Man loses five members of his family in the Ethiopian Airlines crash
Ill-fated flightThis was two hours before she boarded the ill-fated flight ET 302/10 that crashed six minutes after take-off in Addis Ababa. The plane went down killing all 157 aboard, among them 33 Kenyans. At this point, Karanja pauses, lost for words. His eyes, partly hidden behind smudged lenses, express a hurt that words cannot express. “I have never been away from my wife for more than five days. Even when I used to work in Embu, I would go home every Thursday,” he said. Karanja confessed that his wife was everything to him - a mentor, friend to his family and confidant. On several occasions, she had come through for him in ways that no one else would have. In one incident, he recalled how she refunded nine-months salary that his employer had demanded after he was paid erroneously when he was on study leave. “I don’t know how to live without her. Some people say it’s God’s will, but I don’t want to question. But I know one day I will meet up with God - we all will - and I will ask him,” he said.
Direct flightsAt first, Karanja said he thought little about the fact that an aircraft had crashed. “I assumed we have direct flights from Kenya to Ontario, Canada, just like to the US. So I knew they could not be in Ethiopia.” By Sunday 9am, the family was at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport’s arrival section waiting for the arrival of a dear wife, daughter and three adorable grandchildren. When their flight was listed as cancelled on the flight information display system, the family did not pay it any thought. Karanja’s son, Kevin, reveals that that it was not until 4pm when they confirmed that their kin had died in the plane crash. Two of the grandchildren, ages four years and nine months old, were not listed as Kenyans because one was born in Canada and the other in the US, which makes them citizens of those countries. Yesterday, Karanja’s home in Kabatini village, Bahati, was a hive of activity as neighbours and relatives visited to condole with the family. A neighbour, Martin Muchiri, recalled how they had prepared a welcoming party for Karanja’s family. “We had organised a small party to welcome mama, her daughter and grandchildren. We bought a goat. This is so painful,” said Mr Muchiri.
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