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Healing waters: Locals flock Keben Springs for a taste of unique, medicinal water

During every festive season, tens of locals and travellers throng the Keben water springs in Nandi County.

The water oozes out from the middle of the rocks, and its unique taste has made the Keben river, Nandi hills, a destination of hundreds of people travelling daily all the way to drink.

According to the locals, the Keben spring also known as “sukutek” in Kalenjin has a different taste from water fetched from local rivers and is often believed to be medicinal.

The Nairobian team paid a visit and caught up with the children and adults milling around the springs under the hot afternoon.

“It tastes like sprite and people come to rest around while drinking just after taking their daytime meals. We actually believe it heals and improves digestion,” narrated Solomon Chesumbai, one of the residents.

He said that they found Sukutek water, and they have been flowing for years, and the spring has never dried up like other water sources in the area.

The juicy water develops bubbles and has a little sugary taste.

“We share this spring water with livestock. They drink plenty of them, and they can even stay the whole day around the springs waiting for the people to move out of the stream, but normally people fetch for their animals to enhance their appetite,” stated Chesumbai.

He added that locals believe the water has nutritional value and has no known negative effects, hence the majority throng the springs to get water for their families.

Magdalene Leting said that the water is good for the stomach and during the festive season, more visitors from the area and beyond pass by to fetch the water.

“It has never failed whoever believes in it. We also spend most of our time chatting over several cups of Sukutek with friends, which we consider like any other juice due to its unique taste. It’s really pleasing,” Leting claimed.

The water percolating through the rocks down to Keben river has been in existence for years, dating back to ancient days according to Nandi traditions, where Keben (The name derived from rocky holes in local dialect) springs were used by the Nandi warriors used as their hideouts.

Philip Ng’etich, one of the elderly residents, narrated that the spring was found in the early 1900s where the community fought with the British colonialist who wanted to take over after discovering the water along the Keben river.

“Men who belonged to Kalenjin Maina age-set were killed in the ruthless fight defending their gracing fields and preserved watering zone in the region,” he stated.

Since then, the scenic location has remained an attraction site, and people visit the sites during the festive season every year.