“She discovered cysts in my reproductive pockets and operated on me in July of 1990 to get rid of them. Later on I conceived and in 1991 I delivered Harrison,” says Mwangeka.
For a decade she had been waiting meticulously to have a baby and after years of waiting and persistent nagging from in-laws, she finally had one. However, she didn’t expect that her child would have a debilitating condition.
“The baby was normal throughout my full term pregnancy, but at birth, he emerged tangled by the umbilical cord. He neither cried nor did anything else,” she recalls, her mind going back in time.
According to the doctor who aided the delivery, Harrison became asphyxiated and his brain was affected in the process. He was put in the incubator, but even after signs of life showed, the doctor told her he might develop problems growing up, she remembers.
It wasn’t long before they began noticing the boy’s convulsions and muscle incoordination. The doctor confirmed that their child had cerebral palsy and we resolved to take care of him as he grew up.
Mrs Mwangeka gave birth to three other children after Harrison — all who had no complications.
“I delivered Wilson, Agnes, and Eunice through Caesarean because I didn’t want to leave anything to chance. This was a pain I opted to take to salvage their lives. Once bitten twice shy and I didn’t want any of my other children to develop cerebral palsy,” she said.
At the time she was expecting her last born back in 1996, she learnt about Cerebral Palsy Society of Kenya (CPSK). She became a member and was made the assistant chairperson. Though she held a full time job with the government, she devoted part of her time in the running of the society, sensitising people about the condition and helping other parents accept that their children have the condition.
In 1985, after returning from Sweden, Mwangeka joined Kenya Posts and Telecommunications as an assistant postal controller. She worked in the operations department until 1994 when she was elevated to the position of a postal controller. In 2001, she became an assistant manager at Postal Corporation of Kenya — the company having been renamed. She held that position until February this year when she left so she would give CPSK all the attention it requires.
“I felt I had outgrown my position and at the same time I wanted to dedicate my time to the society,” Mwangeka jovially says. “I am supposed to hand over the chairperson position and become the CEO of the society later this year. In my new capacity, I intend to give hope and provide better conditions of life to these children and their parents.”