Anguish over girl’s body held in mortuary for months

June 9, 2016 9:07 am
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Having lost her mother to throat cancer at the age of seven, Berretah was adopted by her grandmother, Caren in 2005/KEVIN GITAU
Having lost her mother to throat cancer at the age of seven, Berretah was adopted by her grandmother, Caren in 2005/KEVIN GITAU

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 9 – For four months now, the body of 17 year-old Berretah has been lying in the mortuary at Nairobi Women’s Hospital.

Having lost her mother to throat cancer at the age of seven, Berretah was adopted by her grandmother, Caren in 2005.

But about 10 years later, death came knocking again and snatched away Berretah’s young life on February 9, 2016.

The pain of losing a daughter at a tender age and then few years later losing a granddaughter who probably filled her space is immeasurable.

In Nairobi’s outskirts of Ongata Rongai is Caren’s ‘borrowed’ home which she was given by a friend to help her relocate from Kibera slums few years ago.

As the widow sat to narrate to us the harrowing pain of the double tragedy of the loss of her daughter and granddaughter, she fought hard to hold back her tears.

“Berretah used to call me mum. She was like my daughter,” Caren recalled as she displayed her photos and letters.

Berretah was in and out of hospital and sometimes in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) ward.

Initially she was diagnosed with Tuberculosis (TB) and was put on TB drugs by a hospital in Ongata Rongai.

But after being transferred to a hospital in Hurlingham, the doctors diagnosed Berretah with kidney failure.

Unfortunately, she never walked out alive again.

“My Berretah was my hope. She used to tell me that she will work very hard and then build for me a house. And now she left me. I don’t know what to do.”

Nothing of course can be done to bring back Berretah.

But all her grandmother wants is to bury her body, probably to give her closure.

Unfortunately, she cannot get her granddaughter’s body until she clears a bill that has accumulated to Sh2.58 million.

“On March 26 I went to see her body again, I paid Sh500. Whenever I see the body, I never get to sleep. It pains me that I sleep in the house and my daughter is still at the mortuary. It is a hard time, even eating is a problem, I don’t even get hungry. If I had the money I would have paid. If there is anything I can sell or where I can borrow, I would do it.”

“Maybe when the body goes down (the grave), it will help me forget.”

Caren who is now sickly and stressed used to be a dressmaker. Because of her ill health, she can hardly work again.

She doesn’t have any source of income and her hope is that she will get help to have her granddaughter’s body released.

Caren can be helped through PAYBILL NO. 718186, Account Name: Berretah. She can be reached on +254 721 333 971.

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