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“We Don’t Sire Such Children” She was Told

Joyce Kiarie

March 31st 2011, Nairobi-Today, we bring you a story of four Kenyan ladies, Judith Akongo, Catherine Nunga, Amina Musa and Joyce Kiarie, They are all parents of a mentally challenged child, one of them, Judith lost her son Alvin in 2010, at the time of his death, Alvin was 13 years old, Judith says his son’s death was as a result of mental related illness. Read indepth about Joyce and a collection about the rest in our Pictorial Section___________________________________________________________________________________________

“We Don’t Sire Such Children” She was Told

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While Catherine and Amina (go to pictorial) have the support of their husband, Joyce has gone through a whole lot of distress, rejected and isolated by her parents, his husband deserted her after realizing their son was suffering from cerebral palsy, with no one else to seek solace from, Joyce sought assistance from the Doctors, little did she know, the doctors were to deflate her already weakening hope of seeing her son’s health back to normal

When Joyce approached Doctors at the Kenyatta National Hospital in 2000, they told her that her son, Milton Kiarie will not live beyond his 8th birthday; “they told me they have handled many such cases and mine was not new” today Milton is 10 years and attends Light and Hope Center for Disabled in Nairobi’s Korogocho area.

A mother of three, Joyce Kiarie takes Women eNews Kenya from beginning to end of her day after day struggle feeding, clothing and caring a disabled boy. Her son Milton Kiarie has cerebral palsy, a physical disability that affects the way that a person moves. It is caused by an injury to the developing brain, which usually occurs.

Kiarie now aged 10 years cannot do anything on his own; all his life has been dependent on his mother.

Joyce spoke to Women eNews Kenya about her life experience caring, feeding and educating a mentally challenged boy, “its like am chained to my boy,  its hard for you to feel it ” she describes “Before Milton joined Light and Hope Center for Disabled three years ago, life was miserable” she says.

I look back and doubt if am the one who endured all the predicament, everywhere I went, Milton was on my back, people were staring at me with a she-is-bewitched kind of look” she says with a solemn frame of mind, holding her chin and looking into a my notepad as I scribe notes.

“Maisha ni Magumu” (life is difficult) says she “I have brought up Milton to be where he is, were it not for Light and Hope Center for Disabled, I would be with him here” she adds

Joyce first noticed Milton was not well when he was 4 months, but at the time, due to what she describes as girlish ignorance, she did not give it much thought until much later when the boy was 9 months.

“I still keep in mind when he was 5 years, then, I was detained at the Kenyatta National Hospital over accumulating hospital arrears” Joyce recollects“I had no one to stopover and help not even say hey to me” says Joyce “here I was with my disabled boy day and night and not even doctors could permit me go home” she recall.

After it became apparent no one was prepared to bracket together with her, Joyce escaped from hospital with her baby.

Back home, another torture awaited, Milton could not be named after his father as is the case with Kikuyu customs “The inlaws said my son will not be named Mbugua, after the father since they (the inlaws) do not sire such children” says Joyce “After negotiations to have my son named according to Kikuyu customs failed, I named my son Kiarie, my fathers name” she narrates

On a typical day, Milton goes to slumber at 9pm, between the time he goes to sleep in the evening and 8am the next morning when he wakes up, Joyce will have waken up four times, at 11pm, 1am and 3am and 6am, to roll Milton to a different pose, Joyce says this will avoid muscle clump and overstraining one side of her son’s body muscles.

As a rule, Joyce wakes up at 5 am in the morning to prepare her elder daughter Cecilia Wamaitha aged 13 for school; she also has a 1 year old son named John Calvin.

By 8 am when Milton ought to be waking up, Joyce has already prepared breakfast and done a bit of laundry, what follows is a one hour session feeding Milton, another 30 to 45 minutes will be spent in the bath room and clothing the disabled boy before being escorted to school which should take half an hour.

Amidst all the tribulations, Joyce hopes the Ministry of Gender will release the money allocated to them by the Government. She says that the money will go along away in helping parents cope with the burden of caring mentally challenged children.

In her own estimate, Kshs 4000 will assist Milton get a helper and pay for his education while she looks for a job, for the last two and a half years, the Government through Ministry of Gender has been sitting on a Kshs 200 Million fund transfer which should be disbursed to parents with mentally challenged dependent to help them cope with the burden of caring a mentally challenged dependant.

By Ngigi Kamau, Women eNews Kenya Correspondent

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2 Responses

  1. The story is quite moving. I congratulate Joyce for the strength she has mustered to care for her son Kiarie. It must be overwhelming to care of Milton but her love for the boy keeps her moving on. The in laws should think through their attitude towards Kiarie.They should realise that children are gifts from God in whatever form they come. No one has control over the kind of child you get and that one should just thank God the gift of life if nothing else.
    Joyce, take heart. God will continue giving you the strength and the resources to take care of Milton. After all it is God that has given him to you.

    And to the Government and to all other stakeholders we should all be accountable for the sake of those living with disabilities of whatever nature. God help us to have sensetive hearts to all those who were not lucky as we are.

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