Long before Kenya began recording its history, Jesus of Nazareth walked in the country and specifically in Rwarera Village, Meru County, residents believe.
They say that their village, which lies at the foot of the three sister hills of Jamuta, is the holy Jerusalem because of Makinya ja Jesu which translates to ‘Jesus’ footprints’. The set of human-like footprints is etched on Katheruko, an area of sedimentary outcrop where natural salty water flows.
Next to the footprints are other prints that look like those of a hoofed animal, perhaps a horse or a donkey.
An elderly man has brought his flock to lick the salty outcrop as he rests under an acacia tree. Like prophet Habakkuk, his eyes are transfixed on the rolling, misty Nyambene Hills in the East. The man, startled by the writer’s presence, grins and extends a limp handshake.
“We believe they are footprints of Jesus and his donkey during the entry into Jerusalem, which is Rwarera. No mortal can step on the ground and make such an imprint on a hard surface as this. That must be Jesus,” says the elderly man pointing to the outcrop.
“In 1992, a Catholic priest arrived here and said these are the footprints of Jesus. It has since been revered and often pilgrims come here to take the holy water and say a prayer.”