Time is the best healer, so they say, and Herbet Nanzushi can attest to this.
Nanzushi’s wife Everlyne Namukhula died last year, just days after giving birth to quintuplets. He would later also lose two of the five babies.
When the Sunday Standard visited Nanzushi on Tuesday at his home in Chimo village, Navakholo Sub-county, the 38-year-old was going through another roller coaster of emotions.
His new wife Mildred was in labour. Having lost his wife and babies, the thought of Mildred suffering the same fate made Nanzushi, who is deaf, nervous.
He did not know what to expect. Maybe she would give birth to twins, triplets or quintuplets just like Everlyne, who developed complications after delivery and later died at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital.
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Dr Benson Macharia, a pathologist at the facility, said at the time that Everlyne died due to weakness of the heart muscles.
Things however turned out differently for Mildred as she successfully delivered a baby boy at Navakholo sub-County Hospital on Wednesday evening, making Nanzushi a father of 10.
“My worry is how to fend for my family and also look after my ageing mother,” he says.
Although the county government kept its promise and gave Nanzushi a job after the death of his children and first wife, the Sh6,000 he takes home every end month is not enough to cater for the needs of his family.
Three of the quintuplets — Elsie, Janet and Esther — live with their maternal grandmother, a few kilometres away from their home and visit their father at least once a week.
“I’m happy the county government gave me a job and built me a house, although not all promises have been fulfilled.
“They promised to buy me a piece of land where I could farm and become independent, they also pledged to help me educate my children but after we buried my wife, no one has come to find out how we are doing,” Nanzushi says.
He claims to have received Sh90,000 out of the well-wishers’ contributions during the funeral.
Janet Ambani, Nanzushi’s sister-in-law, says he still has very many responsibilities to shoulder and may need assistance to ensure the children get a good education and are fed well.
Nanzushi says he decided to remarry because he did not want to be lonely.
“I am happy because my new wife cooks for my children and keeps me company,” he says. Mildred is the first wife’s cousin.
Since Nanzushi has hearing and speech impairment, he sought the help of the community to find another wife.
“He tasked us to look for a woman who would not have children, but that was difficult unless he wanted an elderly woman. He later settled on Mildred,” Ambani says.
Burton Waswa, the area county administrator, said he had wanted to have the children taken to a home where they would be catered for “but the family was reluctant to the idea.”
Waswa confirmed that the county had intended to buy Nanzushi a piece of land but he withdraw some money from the account created for that, occasioning the delay in acquiring a piece of land.
He said they still keep a close eye on the family and hopes Nanzushi can manage to meet some obligations with the earnings from the county’s kazi kwa vijana programme.