Highly polished and educated women from Baringo County, and even from the Diaspora will never reveal why they visit Kipng’orom in secret.
Some women visit the human salt licks of Kapropita ”to eat soil”.
They have one thing in common; it is a sign that they are ‘blessed’ to ‘add’ another life on earth in not more than nine months’ time.
These are just the closing remarks of the beginning of this whole story but here is the scoop:
An elderly woman called Tarkok who lives within Tenges is gifted in the trade of preparing some high energy porridge called ”Kerunyek” in Tugen Language.
According to her, the porridge is the cultural legacy of Baringo’s founding fathers.
It is ancestral food and for many decades like manna that fed the Israelites during their Exodus to Canaan, Kerunyek served as an instant relief against hunger in times of food scarcity .
Baringo matriarchs used to preserve moorik (what remains stuck on the sides and floor of the sufuria after cooking ugali).
This porridge is so popular among those who do heavy work like excavating building stones and digging the expansive shambas on the slopes of Tenges.
Above all, it is adored by adolescent girls and expectant mothers who ‘worship’ this porridge like its their small god.
Expectant women are said to adore the aroma of this porridge so much that when there is no more Kerunyek left in the cup, and they don’t have any more money to continue the party, they hungrily bite their lips.
They want more and more Kerunyek to fall down their throats.
Tarkok has been in the trade for the last 48 years, and it is okey to assume that this grandmom owns the Kerunyek patent in Baringo Central.
Like a beverage company, she is not very keen to reveal the Kerunyek formula.
She wants serious students to teach so that they will be making ten shillings per cup, as the rest of the youth run around saying there are no jobs in the country.
“This high sugar content porridge is always served cold,” Tarkok told The Scholar Media Africa.
When a cup of Kerunyek touches the lips of any Kerunyek fan, they let out an involuntary smile to all those around them, including strangers.
This porridge is real magic, they say.
In every market day within Tenges, Tarkok takes home Ksh 2000 from the sale of this porridge which educated people also drink secretly because apparently, many think its backward to enjoy this culinary heritage.
Educated women are placing orders from as far as Nairobi because Tarkok is the only surviving and very active expert in the production of Kerunyek .
She is so passionate about telling young women not to forget their culture
“Apart from Kerunyek, it is very shameful that in every marriage ceremony, we give our girls the traditional guard to make mursik for their husbands but they go and hang the items as decorations in their homes because they are very ignorant to learn their culture. They only know packet milk,” said