'I want to bury her', says man who lost wife in Saudi Arabia

George Otieno mourns the death of his wife, Judith Adhiambo, who died in Saudi Arabia on November 27, 2022. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Torn tents erected on rusty steel stands, dusty chairs and smouldering fire welcome you to the home of George Otieno, a father of four who is mourning the death of his wife, Judith Adhiambo.

Adhiambo lost her life in Saudi Arabia on November 27, 2022. Until Friday, it has been 43 days since the family, relatives, friends and neighbours started making burial arrangements for the late Adhiambo, even contributing money and meals to the family.

But the neighbours and friends have stopped coming to the home to mourn with the Otienos because it is taking too long for the burial to take place as there is no body to bury.

"I just want to bury my wife," says Otieno at his home in Nakuru's Flamingo Estate.

Since November 27 last year when the news of his wife's death was communicated to him, Otieno has not gone to work, and for days now he has not taken a shower.

As Otieno narrates the challenges he is facing trying to bring the body of his wife back home, tears start rolling down his cheeks. Otieno says he only wants the body of his wife so as to bury her, heal and move on.

“Our neighbours, relatives and children are tired. We have waited for almost two months and as days pass, our hopes are diminishing,” he says, adding that those who were to help him return the body no longer pick his calls. He says the family only receives vague news from strangers.

“The last report we got is that the postmortem had been done and it was established that her death was accidental,” says Otieno.

He says he was promised that once investigations, which were expected to end by mid-December 2022 were concluded, the body would be flown back to the country.

“The money we raised for burial has been used up to buy food. I worked in jua kali and my business collapsed during the pandemic. We depended on my wife,” he says.

George Otieno narrates the challenges he is facing trying to bring the body of his wife back home. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Otieno’s last call to Adhiambo was a day before she died. He says the jovial Adhiambo promised him that she would arrive in Kenya the following day.

However the next day, a stranger called Otieno and said his wife had died. He heard that Adhiambo fell inside a bathroom in her holding room and died. After seeing posts on social media and getting further calls, he believed the news.

He describes Adhiambo as a jovial, selfless and honest lady who decided to make a long trip to the Middle East in order to provide for the family.

Before her travels in June last year, Adhiambo used to sell fruits and vegetables to feed her children and help care for her sick mother.

“She sent her first salary. However, after a month, Adhiambo and her employer had a disagreement and she left for the agency holding rooms,” he says.

Friends and family console George Otieno at his home in Nakuru's Flamingo Estate. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

The distraught father of four is now appealing to the government to help him bury Adhiambo.

Godwin Muhatia, a relative, says the family have been promised severally that her body would be brought home.

Anthony Kamau, who is in charge of the agency that processed Adhiambo’s travel, says he has tried to reach the Kenyan Embassy without success.

“I am afraid but the process may take longer and the family may be forced to wait further before they can bury Adhiambo,” says Kamau.

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