|Ms Julieta Njambi. (Photo:Evans Habil/Standard)|
By Kiundu Waweru
Thirty-three years ago, Ms Julieta Njambi left her place of work for hospital. She never returned. Njambi’s daughter, Elizabeth Kimani, was then seven-years-old, and on her mother’s “disappearing anniversary” she sends a public message.
“Mother I know you are alive. Please wherever you are come back home.” When her mother left on this day in 1979, Elizabeth was too young to comprehend the implications. After all, she lived in Nyahururu with her grand mother while her mother worked in Mombasa and would visit occasionally.
Demand to see grand mother
But as years wore on and Elizabeth grew to a young adult, the urge for having a mother to guide her in life’s journey grew. She says, “Most times I miss mother like yesterday.” The urge became intense when Elizabeth got children of her own. She is mother of two girls, aged eleven, and seven years. Travelling upcountry is a rollercoaster of emotions for Elizabeth.
“My daughters demand to see their grand mother,” says Elizabeth: “I tell them that she left home, never came back and we don’t know where she is...” Elizabeth breaks in emotions and adds that her girls just cannot understand how a grown up can disappear. “You should look for her...” the girls say.
But Elizabeth understands her daughters. She has come full cycle because when her mother left, she too was too young to understand.
Elizabeth is the second born of three children. At the time of her mother’s disappearance, she was nine years old, and the last-born, born of a different father whom her mother was living with at the time, only five months.
John Mwaura, a street preacher told The Standard that he started living with Njambi as husband and wife in 1975. They were blessed with a child in 1979. The couple worked together at the Mwembe Tayari market in Mombasa, where Njambi’s brother, Stephen Ndung’u also worked. We also spoke with Ndung’u about the fateful day’s events, but their account of what transpired was conflicting.
Mwaura remembers the events of the day. They were both at the market for the better part of the day, “About 1pm, my wife complained of feeling unwell and since we were almost through with selling the goods, she left for hospital,” says Mwaura.
Mwaura, who hails from Limuru but still resides in Mombasa, says he left for home shortly after Njambi. The house girl, Muthoni, said that Njambi had passed by the house before leaving saying she was going to hospital.
“By 8pm, she had not returned,” says Mwaura. “By 9pm, I had started worrying.” He adds that he went to bed shortly after, and woke up at their usual time, 2am to go to the market. Ndung’u came to the market at 4am, and both men went to work, one worrying about the whereabouts of his wife, the other the sister.