Ambrose Kiptui: Amputee Who Fends For Family By Diving Into Kerio River

In summary

  • Ambrose Kiptui has an experience of over a decade of diving into the famous Cheploch Gorge.
  • In 2019, his career came crushing after he was knocked down by a lorry on the Eldoret – Kabarnet road. He was bedridden for 2 years and was amputated.
  • Despite that, he has resumed his job and is capable of providing for his family.

A trip on the Iten – Kabarnet is one that exposes the beauty of the Rift Valley. It is an epitome of scenic views ranging from the Torok falls, view point and the Cheploch Gorge that sits on the boundary on Baringo and Elgeyo Marakwet Counties.

Cheploch is a stopover for most tourists due to the famous divers who take on a deep dive into the Kerio River. The river which snakes itself across the road is lined with rocks on both sides.

Visitors have to pay a fee before the divers take on the thrilling but risky 60 metre dive. One after the other, the divers stand on a rail, take a deep breath and plunge into the river. Within a few seconds, a diver lands into the water, creating a clapping sound that makes an echo.

Ambrose Kiptui

One of the divers is Ambrose Kiptui who lost his left limb after a grisly accident. Prior to this, Ambrose was one of the most prolific divers who also conducted rescue missions in the larger Rift Valley. Currently Ambrose utilizes the less deep section.

He explains how his life changed after the 2019 tragedy.

“I was knocked by a lorry and my life changed. I couldn’t dive as before. Additionally, during low seasons, I cannot do casual labour and I can’t go out for rescue missions,” he says.

Reduced earnings  

Ambrose was hospitalised and remained bedridden for two years before making a comeback to his trade. His efforts to seek compensation from the insurance company that insured the vehicle were futile.

Ambrose Kiptui with his family. [Photo: Ambrose Kiptui]

Since he can’t take a deeper plunge, tourists don’t prefer him. This has led to contracted returns and he now has to use more strength unlike initially.

“It is hard and risky, sometimes visitors cannot promote me because I have one leg. During diving, I use a lot of strength and landing is quite hard,” he says.

Ambrose has been praised for his bravery and can make up to Ksh 300 daily. However, the earnings are more during the festive season. According to the leader of the 13 divers, they can collect up to Ksh 30000 daily during peak season.

The group saves the money collected and are currently working on building a structure adjacent to Cheploch Gorge.