Taking care of a child is not easy. Neither is it easy for those with financial stability, because to raise a child needs more than money.
Now picture this, a needy woman in Dagoretti, Nairobi County, is struggling to take care of her blind child, who is not only deaf and dumb, but also autistic and epileptic.
Caroline Ngugi says that her son developed these conditions two years after he was born.
“One day he got sick in the middle of the night and I took him to a private clinic. He was injected with three doses of quinine, and that is when he lost his speech, sight and hearing,” a teary Carol told an independent journalist.
After seeking special treatment at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), it was discovered that the child had received an overdose of quinine drug.
“The doctor told me that Tony had received an overdose of quinine which caused his hearing, sight and speech impairment,” Ngugi says as she wipes tears.
Ngugi’s husband was less concerned with Tony’s illness, he was of the opinion that they dump him in a children’s home. But because the love of a mother is special and strong, Ngugi declined.
Not so long after that, the husband walked away from the marriage, leaving Ngugi on her own.
Overdose tragedy again!
But Tony was not born epileptic. The problem started in 2015 when he got circumcised at a private hospital.
“I decided that he would be circumcised like fellow men. Due to his autistic nature, the doctor said one injection did not put him into anesthesia. He was then given three doses,” narrates Ngugi.
Few months after the rite of passage, her son started experiencing seizures and upon diagnosis, doctors told her that the anesthesia overdose was the cause.
At the age of four, Tony got admission into a special school in Nairobi, because an APDK official helped in relocating him to Kabarnet School For The Deaf And Blind.
Unfortunately, because of financial constraints, he was forced to return home.
Fortunately, Tony finally got admission into Kilimani Special school where he was schooling until COVID-19 struck.
With full scholarship at the school, Tony’s mother is supposed to cater for his boarding fees, amounting to KSh5,000 per month.
Found love again
In 2005, Ngugi found love again. She cohabited with a man and in 2006, bore him a son. Unfortunately, the son was diagnosed with sinus infection at birth.
As if reading from the same script, the second husband left her too after only two years.
Luckily for Samuel Wangómbe, he got partial scholarship at a Kibera special school.
But even with the scholarship, Ngugi was still supposed to top up KSh5,000 fee annually, and KSh2,000 transport fee per month.
Juggling between two disabled children, single and jobless, Carol’s silver lining lies in her 12 by 12 storage room in Dagoretti offered freely by her landlord.
That is where she bathes her 22 -year-old son, and his makeshift latrine (a bucket) lies as Tony cannot do anything for himself except feed.
She said that she contemplated death a number of times, having no shoulder to lean on. Ngugi’s family has neglected her.
“One day when we slept hungry, Samuel woke me up at 3am saying he was very hungry yet there was no food. I went and bought rat poison, ready to commit suicide along with my sons,”she concludes.