Rosemary Odinga: It was emotional to see my children after two years
By Isaiah Gwengi and Harold Odhiambo
| December 27th 2019
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s daughter, Rosemary, revealed she has regained her sight as she recounted the joy of seeing her children again after two years of blindness.
Rosemary, Raila’s firstborn daughter, said on Christmas Day that she can now see and would no longer need the white cane that had become her partner in mobility since 2017 when doctors first declared her blind.
In a brief but emotional address to a congregation at St Peter’s ACK Church in Nyamira, Bondo, Rosemary said her happiest moments was when she saw her children for the first time after two years in total darkness.
“I saw my children for the first time in two years,” she said amid thunderous applause of Amen! God is great!
Rosemary did not specify when she exactly regained her eyesight but said it was after undergoing several surgeries in Nairobi, Germany, South Africa, Israel and India. She was being treated for a brain tumor that rendered her blind for almost two years.
She added: “When I came back from India, it was very emotional to see my children for the first time after two years. I thank all of you for your prayers.”
She was accompanied by her father who also told the congregation how Rosemary’s sickness devastated the family.
“It was painful to see my daughter go into a coma for more than one week and the many trips we made in and out of hospitals,” said Raila.
On Wednesday, as the Odinga family gathered for Christmas church service, the opposition chief revealed how news of his daughter’s sickness hit him like a thunderbolt.
Rosemary fell sick in 2017 and after undergoing surgery at a Nairobi hospital, she was taken to South Africa for further treatment.
“She was flown to Johannesburg in South Africa by an air ambulance, accompanied by Ida,” Raila said.
In Johannesburg, Ida had to rent an apartment from where doctors struggled to diagnose the ailment. They spent three months there.
Raila added that they also sought treatment for their daughter in Israel and Germany.
But it was in China where a professor of medicine finally discovered what Rosemary was suffering from. A scan that was earlier sent from South Africa alarmed the Chinese doctor who ordered that she be flown there immediately.
“She was diagnosed with a tumour in the brain and the doctors declared it an emergency. She underwent a three-in-one operation that took 10 hours,” he said.
On Wednesday, Rosemary walked on her own as she entered the church for the Christmas Mass, with Raila by her side. She did not have a white cane that has been her partner in mobility for two years.
As she stood to address the congregation, Rosemary recounted how her independence was affected by the loss of eyesight but credited her family and friends for supporting her.
“It was very challenging. I am used to living a certain lifestyle where I am very independent. Suddenly, I couldn’t see my children and my parents,” she said.
Rosemary who spoke in fluent Luo said that even though her eyes were “wide open”, she could only hear people.
Recalling the journey to her recovery, she moved the congregation as she narrated how emotional it was to see her children after two years.
“I would sit alone and recognised people through their behaviours. It wasn’t easy but I thank God for the miracle,” she said.
She added: “When I heard tap! tap! on the door, I knew that was my dad. When I said how are you dad, he would think that I was seeing him.”
For about two years, her health condition triggered a feeling of confusion, anger, depression and a sense of loss to the Odinga family.
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