February 28, 2019, marked the turning point for Joseph Macharia and his family after the Government handed over a house to his family constructed by well-wishers through President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Earlier on, Macharia and his six children, of which three are disabled, used to live in a semi-permanent iron sheet structure at Unfolding Glory Ministries Church in Teachers Estate, Nakuru.
“I had no job and with three disabled children, I was unable to comfortably provide for the family. It was then that the church housed my family and I within its compound,” said Macharia.
During a visit to the church, one of the church members pointed at a single room in which the family of seven were squeezed in.
The room served as the kitchen, living room and bedroom for all leaving no space for his disabled children who used wheelchairs.
“I really appreciate the church for housing me. A place to call home for my children is all I needed. Though space was limited, it was better than being in the streets,” he said.
The church is also located in a residential area where jobs are hard to come by as opposed to the more interior parts where farm jobs are more readily available.
His wife in April last year deserted him over the economic burden that they had been subjected to and the care needed by the disabled children making his life tougher.
Before handing over of the house, Macharia looked gloomy as he pondered on how to provide for his family and the embarrassment he had sharing a room with his children some of whom are teenagers.
“I tried my best to fake a smile but deep inside me I was in pain. No one would like to share a bedroom with his grown up children. I wasn’t comfortable with that but I had no choice,” said Macharia.
His story was however rewritten by just a call from a local chief who informed him that he would receive a new home from the President.
This was a house constructed for Damaris Wambui whose son had recited a poem before the President years earlier. Wambui, however, rejected the house saying it was not a gift worth receiving from the Head of State prompting the Government to select another beneficiary.
The house was handed over to him in a colourful ceremony presided over by Rift Valley Regional Coordinator Mongo Chimwanga on February 24.
“Whenever I get into the house I always recall the Chief’s voice saying that I had been selected to get the house and the plot. It wasn’t in my thoughts that I would own such a property,” he said.
Two months down the line, his life has taken a complete turn. During a visit to the home yesterday, Macharia’s face was lightened up with a broad smile as he welcomed us to his home that has more dignity and privacy.
We found him weeding some of the crops he has already planted on every available space within the plot on which his polystyrene technology which has gained traction globally in the housing sector.
“I planted these beans a few weeks ago after the rains started and they are doing well. The land is fertile and we have enough rain. I already have seedlings for various vegetables that I want to inter-crop here,” he said as he ushered us in.
The two bed-room house has a well-furnished kitchen, modern furniture and connected to clean water supply from a community project. His three disabled children have since been transferred to Muriundu Primary School which is integrated.
“The children are much comfortable here. There is room for them to move around the house on their wheelchairs. Their new school is also closer home than before which has eased my burden,” he said.
After the rains fell, Macharia has been a busy man especially due to the kindness of his neighbours who call on him whenever farm jobs are available.
“Although the jobs don’t come by daily, I am grateful to the community around. They have been very supportive and whenever there is a job they link me and this way am able to support my family,” he said.
His son Michael Njuru, has also been enrolled for the monthly Sh2,000 cash transfer for the disabled. The family also received a new wheelchair from the National Council for Persons With Disabilities (NCPWD).
The council Executive Director Mohammed Gabbow said that more help will be delivered to the family next week.
“We promised Macharia a motorized tricycle which we shall deliver to them next week. A second child from the family is also in the process of being enrolled onto cash transfer for the disabled,” said Gabbow.
His 20-year-old daughter Rahab Njoki who finished secondary education last year has also gained self-esteem and is equally elated to live in their new home.
“I used to keep to myself whenever I wasn’t at school. Here I have found a new lease of life. I no longer fear to have friends visit our home unlike before. They have helped me open up my mind,” said Njoki.
Macharia added that he was yet to communicate with his wife after she deserted him more than a year ago.
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