Odd suicides puzzle residents of a sleepy village in Nakuru

At Kwa Wanjau, a sleepy village in Subukia, Nakuru County, Lucy Kibuika weeds the area around the grave of her third-born Peter Kabera.

It is a fresh grave, complete with wreaths, where Kabera’s remains were interred just last month, after he committed suicide at the tender age of 17 years.

The teenager had great promise and his mother was working to ensure his dreams came true.

Kabera scored 352 marks in last year’s Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exam at Kabazi Primary School and the mother was frantically looking for a secondary school for him after realising she could not afford the fees at Mama Ngina Kenyatta Secondary School, to which he had been admitted.

The reason for the suicide still baffles Ms Kibuika, a mother of three. She says that on the fateful day her son did not show any signs of stress. And so it was with great pain when his lifeless body was found dangling in the bedroom.

“I decided to seek his admission to Kieni Secondary School because I was unable to pay for his fees. But I still did not have enough funds for his fees. When I told him that, he took his life,” says the mother amid sobs. “I was shocked because he remained calm after I told him that I was unable to afford the fees. I went to the our MP Samuel Gachobe to seek his assistance, but he did not even wait. He committed suicide the following day.”

That Thursday the family had breakfast then the parents headed for Kieni to secure a place for the boy in Form One only to return to the tragic news of his death.

Ms Kibuika is devastated by the death of her son.

“I would not want any parent to go through what I went through,” she says.

This was not the only tragedy in the village. About half a kilometre from the Kibiuka home, another family is also in mourning.

Samuel Kihoro also committed suicide around that time and the burial also took place the same week. He was 34.

Joan Wanjiku, Kihoro’s elder sister, says whatever led him to take his life remains a mystery.

“He never picked quarrels. When he committed suicide in his house, we were shocked. We don’t know what happened,” she says.

The deceased’s father John Muitha is the one who found the body in the house after discovering a missing plank in his house. He peeped through the gap and was shocked at the sight of his son’s body dangling inside.

“It was terrible. We are still in the dark as to what led to him to commit suicide,” he says.

Mr Kihoro was single and is described as a social and hard-working man who was loved by many.

The two deaths have puzzled the villagers.

“We don’t know why young people are taking their own lives. We are baffled as a community because they have been on the increase,” says Ms Wanjiku.

In the past four years, four people have committed suicide in the village for reasons still unknown.

Near Kabazi town, Martha Njeri lost his seventh-born son, through suicide in unclear circumstances.

The other suicide victim, George Waweru, was 16 when he took his life. He was a Standard Six pupil at Oldonyomara Primary School.

Now Kabazi Member of County Assembly Peter Mbae says the problem could be rooted in alcohol and drug use.

“We are organising a meeting with young people to talk about life because getting a D does not mean the end of life,” he says.

According to Halimu Shauri, a sociology professor at Pwani University, the increased cases of teen suicides can be blamed on parental negligence.

“The kind of suicides we are witnessing is a called anomic, which are caused by a breakdown in social values, with parents spending less time with their children,” said Prof Shauri.

The don said that parents are too busy nowadays, leaving children at the mercy of the internet and TV.

BY SAMUEL BAYA

‘He blocked me and never picked my calls,’ Brian Bera’s sister

The Family of Brian Kibet Bera are shocked to find out that their kin has made headlines for trying to storm State House with a knife.

“Tomorrow I attack State House,” read part of Brina’s posts. He also indicated that he was fighting for what he termed as ‘land injustice’ in his home area in Trans-Nzoia County. The Facebook account was deactivated yesterday in the afternoon.

His JKUAT classmates claim that when they reached out to him to question his stance based on his Facebook page, they were either blocked or dismissed.

“He was very defensive when we asked him about some of his Facebook posts. At one point he even told me off saying I’m meddling in his life, I should focus on mine and leave him alone,” a student of JKUAT said

The Standard reached out to Brian’s sister, Vivian Bera, a university student in Eldoret, who said, she was among those that he had blocked.

“After blocking me, he never picked my calls. This was after I started questioning why he was making alarming posts,” said Vivian, who insisted that her brother was not a criminal. “He requires psychiatric treatment,” she said.

In his interview with The Standard, Brian’s dad, Victor Bera painted a rosy picture of his first son who he described as a jovial and bright student in primary and secondary school.

The firstborn in a family of six, Brian was among the top students at Kitale School where he scored 407 marks in Class Eight. This earned him a place at Nairobi School where he managed a straight ‘A’ in the KCSE exams.

“In 2016, we started observing changes in him when he was at home. He became withdrawn and started keeping to himself most of the time. He was also suddenly very negative about life and everything,” said Bera.

He realised the son was not well when he was arrested trying to climb Mt Kenya. He was ill-equipped to do so.

“I received a call from the area OCS that my son had been arrested and I should go pick him up from the station. Brian told the rangers who arrested him that he was on his way to the top of Mt Kenya.”

When Brian was questioned about it he said:

“I’m more at home with nature”.

Brian is currently in the custody of the police.

Source:mpasho

“I wanted to kill my wife, army friends”- Ex-KDF man confesses

Former military officer and now Pastor Joseph Gitumbe is a living anecdote of “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

Gitumbe is still on the road to recovery six years after he was involved in a road accident that left him with a disfigured face.

In 2013, Gitumbe was rushed to hospital after being involved in a road accident where doctors worked for hours to rebuild his face before being discharged months later to recuperate at home.

“The impact was enough to shatter my nose, eye sockets and left cheek, and cause a deep cut to from my forehead to my cheek,‘’ he said.

Although Gitumbe sustained a catalogue of injuries in the crash including severe facial wounds, several broken ribs and a broken spine, his self-esteem suffered and he became more traumatic.Gitumbe revealed he was dumped by his wife and abandoned by some of his friends after the surgery left him with scars on his face.

“A woman I had loved left me immediately she learnt I had lost my face. She told me that my face scares our child. It broke my heart. I felt like committing suicide. My wife decided to rent a separate house,” he said.

He further added that he felt demoralized and could not go out after the treatment because he didn’t want people to see his scars.“I was left in the hands of friends who stood by me during the trying times. Some of my relatives avoided my calls,” he added.

“My work mates at the barracks gave me all manner of demeaning names. It was too much.” I would occasionally ask doctors attending to me to cut off my head just to end my pain. I wanted acceptance.”

Gitumbe, who worked as a KDF officer at the time of the accident, said he was relieved of duty in 2016 on medical grounds. He had served five years in the military.This was after a team of medical doctors sat down and concluded that he was unfit to work.“I was approached and asked to sign a letter and start making plans to leave the barracks,” Gitumbe narrated to the Standard Digital Video desk.

“I first turned away the papers and asked them where they expected me to go with such a condition and yet I got injured while on duty. I tried to convince them that relieving me would only worsen my condition as I had no money.”

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Joseph Gitumbe now Pastor [Picture Courtesy]

Silently, in his heart, he was planning to teach the people he believed were the cause for his downfall a lesson. On the list was his wife and some colleagues in the army.

“I had decided to kill my colleagues who were on the doctors’ board. How could they preside over my dismissal yet they knew I needed help? I was going to kill my wife and thereafter kill myself,” said Joseph.

However, rather than dwell on the past, Joseph went for a prayer meeting at Redeemed Gospel Church in Huruma, Nairobi.

He met with Pastor Nancy Maina who is also a professional psychologist. Before she prayed for him, she made him understand the value of life.“I went there for prayers. But she was scared of me because I was shaking and agitated. She however managed to calm me down and convinced me to ditch my plan. She told me that I was still valuable despite my scars.”

He then realised what he had missed for three years – acceptance and love. He went home a different person after the revelation.

“I dropped my evil plans,” says Joseph who started counselling sessions with the pastor.The church also offered him financial help.

Source:Standard Digital

Depression series: Real House-helps of Kawangware actress reveals her battle with mental health

Real Househelps of Kawangware actress Njeri Gachomba has shared that she has been fighting depression for sometime now.

The mother of one first shared her experience with depression when she broke up with her baby daddy two years ago. She opened up about her experience in a Q and A session where she said she has been struggling with mental illness.

“You know, depressed people are advised to talk about their issues but it’s never that easy for me because I hate talking about my problems,” Njambi said.

She went on to say that many people choose to stay silent because people don’t understand it’s a disease.

“No one will ever understand the pain you are in and that is why I just prefer to lock myself in my bedroom and pray rather than talk to someone.” she confessed. 

Adding:

It is so hard because once you are stressed by a small issue, you go back to square one. I just listen to music, cry a lot and I mean a lot. Sometimes I hate the attention and there is so much pressure from everyone.”

Source:Ghafla

Tragic: Constable shoots wife and five-year old daughter 20 times, then kills himself.

Jane Njoki and her grandmother Jane Njoki Nderitu were inseparable. Hardly would a day pass before one could call or visit the other.

On February 27, however, Nderitu failed to hear from her granddaughter, a small business operator and a bar owner, only to be attracted by sounds of gunshots and screams from Suswa Anti-Stock Theft Unit camp in Subukia.

The 69-year-old woman’s heart skipped a beat, as she instinctively tried to reach Njoki. Njoki’s mobile phone was, however, off.

Word quickly went round Thuthu village in Weseges ward that Cosmas Biwott, 27, and a constable, had sprayed Njoki, 26, with at least 20 bullets, killing her and their five-year-old daughter Shantel Nyambura.

Biwott later committed suicide.Nderitu was overwhelmed. She could not believe her granddaughter, with whom she shared a name, had died.

She tried to access the bodies at the camp, unsuccessfully, since it is a protected area.

“The death of my granddaughter was so painful. When I heard the gun shots, I thought it was cattle theft suspects, only to receive shocking news of her death. This was such a brutal act,” said Nderitu, tears rolling down her cheeks.

Earlier, Njoki had informed her grandmother that the officer was hostile and used to pick quarrels with her over petty issues before attacking her.Efforts to resolve the issues did not bear fruit.

“I advised my granddaughter to quit her marriage, as I did not see it last because the officer seemed not ready to settle. More often, she suffered injuries from his brutal attacks,” she said.

Njoki’s death took a toll on the family. She was the sole breadwinner. The family is now living in abject poverty.

She was survived by a 10-year-old daughter Bridgit Wambui, who is now depending on the aged Nderitu to do income generating activities to feed the family.

Mother also sickly

Njoki’s mother Sarah Wambui is also sickly, and depends on Nderitu for financial support.For Nderitu, death snatched away a disciplined, jovial and responsible woman, who used to take care of their financial welfare.

“I wish death struck me, and not my granddaughter, who used to work to help the family financially. Death is so cruel,” said the Nderitu.

The woman said Njoki also used to pay school fees for her younger siblings John Nderitu and Jackline Waithera, both students at St Michaels Secondary School.The two have been missing classes following accumulated fee balance.

“Life is so tough on us after death of my daughter, who used to buy for us food and support her younger siblings, who are now out of school,” said Ms Wambui.

A devastated Wambui said Biwott had threatened to kill Njoki several times. The two had been married for seven months.Wambui said Njoki moved out of his house and rented her own when the quarrels became unbearable.

“The officer threatened to kill me and my daughter two weeks before committing the crime,” she said.”They would part ways.

However, they later got back together without my knowledge,” recalled Wambui.She described her daughter as jovial and loving, and who worked extra hard to improve their livelihoods.”I feel sad having lost my daughter at such a prime age when she was also expected to raise her children,” she said.

Source Credit:Standard media

Former TPF pianist Aaron Rimbui talks of his battle with self esteem

Former Tusker Project Fame Pianist Aaron Rimbui took to Twitter to explain how self acceptance has been a battle he fights every day.

The renowned pianist who suffered burns from gas explosion and also battled heart disease and cancer says he is still learning to love himself.

I’ve battled low self esteem & self worth. I’m learning to love myself:to know that it’s ok to fail:my limitations aren’t an indictment:to know that I’m loved & valuable especially when I feel inadequate. Be encouraged,” said Mr Rimui in a Tweet.

See the Tweet Below:

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Musician and Pianist Aaron Rimbui tweet on self acceptance

Mr Rimbui has narrated how he suffered second-degree burns from a gas explosion which followed months in hospital to reconstruct the parts of his body.

He has also previously taken to social media to explain how he battled depression, heart disease and cancer which came two years after he suffered the burn.

Had a conversation with a good friend about how stress and pressure (work, friends) is adversely affecting us.
2 years ago after a period of high octane stress and pressure I crashed and burned out leading to a mental & emotional breakdown – mild depression. I’d ignored all the warning signs … chronic fatigue, headaches, constant anxiety, irritability, gastritis, GERD, and other opportunistic bugs because my immunity was low. Years had passed without a time-out, taking care of ME.
I sort professional help. If I’d procrastinated [in reaching out and getting help] my health would have taken a major hit. I was staring at ulcers, clinical depression, heart disease and eventually cancer. I was forced to re-evaluate what’s really important.
I’m pursuing true wealth: peace, contentment, joy, good health, great relationships, self acceptance.
The pressure to be seen and be perceived a certain way that’s not in tandem with reality only leads to a dark place. There’s a heavy price to pay: well-being. ?? #Reflections #HealthIsWealth

 

He is also keen on encouraging people on social media:

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Editor’s note: This is a repost, original post was published here on March 26

MY STORY: I found my husband hanging in our garage- Video

Laura Chite has decided to speak out on mental illness, using her story to enlighten people on a topic that is gaining ground in Kenya but is yet to be understood by many.

In an Engage Talk, Ms Chite explains how one day coming from work, she found her husband of two years dead in their garage, he had hanged himself.

“I tried to access the garage, I found the door a little ajar, my husband used to do a lot of stuff there, so it was not abnormal that I found the door slightly open, I pushed the door further and my body goes numb,  I see a silhouette, hanging there, I look again, I am confused and I walk away,” explains Ms Chite.

She walked to her sister’s house next door and knocked the door furiously before the sister let her in.

“She asked me what was wrong, I tell her I think Steve has taken his life, she asks me, what! and I am like, I think he is hanging in the garage and I start crying hysterically.”

Depression diaries: I sunk into depression after giving birth to my baby-DJ Makena reveals

Organised husband

In the talk, Ms Chite explains that when she lost her husband Steve, she had so many questions. She also narrates how organised her husband was and he had been planning the suicide for a while. He left a note detailing what he would want to be done after his passing, how he should be buried after only three days and another note to Ms Chite that read: “Tell Laura I love her very much, and I don’t want her to suffer because of my illness.”

“My  husband had been suffering from bipolar three years to his death, and he had been deteriorating at a very fast rate and I did not realise it, and because of the shame of the society, we never talked  about it, we kept it a secret and nobody knew what was going on, so we isolated ourselves from all those around us, my personality changed, I was no longer adventurous, no longer social or explorative and I realised this after my husband went,” she narrates.

My life battling severe mood disorder

“When he was sick,  I always asked him what I can do to help, and he said, ‘my love, there is nothing you can do, I have to help myself and I do not know how,’ nobody could do anything to help him and the best thing I could do was take care of him and watch him as he struggled with his life.”

Conversations on mental health

Ms Chite now wants the conversation on suicide to be made, a topic that has been bedeviled by silence and a lot of judgement when someone takes away their life.

How heart break drove 19-year-old girl to suicide

“What bothers me is when I see the stories of suicide in the news, it takes me back eight years ago and I ask myself what can we do to fix this situation, we cannot be having the same thing happening eight years later, so I decided to do my part and I told my story through Jackson Biko, I did this because the more we keep quiet when these things happen, the more we are fanning the fuel, we must share, so that those signs that are seen, that you notice them and you are able to do something about them,” she explains.

After sharing her story with Mr Biko, Ms Chite got many messages from people, some of who wanted to take their lifes away, she says she tried her best to talk them out of it, others who talked to her were caregivers of people people struggling with personality disorders.

Depression Series: How we dealt with our depression, two Youtubers speak out- VIDEO

Bipolar

This is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings from emotional highs to emotional lows.

So its main symptom is alternating episodes of euphoria to major depression.

The fluctuations can be severe with moods being  normal in between.

Some people experience hallucinations.

Bipolar is a lifelong condition and but can be managed by medication and counseling.

 

Depression Series: How we dealt with our depression, two Youtubers speak out- VIDEO

You tubers and digital content creators Sharon Mwangi and Maureen Waititu have come out on how they coped when depression struck hardest.

In a You tube video , the two narrated that alcohol was their solace to numb the sadness, insomnia, emptiness and helplessness that comes with depression.

Ms Mwangi who is doing her masters in psychology said her depression was triggered when her boyfriend broke up with her.

“The first time I knew I was depressed was after I had gone through a very bad break up, he left me to go back to his ex, I really loved him, my family and friends knew him and we thought we would get married, ” she explains.

“After that break-up, I would cry everyday, I would get home from work, go to the shower and cry. I did this for over a month, I was constantly sad, my friends would try to cheer me up, but I was constantly in my thought asking myself and God questions, I was completely hopeless, empty and felt worthless,” she narrated.

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You Tuber and Digital Content Creator Sharon Mwangi: Photo Credit| Sharon Mwangi IG

Ms Mwangi revealed that this was a second episode, her first one being a year earlier in 2016 which was worse involving isolation- staying in the indoors for long hours with zero motivation to do even the least of chores.

To cope, she would resulted to taking  cheap alcohol so she would be constantly high and get high fast. Her turning point came when she had an episode where she dropped to the floor, crying and praying to God to take the sadness away. She soon later started reading on depression, sought therapy, prayed to God persistently and soon was out of the darkness. She also took psychology to understand what her body was through her body.

For Maureen, her depression came as post partum after getting her first child.

“I would wake up, hold my baby and sit there in darkness without opening the curtains, and soon it became worse because I started entertaining suicide thoughts, every time we would fight with my husband I would feel unworthy, my self esteem was down, I would try to compare myself with other women and it was hitting hard.”

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You Tuber and Digital Content Creator Maureen Waititu Photo Credit| Maureen Waititu IG

“My real depression came when I had my second baby, the entire time I was pregnant, I would cry every single day, and it was painful crying,” she narrates in the 32-minute video.

She started taking Amarula relying on it and painkillers to cure her constant headache and to get sleep. She would get her drink from  dial a drink online shop which would deliver the alcohol to her doorstep. She soon started feeling embarrassed of  getting the alcohol brought to her doorstep and decided to go buy it herself.

“Every afternoon, I would go to Sarit Centre to a liquour store and grab a bottle, I would come home, park the car and drink the entire bottle in the car before getting into the house. But this would be followed by a huge guilty feeling, I would do this Monday to Monday, ” she explains.

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Social Media influencer, gym fitness junkie and Maureen Waititu’s husband Frank holding their two sons

She stared getting panic attacks and palpitations, later stopped eating food so that the alcohol would work. This was in November, December 2018.

She later sought help from a life coach who is different from therapist who helped her get her life back.

Watch the video here:

 

 

 

Depression diaries: I sunk into depression after giving birth to my baby-DJ Makena reveals

BY WANJA KIMANI

Top female DJ Pierra Makena has revealed how she sank into depression after giving birth to her child.

In an interview with Parents magazine, Makena explained how having a baby and a zero bank balance took a toll on her mental health.

I got depressed after giving birth to Ricca.

My current bank account was at zero.

She had resigned from a well paying job, had broken up with the father of her child and her company was still very young to bring in income.

My company was young and wasn´t bringing in any money.

I couldn´t deejay as much plus I had resigned from a well-paying job.

I started surviving on my savings.

She explains that she did not want to call her baby daddy to ask for child support. Her friends also disappeared when things got tough for her.

I lost friends but I thank God for my family who supported me.

Even when I hit rock bottom and during depressive episodes, I kept telling myself that I would rise again.

I thank God for my family and a few friends who stuck by me.

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Top female DJ, Pierra Makena. Photo Credit:  Pierra Makena IG page

TRAGIC: 16 year old girl commits suicide after being dumped by boyfriend

BY WANJA KIMANI

The body of a sixteen year old girl was found dangling in her mothers house after an alleged fight with her boyfriend.

The girl identified as Violet Adhiambo, had threatened to commit suicide after she received a message from her boyfriend terminating their relationship.

The girl was a student at Nyangubo Girls Secondary and hailed from Oruba village in Suna West Sub-County, Migori County.

According to standardmedia.co.ke, Area assistant chief Charles Ouma confirmed that the girl received a message from her boyfriend that could have led to her demise.

Her mother also said Ms Adhiambo has not gone to school in first term because she had been ill.

Standardmedia.co.ke  also recount that it neigbours who saw the door to the family house having been locked for a long time and a phone ringing inside the house. They peeped through the bedroom window and saw the body hanging from the rafter.

On Tuesday evening, neighbours said they noticed the door to the family home was locked for long and her phone was ringing inside the house.When they peeped through the bedroom window they saw the body dangling from a rafter.

“She was in good mood when I left for work, I never knew she had any problem,”  said her mother

DEPRESSION SERIES:Heavy social media users at higher risk of falling into depression

For more than a year, most of Millicent Kithinji’s Facebook friends ignored her posts, many of which were overwhelmingly laden with clear signs of unhappiness, dissatisfaction with life, depression and suicidal thoughts.

But when she finally reached the tipping point and committed suicide on March 21, her friends, and suddenly the country, were finally forced to take note.

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Millicent Kithinji (Courtesy)

Everything was on a downward spiral from April 2017, when Kithinji posted a picture of her daughter held by her father.

In August 2017, she wrote on Facebook, “Some situations make me think that the dead are at peace than the living”. In October the same year, she asked God to remember her.

Underlying problems

Again, in November, Kithinji wrote that stress had become a recurrent feature of her life before complaining in December about a woman who gossiped about her and her daughter. Even though her posts were scattered over months, they were indicative of Kithinji’s depression, as well as the underlying problems.

According to her family and friends, Kithinji’s depression was powered by a train of unfortunate circumstances, from joblessness and financial struggles to strife with her child’s father, who she had separated with.

In one of Kithinji’s posts, written a day before her suicide, the mother of a three-year-old girl expressed frustration over her inability to give her daughter a comfortable life despite her immense love for her.

Finally, on March 21, Kithinji hanged herself in an animal shed in her parents’ home.

According to experts, cases like Kithinji’s show the need to minimise or be more vigilant about social media use, given that it only exerts more pressure on individuals already battling serious problems such as depression.

“People who have low self-esteem, poor impulse control or a tendency toward addiction should pay attention to their social media use. Contrary to many people’s fears, social media does not make someone more socially avoidant or isolated. In fact, it can do the opposite by providing access to people and resources,” notes Pamela Rutledge, a media psychologist.

two women taking photo

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

While in cases like Kithinji’s, people may use social media to cry out for help or attention, there are those that are pushed to feelings of inadequacy as they compare their lives to the glamorous ones of friends splashed on the sites.

source:standard.co.ke