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The untapped potential of Got Ramogi

An aerial view of Got Ramogi area. [Isaiah Gwengi, Standard]

The mere mention of Yimbo East often evokes the story of a dispute between two women over a grinding stone locally known as pon’g. One woman pushed the other to death on the grinding stone.

The grinding stone then became an isolated and sacred site from where people could take oaths in case of a dispute within the clan.

If an evil event occurred or whenever two clansmen quarreled over an issue, the parties involved would head to the grinding stone to take an oath.

They would each take a stone hammer, locally known as nyatien’g, and hit the grinding stone. The guilty party "would bleed after this act is performed".

It is also widely whispered that Ramogi, the warrior, sharpened his weapons on rapogi rock and this place is now considered sacred with mystical powers.

According to locals, magicians usually visit the site secretly while some politicians seek to feed off Ramogi’s spirit and will eat from the rapogi rock.

The Sharpening stone locally known as rapogi at Got-Ramogi. [Isaiah Gwengi, Standard]

Situated in the north eastern shores of Lake Victoria basin, the little known Siaya County’s ward has multiple historical icons and mysteries. Administratively, the village hosts the colonial divisional headquarters, which is now set for upgrade into a sub-county.

According to the Kenya Gazette Notice No.4914 of the Natives Lands Trust Ordinance (Cap 100), Usigu was proposed as a locational centre situated approximately 350 yards to the North of Usigu market.

Today, the centre that owes its undergrowth to the locals’ inability to sell land is a far cry from what it was expected to be.

“This has been the area’s administrative centre since independence. It has been overtaken by its peers due to a number of reasons,” says Mzee Thomas Achando, a local resident.

Although it had good road network, electricity and availability of water, the centre is currently unappealing to locals.

The locals now talk about other centres such as Nyamonye and Usenge, which have overtaken Usigu in terms of development activities.

A previous Luo cultural event that happened at Got Ramogi in Siaya county. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Another notable feature is Lul village, which is derived from Dinka words for jungle and was formerly known to be home of magicians.

Today, it is known to be one of the villages with the highest concentration of ‘saved Christians’, thanks to the efforts of Canon Richard Jang'olo and Dorcus Otieno, the daughter of the Rev Shadrack Osewe from Sakwa clan. The duo is reputed to have promoted education and Christianity in Yimbo.

According to the saying of the locals, when a man from Lul eyes your property, he must get it come what may.

Almost everybody feared venturing into Lul and if you happened to enter the village, you would not walk along the path.

“This is because you might jump over dangerous charms and magic and get harmed. You were required to walk at the edges of the path,” narrates Mzee Thomas Achando, a resident of the village.

Other magicians from the village included Badia Simba, Obuong’ Abura, Molo Ayugi, Anyango Silili, Odongo Migori and Omala Remo.

According to Mzee Achando, Anyango is known to have brought cactus into Lul. It was used for magic.

A past Luo cultural event at Got Ramogi in Siaya county. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

To date, the village has remained to be known as Lul ka Badia.

Apart from hosting the historical hill and home to medicine men, the ward with a population of more than 30,000 people is bestowed with an airstrip that is yet to be developed.

According to Joseph Owigo, assistant chief of Got-Ramogi sub-location, despite having one of the oldest health facility and beaches, the area still lacks other facilities like a bank, a bookshop and even a butchery.

In terms of education, former MCA Elisha Okuku tells The Standard that the area hosts one of the best private schools in the county.

Bondo Teachers Training College and Nyangoma Technical Institute are also found in the area.

“Apart from Bondo town, this is the only place where the biggest livestock market is found,” said Okuku, adding that the market serves those from the mainland and three other islands in the area.

Other natural features that are found include Lake Sare and River Yala.