Woman loses three children in Lake Baringo boat tragedy

Jane Kikenyi being assisted by a Red Cross officer at the shores of Lake Baringo on April 22, 2024. Her four children were among the young people on the boat that capsized. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

For Jane Kikenyi, the last few days have been agonising as the rescue team searched for six youths after the boat they had boarded capsized on Lake Baringo.

On Tuesday her worst fears were confirmed after the rescuers retrieved three bodies of her children.

Although her son survived the accident, three did not make it out alive.

Kikenyi, a pastor of Revival Church Salabani, was also to be on the ill-fated boat alongside her children but changed her mind last minute after she received a call from the bishop asking her to attend a meeting.

The single mother of four recounted the events on Sunday before parting ways with her four children whom she was to accompany for a youth mission to Kokwa Island.

Her three children were among the seven bodies recovered from the lake while 16 youths were lucky to survive the boat accident.

“We had a joint fellowship with Kokwa Island Church, a programme which started sometime back,” she said.

Kikenyi revealed that in April, Kokwa Island youth visited Kabukoki Revival Church and on Sunday it was their turn to visit them.

“While planning to accompany the youths, I received a call from our Bishop in Kabarnet insisting that I was needed urgently,” she said.

As the norm at the church, five women and men accompany the youths to the mission, but on the fateful day Millicent Lekimanti, 27, now deceased, was the only adult available.

Kikenyi left her children with other youth as she went to Kabarnet for the meeting not knowing it was the last time she will see her daughters alive.

Her first-born son survived the tragedy but her 12-year-old daughter succumbed after she was rescued on Sunday.

The other two daughters were among the six bodies retrieved on Tuesday morning.

At the Kabarnet morgue, on Tuesday, Kikenyi was emotional, as the clergy prayed for the bereaved families.

The devastated mother said her children were Christians who loved the word of God.

“It is sad, but God loves them more, He knows why, it's now me and my son, God will help us, three girls are no more," she said.

Her children were aged 14, 12, and 9.

Kikenyi said the Kokwa pastor was also in the meeting at Kabarnet when he received a call from a faithful informing him of the boat accident.

Little did she know that her three daughters were among the casualties.