, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 15 – She sits surrounded by images of babies hang up next to words to live by. One reads: Love is enough.
But it wasn’t enough. The love she had for the newborn she now sits weeping for wasn’t enough when the residential building they’d made their home in, came down on them only hours after they were discharged from hospital.
READ: Mother, newborn trapped in collapsed Huruma building as 1 dead
Twenty-six year old Antonia Maithya now sits as a guest in another’s home nursing injuries as opposed to the newborn child she thought she would.
“Angel. That was her name” she shares, with her right hand held up to her temple, as though to shield her as the left wipes the tears that come down at the mention of her deceased child’s name.
Of her child’s death she’s unable to say anything more than, “they told me she was in the vehicle behind the ambulance that took me to Kenyatta (National Hospital),” before her sobs overwhelm her.
But of the events that led up to this tragedy, she’s able to speak.
She tells of how Angel was the demonstration of the love she and Benjamin committed to God and the Church in April.
How during her sixth month of pregnancy, she had to stop going to work because “the baby wasn’t lying correctly,” and her joy when the baby turned out just fine three months later.
But it was a joy short-lived because her bundle of joy was snatched away from her less than 24 hours after she entered the world.
“I delivered her at the Mama Lucy Hospital at 11pm on Saturday and we were discharged on Sunday afternoon. We got home at about 4pm,” and the building came down at 7.30pm.
Antonia tells of how the collapse was preceded by shouts of “thief! thief!” which left her alone with her brand new baby and their best man’s four-year-old child.
“We were about to give the baby a bath when we heard the shouts. Turns out, it was a neighbour moving their things out because they realised the building was precariously close to collapse. ”
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but Antonia is convinced that it’s the reason the death toll from the January 4 Huruma building collapse wasn’t higher.
“My husband and our best man left to go investigate the cause of the commotion and so did a number of our neighbours. The building came down soon after.”
Antonia was making her way out as well on receiving a call from her husband telling her to grab the children and leave the building.