty for a cold glass of water and a cold shower. On the way, apart from bumping into scurrying bodies of Nairobians who are always in a rush, and at the same time dodging nduthis – boda boda (motor cycle) tax operators — and cart-pullers, nothing much. At one point on my way, I’m tempted to take out my phone and take a photo of this beautiful Kamba lady walking towards me with her gaze on the phone, but decide against it. There are too many people, and she might notice and cause trouble and I was not looking forward to that.

Then as I’m just about to diverge from the main road and follow this dusty path with pools of water that stagnated when it last rained – a month ago – in Embakasi, I notice this place reflecting the sun rays from a distance. I’m full aware that place is a quarry but I’ve never looked close and don’t know how deep it goes. The last time I was at this place was two years ago when a storeyed house had collapsed and I didn’t bother going to Check it out. Also, at the time, the quarry wall that prevented people from accessing the area was still in perfect condition unlike now, hence it was difficult for a curious soul to wander into it.

I stop and wonder what might be going on down there in that quarry, and curiosity gets the better of me and before I know it, I’m crossing the road to get close and see for myself. I see a small opening on the wall next to the road with a small path across a small stream of coal-black runoff water from the Kwa Njenga slums and decide to follow it, walking with care in fear of being bitten by a snake or some other creature that might be hiding in the bushes around the wall.

I squeeze through the opening and behold! There in front of me lay one of the most breathtaking scenery I’ve ever seen. Down there at the foot of those high rocky walls of the quarry was a tranquil small green-water lake. It looked so beautiful and quite, with only ducks missing in the water and a forest cover around it to make the place a sanctuary. I instinctively took out my phone and started taking a video while I took photos at the same time and looking out with caution for anyone sneaking out behind me for fear of being pushed over the cliff and falling to my death. No one would even notice I had fallen down there since I was all alone and the place was so quiet with no one in sight.

As I took the video, tried looking around the place to see if there was a way for one to get down there and sadly enough, there was none. The road that was used by the bulldozers and trucks is now closed with a mountain of black soil brought there by the real estate developers. I left still in shock that such a place excited in my backyard, but also disappointed for not being able to get down there and maybe take closer look at the water.

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