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