Unknown to many, Kenya is home to a statue similar to Brazil’s famous Christ the Redeemer statue.
The sculpture that bears the same name as the one in Rio stands prominently facing Lodwar town, Turkana County.
Since it is located on a hill, it is visible from anywhere within the town.
Rwandese priest, Father Concorde Akimana, who has worked in Turkana for many years once told The Standard that the idea to build the statue was born in 2011.
“The church was marking 50 years here and we as a committee tried to figure out how we can celebrate the way we came here to provide food but ended up evangelising to people,” he narrated.
The gate to the site has the phrase Porta Caeli inscribed, a Latin term for “Gate of Heaven”.
According to the priest, the steep and tiring climb to the top of the hill is likened to the tough journey Jesus Christ made when he was crucified.
The first stop on the way to the statue represents Jesus’s condemnation before his captors forced him to carry his cross.
Along the way up there is a sculpture depicting a woman in the Bible known as Veronica, wiping Jesus’ face of sweat and tears.
The climb up also has a stair section with loose rails that give way to a scary cliff. On the rails, an inscription asks “What does it profit for a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul?”
Apart from being a holy place, the sculpture is also a tourist attraction whose entry is free.
Father Akimana also disclosed that the hill was a favourite spot for Kenya’s first President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta while he was detained in Lodwar.
“Mzee did not trust the white people a lot and since he was allowed to walk around Lodwar within a certain radius, he liked to spend time on top of this hill where he could see the enemy,” Father Akimana told reporters.
Occasionally the site plays host to special masses that are conducted by the local Christian faithful.