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George Wanyama;Man who built a 1982 bridge in Western Kenya which is still in Use todate

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Forty years ago when George Wanyama Karani constructed a bridge to help residents of Maraka road cross Nzoia River, he did not imagine it would last that long.

Karani, 70, from Lufwidiri village, Maraka ward in Bungoma county says that he constructed the bridge on February 16, 1982 and gave it the name ‘ kumufunje’ loosely translated to ‘log bridge’ in Bukusu.

The bridge, which is 82 metres, connects two counties: Bungoma and Kakamega.

River Nzoia flows from Cherangany hills in Trans Nzoia county and drains in Port Victoria in Busia county.

Karani and Wilson Sirengo from Kabras in Lugari constituency, Kakamega county were the founders of the Kumufunje bridge but unfortunately Sirengo died in 2010.

The Kumufunje bridge which is made up of locally-acquired materials that include barbed wire, logs and ladders on both sides serve residents from both counties who rely on the bridge to cross to Webuye market.

The bridge connects Lugari constituency in Kakamega and Webuye West in Bungoma county.

Karani said that for every bridge user there is a fee charged in order to get permission to cross to the opposite side of the river.

He added that learners who use the bridge to get to schools that are across the Nzoia River their are required to pay Sh3,000 per year through their parents. Those who pass once are required to pay Sh10.

There are six divers that he has employed who are on stand-by to intervene in case anyone falls into the river. He pays them Sh200 per day.

He added he fully depends on the money he collects daily from the bridge to feed his family and pay the divers for the services they provide.

“Because this bridge has served us this long period there is no need of constructing a permanent bridge as it has given employment opportunities for some youths,” he said.

“Every December, I receive tourists from different parts of the world who come here to promote me financially,” Karani said.

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