When my church organised a hike up the shrine at Subukia, I thought it would be a good way to get back to hiking after a couple weeks hiatus. Moreover, it had been announced as a ‘pilgrimage’ and I was curious to see what that entails. I would later find out that it involves lots of prayer (Rosary recitals) Catholic-hymn singing, and mini-sermons.
The journey to Subukia (a little past Nakuru) began at the church compound at 5:30am. After 200kms, a 5 hour drive (which should probably be 3 in a private vehicle), we arrived at Subukia and began the ascent. The shrine can be accessed by car but we chose to hike up to it.
There was quite a lot of activity at the shrine. It turns out Catholic faithfuls all over the world were celebrating an event that calls for this hike (pilgrimage). This means that there were people from churches all over the country. It felt rather crowded.
At the shrine, some vendors sold jerrycans which I learnt were to be used to fetch Holy water at the peak of the hill.
We all convened and started to go up the hill together, singing hymns and stopping by each of the 14 crosses distributed along the ascent. At each stop, a short sermon was read, followed by prayer and then we were off to the next one.
Once at the peak, mass was celebrated, followed by fetching of tapped Holy water by most faithfuls. I asked a colleague what she would do with the 10 litres she had fetched, to which she responded, “I’ll share it with friends and relatives and we’ll use it for prayer.”
The hike is a beautiful one. It’s a moderate hike that would last 2 or so hours if one was only hiking. There’s a lot of green and a water source that I felt I did not fully explore.
For this reason, I would like to repeat it by myself or with a few friends. The chapels distributed along the hike would also make for a good space to pray/meditate.
The main shrine is still under construction, albeit almost complete. Upon completion, it will be the biggest church in the country with a sitting capacity of 4,500 people.
Until next time, happy travels!