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Slovak girl meets Kenyan grandpa for first time

By Isaiah Gwengi
Updated Thu, January 7th 2016 at 00:00 GMT +3
Kristyna Mrazcova and her grandfather Paul Richard Oudia Okello at their home in Nyangera.

KISUMU: Kristyna Mrazcova had not been born when her grandfather left Prague University of Agriculture in the Slovak Republic (formerly Czechlovakia). And until her visit last week, she had not met most of her Kenya-based family members.

So it was tears of joy and celebrations as the family of 73-year-old Paul Richard Oudia Okello in Nyangera village, Usenge sub-location in Siaya County met one of their progeny born 30 years ago in Prague.

Fifty-two-year-old Peter Gwengi, Kristyna’s step-grandfather, termed the reunion a miracle.

According to Kristyna’s grandfather Oudia Okello, a retired agricultural Officer, the bonding was great. He spent hours holding hands with Kristyna, hugging and weeping tears of joy without uttering a word.

“This was one of the happiest moments in my life and to our entire family,” says Okello, adding that it was long overdue following Kristyna’s mother’s similar visit eight years ago.

It all began around 2003 when Kristyna and her brother Ondrej kept asking their mother Andrea why they looked different from their compatriots.

“We were curious about our colour and that’s when we asked our mother to try finding our grandfather after she had advised us that our grandfather is from Africa,” says Kristyna, adding that their mother had kept silent about the issue for a long time.

After too much pressure, Kristyna's mother decided to visit the hospital where she was born in Prague, armed with a copy of her birth certificate in search of her biological father. The birth certificate bore the details of Andrea’s father as Paul Richard Oudia Okello of Prague University.

From the hospital, their mother then visited Prague University from where she obtained more details about her father’s origin.

“My mother’s main fear was if her dad was still alive and whether he could accept her as his daughter,” she recalls.

In response to Andrea’s request, Prague University of Agriculture, where Oudia Okello studied in the 1960s shared his details and his contact address in Kenya, which Andrea later forwarded to International Red Cross Crescent, Geneva, which in turn linked up with Kenya Red Cross Society, Nairobi.

The Society successfully traced Oudia Okello to his rural home in Bondo sub-county, where he was managing an agrovet store after retirement from public service.

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