Sister Irene Stefani Nyaatha house refurbished for posterity

The hilly village of Gikondi in Nyeri County, still thickly wooded in spite of the increased population, literally pulsated with souls from all walks of life curious to know more about Sister Irene Stefani "Nyaatha" whose beatification took place on Saturday.

The normally sleepy village, dotted with coffee, banana, and maize farms and zero-grazing units, was taken up by mass, prayer and thanksgiving to God for the occasion that went down in history as the first on the African soil.

"She lived and died here ministering to our forebears and treating them of diseases. It is courtesy of her that our village has won world acclaim," said Gikondi parish Chairman Francis Ernest Ngura.

Metres away from the current church built in 1959 is the site where Sister Irene's house stood, now secured and refurbished for posterity. Hundreds descended at the site where trees were planted to commemorate the occasion.

What was left of the simple house before its refurbishment was foundation's stone blocks that had not changed with time and on which a wall of wooden planks stood.

Her kitchen and bathroom was still lined with bricks and a rusty steel pipe that carried water for her domestic use from a nearby tank.

Mzee Paul Kabau Kahunyo, born in 1934 four years after Nyaatha's passing on, says the house he saw in his childhood was roofed with iron sheets.

Stefani lived and worked in the area for 10 years from 1920.

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