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My baby died of cold after agents removed our door, claims woman

By Pkemoi Ng'enoh | November 7th 2021 | 3 min read

In early September, Joan Avisa was blessed with a bouncing baby boy at Mbagathi Hospital. As she went back home, the happy mother was upbeat that the boy would grow up to be a great man.

She was optimistic that her son would triumph over the unforgiving travesties like her other three children who grew up in Kawangware’s Nduwaru area. But her world turned upside down on the night of October 28 when her newly born son breathed his last.

The family now claims the baby was exposed to cold for three nights after the owners of the plot where they live instructed the agents to remove the door to their house so that they could pay two months’ rent.

When The Nairobian visited the family one evening recently, some neighbours were still comforting Avisa. Baby diapers and painkillers were still strewn all over the tiny room as the grieving mother struggled to gather strength to share her ordeal.

“I can’t believe my child is no more. I delivered via a caesarean section on September 11 after a long struggle. I think the baby was affected by cold. The door to our house was removed on Monday over rent,” she said.

She added: “Around that time, we had requested the agent to be patient since we had spent all the money on the operation. We usually pay Sh2,500 per month.”

She said getting the money has not been easy since her husband, who repairs electronics, lost his job months ago and is now out of work, while she is a housewife.

Avisa says on Monday last week, the agent came and removed their door despite her pleas to be allowed to stay for another month as they try to raise Sh5,000 to clear the arrears.

“We had no option since I was alone during the day. The baby became uncomfortable and developed fever at night. The following day, we took him for treatment and was given some painkillers,” she said.

She said even though the fever subsided on the eve of the child’s death, the baby was trembling until midnight when he was overwhelmed and his heart stopped beating at midnight.

And while they were away at the city mortuary on Thursday afternoon, the door was returned and fixed, probably after word reached the agents that the baby had died.

Amid the interview, her first-born daughter, who was asleep, stood up from a bed tucked behind the seat and continued playing with one of her siblings, without noticing our presence. We were told she is 15 and has cerebral palsy.

She has never stepped into a classroom or had a wheelchair that would allow her to explore the outside world as she spends all her time in the house with her mother.

The second-born son, who is barely 10, has since joined his father to fend for the family. Neighbours say he collects waste meat around butcheries and sells it to pet owners.

Their father, Anthony Otieno, who arrived during the interview, said he also suspects the baby started getting sick on the first night their door was removed.

“I had not paid rent for two months because all the savings went into paying the CS operation. To make matters worse, the shop I used for repair work was demolished. I am surviving on manual jobs,” he said.

The plot’s caretaker, Alex Onyango, who lives in the same plot, said his agents removed the door, which he took to the store.


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