I sampled some of the loacl traditional dishes like pumpkin soup, mukimu and chicken which I greatly enjoyed. The “Mukimu” was made from maize and peas boiled together, then boiled potatoes are added and then mashed together. This was accompanied by “kienyeji” chicken which means traditional chicken and was very tasty.
We sampled the party scene in Meru town and were greatly suprised at how vibrant it was. The establishment we visited was packed, the music great and the overall mood awesome.
2. Head to Mukulu
Our visit to Meru was hit by several bottle necks. As we travelled there, we didn’t have an itinerary and thus had planned to develop one from the locals advise. We were however shocked and saddened by the feedback we got upon enquiring about activities to engage in or places to visit. The constant response from the locals we engaged was that there was nothing interesting to do or see in Meru. This I know is not true, but shows how limited in information the locals are.
After a bit of engaging Google, we found out about a place called Mukulu that Is home to a winery. I had never been to one thus it seemed like an interesting option. It took about an hour from Meru town via public transport and once there, we were directed to ride a motorbike or what are best referred to as “boda boda” to the Mukulu Consolata Shrine.This ride officially falls under one of the most treacherous motorbike rides I have ever taken. The road, if you can call it that is rocky, dusty and super unfriendly especially on motorbike.
At the Church, we were met by historic looking buildings and the atmosphere, serene and beautiful. The inner walls are decorated with amazing paintings telling of the Christian Faith, the life of Jesus Christ as well as the history of Christianity in Kenya as well as the Church.
It was interesting walking around the church, looking at the artwork on the walls and studying the Christian faith shared by the artwork. I was quite impressed by a cross that is erected in the middle of the compound and had to say a prayer as I reflected on my Christian faith.
3. Scared to the core:
When we arrived at the winery office and inquired on a field visit, we were told to wait for someone to take us. 45min later, nothing and our patience was running low. When we inquired again, we were informed that the guide had left and the gates had been closed. We tried to plead our case, but they were adamant. When we then requested to purchase some of their wines, the mood changed. They asked us to pay for the products yet they didn’t even have a sample for us to see. Having been “bitten” before by not touring the winery, we requested to see the product before we could purchase and this seemed to “unleash their tempers”. The men ranted and raved, we felt threatened and eventually, we were thrown out of the vicinity. Dear priests and custodians of this place, kindly train your staff on customer service as they are painting your facility in bad light. I would love to re-visit and actually see the winery one day.
4. Visit the Miraa Market:
You have not been to Meru if you have not seen the Miraa plant, which is the main income earner of the area. We thus decided to head into Maua town a few kilometers away, which is dominantly a “miraa territory”. Practically everyone walking is either carrying a bundle of Miraa for sale or partaking of it. My curiosity got the better of me and I wanted to visit the “mini” miraa market that everyone seemed to be coming from. We walked to a place where lots of miraa seemed to be being packaged and engaged the young men on various Miraa
As my mini interview was ongoing, a group of men (I think they are the mini-dons) came and started asking us 1000 qs..who we were? what we were doing? were we police? who had sent us and for what purpose? etc etc..We assured them that we were young Kenyan ladies out to discover Meru and their culture and I think our innocent nature allowed them to relax and actually educate us more. Did you know: There are different grades of Miraa?? The higher the grade the higher the price? Miraa isn’t only for the idlers, even the elite partake it? It is paid as part of bride price? The leaves are hardly eaten with the stalk cover being the main part to be chewed and later on spat out?
Noting that we were already scared after the two threatening incidences, we opted to leave Meru area and headed to Isiolo. People had mentioned it as an interesting place to visit, especially to learn about the Borana and Somali community that are dominant in the area and thus we were enticed. It also being only about 53 kilometers from Meru made it a favourable destiantion on such short notice. For more on this http://wangechigitahi.co.ke/things-to-do-in-one-day-in-isiolo-and-archers-post/
Travel from Nairobi to Meru begins at “Tea Room” station which is located along Accra road in Nairobi. The distance to be covere is about 270km and takes about four to five hours.
To the County of Meru, you have lots of work to do with the locals in regards to sharing and marketing your county as a tourism area. No one can better sell a destination as a tourist destination or otherwise, better than the locals. It is unfortunate that the locals in your area would respond “there is nothing to do or see”, yet I believe so much is available. Perhaps you can showcase your county to your residents more so that the next time I visit, I will be overwhelmed with the options provided.