As the sun rises in Mulot village, Narok county one woman embarks on her journey to search for precious clay in the region, 52-year-old Catherine Chepkemoi hops on a boda boda with a jembe and a sack and travels about 7 kilometres away.
When she arrives at her destination she begins to dig the ground slowly but surely only picking the topsoil. Once she is satisfied with her collection of the day she packs it and returns home.
Once home Chepkemoi settles down for her crunchy meal which she toiled for, the stones she collected find their way on to her plate. As each spoonful goes into her mouth, she enjoys each bite with total satisfaction and confidence.
“Since I started eating soil I have no appetite for food. The appetite I have for soil is soo much. When I travel far from home I long to come back and dig my favourite soil and eat it,” said Chepkemoi.
“Even sometimes when I lose sleep at night. I wake up and slowly eat a plate of soil and stones and I get rest for my soul.”
Chepkemoi’s bizarre delicacy has baffled many in her village, including her close family relations.
“Every day she asks me to bring her the soil to eat. So I don’t know what the problem is. She can even consume up to a quarter kilo of soil per day,” said Vicky Kirui her daughter.
Chepkemoi the mother of seven started eating stones while pregnant but the habit stuck three years ago when she fell ill.
“When she fell ill she was diagnosed with menegitis. When she recovered she began to have cravings for soil,” said Stella Chesimet her sister.
Since 2017, as she was suffering from meningitis, Catherine developed an unquenchable fetish for soil causing her to gain nearly 60 kgs of body weight. According to her if she fails to eat the stones she experiences serious side effects.
“If I don’t eat the soil I get muscle pull like somebody suffering a stroke. I also find it hard to defecate if I fail to eat the soil.”
This is not the only side effect this unpopular habit has had on her life, Chepkemoi also shares how her husband responded to her fetish for soil