Emmna Idambo, a Standard Eight pupil, prepared tea for her parents and two siblings yesterday morning at their home in Dagoretti, Nairobi.
The 13-year-old then led her sister and brother to Precious Talent Top Primary School in Ngando, Ngong Road area as is routine.
But half an hour later, the girl, who was due to sit the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam, was among seven people who were killed when the school’s classrooms in a two-storey building collapsed at around 6.50am.
Emmna’s death has left her parents devastated and killed the dream of their firstborn child of becoming an educationist.
“My daughter woke up very excited, prepared tea and bade me farewell before leaving for school at around 6am. That is the last communication I had with my child because, after 30 minutes, my little boy came running to inform us that their school had collapsed and he couldn’t see his sister,” Emmna’s father Isaac Idambo said yesterday at Chiromo mortuary in Nairobi.
Mr Idambo, his wife Judith Kadenyi, relatives and friends rushed to the schools where they found a few parents and teachers trying to rescue the pupils from the rubble.
“We searched through the rubble and managed to get to her. She was severely injured all over the body but we rushed her to Mediheal hospital. Unfortunately, she was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital,” said Idambo who hails from Musembe in Lugari, Kakamega County.
He recalled how on Sunday, they had joined other parents at Great Holiness Church, where he is a bishop, to pray for their children as they prepare to sit KCPE exam next month.
“I cleared her fees yesterday after prayers because I did not want her to be distracted. She was a bright girl who scored over 400 in previous tests. She wanted to join Starehe Girls High School and aspired to become a senior lecturer in one of our universities. This came so early. Death is brutal, you are here now and in the next few minutes you are gone,” Idambo said.
Her mother who was so devastated described Emmna as a responsible young girl who carried the hopes of the family because she was so bright.
“She could do many things on her own without supervision. You only needed to tell her what to do and she will do it. She was very responsible and she had promised us that as the firstborn child, she will score high marks to inspire her siblings to do better,” Kadenyi said.
Gregory Shikanda, who is the presiding bishop at Great Holiness Church, and a friend of the Idambos described Emmna as a jovial girl who regularly participated in church functions.
“On Sunday, she led other children in songs and dance at the church and she really made our prayers lively. She had told me she wished to join a national school like Alliance Girls or Moi Girls. We prayed for her and we knew she would pass her exams,” Mr Shikanda who works at the Ministry of Public Works said.
He called on the Government to make sure that buildings in both public and private schools are secure for learning.
“We appreciate the efforts by the Government to ensure that buildings in public schools are constructed to acceptable standards. Let school inspectors ensure that the same is applied to private schools,” Shikanda said.