No Justice for Baby Ryan Yet: Part 3: Suspect spotted building her house as Baby Ryan stays in Orphanage
Read Part One and Two of this Story on the Home Page and on My Blog Go Women Go. “Who did this to Baby Ryan” and “Who Will Save Baby Ryan”?
Yesterday, we paid a visit to the Saidia Orphanage in Gilgil to follow up on Baby Ryan’s story. We had agreed to leave at 6 am so we could meet the Children’s office before he left for a Wedding Ceremony. But Dorine and her stepsister Teresa showed up at Kencom Stage at 8 am. Dorine, Baby Ryan teenage mother and Teresa could not raise the Sh40 (half a dollar) from Kaloleni Estate to town. I had agreed to take care of the Day’s travel expenses and do a little shopping for Baby Ryan. Well, a neighbour finally lent them Sh40 and Dorine, Teresa, I and Transworld Journalist Mary Mwendwa took a Matatu at Nyama Kima and set off for Gilgil. Mary Mwendwa is a young Professional Media Woman under mentorship at the Media Liaison and Advocacy Centre Consultants’ Programme. We arrived at the Home at 10.45 am.
From Right: Baby Ryan, Trans World Journalist Mary Mwendwa, Dorine Odipo and her Stepsister Teresa Odipo at the Saidia Orphanage.
The handlers at the Saidia Orphanage were friendly and welcomed us warmly. We had lunch and tea and met hundreds of abandoned, neglected, sick and needy children. Baby Ryan ran and danced towards us when he saw his mother Dorine and so did the other children.
The woman who allegedly abused Baby Ryan, Evalyn Achieng’ Ouma, is at her husband’s Boniface Odipo’s home in Kajimbo Village, Nyakach. Evalyn surfaced there last week. She had gone underground after an irate mob tried to lynch her, frog-matched her to the Gilgil Police Station and handed her over to the Police. Evalyn who has been spotted at Kajimbo turned up with a lot of building materials and is doing final touches to her permanent house. Relatives suspect her husband may be around or may have sent her money for their family project.
Despite a call to a police officer in Gilgil and to the Gilgil Volunteer Children’s Officer Mr Henry Wamae, no action has been taken. Evalyn is free and on the loose as the traumatised Baby Ryan finds temporary shelter at Saidia Children’s Home.
Mr Henry Wamae, Volunteer Children’s Officer at Gilgil Children’s Department and Jane Kinuthia, Co-Founder Saidia Orphanage during the visit.
“I called my mother the moment a neighbour alerted me that my sister-in-law Evalyn was at our home. But my mother (read stepmother), said Evalyn was a new bride in her home and she could not chase her away. I called the police officer, Ms Nafula who is handling the case. I called the children’s officer Mr Henry Wamae. But nothing has happened,” says a teary Dorine Odipo.
Dorine Odipo’s story is heart-rending. It is the story of a teenage mother who had a baby at 15 while in Form Three. The family took her back to School at Tieng’re Secondary School Boarding in Kisumu County. Dorine claims she was sent home from School because she failed to clear an outstanding balance of Sh27, 000. She missed the Kenya National Examination (KNEC) Registration as a Form Four candidate. Not one to lose hope on her education, Dorine registered as a Private Candidate at the nearby District Commissioner’s Office in her Village.
Lunch hour: Dorine cries as she feeds Baby Ryan at Saidia Orphanage.
While still chasing her School fess issues at home, she got a call from Gilgil Police Station asking her to go and identify her son Baby Ryan who was a victim of child abuse. Baby Ryan had allegedly been bitten, scratched, knifed and burnt with hot oil and matchsticks and starved by Dorine’s sister-in-law Evalyn Achieng’ Ouma. The suspect had bitten Baby Ryan’s private parts and he was oozing pus and blood upon admission at Gilgil District Hospital. The P3 Form signed by a Dr Sang, Medical Officer of Health indicated the details.
Dorine comes from a large polygamous home, next to Kodingo Police Camp in Kusa, Nyakach County. Dorine’s late father had two wives. Dorine has only one brother from her mother’s house. This brother, Boniface Odipo, a KDF soldier in Somalia is Evalyn (the suspect)’s husband). The other house has 12 children. Dorine’s parents both died leaving Dorine to be raised by her stepmother. It is the same stepmother who has been taking care of Baby Ryan.
Asked why the culprit has not been apprehended, Saidia co-founder Jane Kinuthia says Evalyn needs counselling and not police arrest. “There must be something in her past that may have triggered her action, “says Kinuthia. She however admits that it is sad and unfortunate that Evalyn is at home with Dorine’s stepmother.
The Children’s Officer handling Baby Ryan’s case is said to be on leave for the last one month and will return to work on May 9th, next month. A Volunteer Children’s Officer, Mr Henry Wamae told the writer that we have to wait for the Children’s Officer to return to work. “We cannot release Ryan Brownstead from the home as he is still healing. Both mother and child are vulnerable and have no proper place to go to. But we will release Baby Ryan to his mother as soon as she is settled and can support the child.”
Although Media Liaison and Advocacy Consultants had offered Dorine a job, Wamae says this is not enough. “We must follow protocol and ensure Baby Ryan is stable. The interest of the child comes before the interest of the mother or the relatives,” a firm Wamae says.
Baby Ryan (Front Row in Navy Blue Sweater) and Mum Dorine pose for a group photo with some of his Saidia Family.
Meanwhile, Dorine has been allowed to visit her baby as often as she wants, despite the fact that she cannot raise money to travel to Gilgil.
Who will save Baby Ryan? Who will take Dorine back to School? When will justice be done so Baby Ryan’s abuser it prosecuted? Why did the police release her when she was already in their custody?
Baby Ryan in his new warm Jacket and Baby cap, poses with Saidia Manager Teresa Wahito in the Dormitory.
It was a tearful departure for both mother and child yesterday, with Dorine crying outside the gate and Baby Ryan crying inside the home. So I gave Baby Ryan a sweet as his house mother Risper carried him away. I gave Dorine a sweet too, to distract her from the sad scene. The rains pounded heavily on us as we left Gilgil and jumped into a speeding Nissan Matatu, back to Nairobi.
Who Will Save Baby Ryan – Part 2 of Who Did this To Baby Ryan?
Story and Pictures by Omwa Ombara
A crime has been committed. There is conspiracy by the Kenyan society to deny 4-year-old Baby Ryan justice. And as his teenage mother Dorine Odipo drops out of School before completing her Form Four, Baby Ryan has now found temporary shelter at the Saidia Children’s Orphanage in Gilgil. The Children’s Department, the Police, no one is willing to talk. Who will save Baby Ryan?
Baby Ryan’s mother Dorine Odipo during the interview. Who will save my baby, she pleads.
It is a wonder that Baby Ryan’s 14 aunts and uncles and other relatives never realised that the child was undergoing such inhuman torture. Dorine was called from School by Police to go and identify Baby Ryan at the Gilgil District Hospital. She told the writer: “The baby saw me and started crying. I asked him what happened. He told me he was beaten with a belt, cut slit with a knife, on the hands and forehead. He was burnt on the hands with live matchsticks. He was bitten on the right hand and uncle. The wounds were still fresh,” says Dorine. Baby Ryan’s stepmother, (Dorine’s brother’s wife who allegedly tortured him), is the wife of a Kenya Defence Force soldier currently fighting Al-Shabaab under Amison in Somalia. He is in the Paramilitary Unit.
Dorine Odipo (centre) , Step-sister Theresa Odipo and Step-brother Shem Odipo during the interview
But Baby Ryan only stayed in the hospital for three days before being released to the Saidia Orphanage. The Children’s Department is reluctant to release the baby to any member of Baby Ryan’s family.
Baby Ryan is unwell and needs treatment. He cannot control his bowels and he remains traumatised. He cries a lot and keeps to himself. Whenever a visitor goes into the home, Baby Ryan hides under the bed.
The 24-year old step-mother, who allegedly committed the crime, has gone underground. The police say they have to wait for Ryan’s uncle to come back from the war before they press charges on his wife. Meanwhile Dorine is under pressure from the family to withdraw the case. Dorine alleges that her soldier brother will not send her any more money for her School fees until she withdraws Baby Ryan’s case.
Teenage mother Dorine Odipo hopes Ryan will get justice. She has dropped out of School trying to find a way for Ryan.
But the Children’s Department and the Police will not release the Baby. The P3 form signed by the doctor is proof that Baby Ryan was tortured by a member of the family. But even if Baby Ryan was released to Dorine, she is under age and cannot support the child. Her own stepmother is the one who released Baby Ryan to the relative who allegedly abused him.
Ryan’s father who was a teenager of 17 when he impregnated Dorine, then 15 years and in Form Three is a layabout. He broke up with Dorine after impregnating her and they have not been in touch, says Dorine.
Dorine is stressed because she can no longer visit Baby Ryan. She cannot raise the Sh500 to go and see her son in Gilgil, She cannot travel back home either. She cannot raise Sh1200 to travel home. She is afraid to leave Baby Ryan behind. But she hopes and prays that someone somewhere can help her get Baby Ryan to hospital. She also hopes that one day she can go back to School. Who will save Baby Ryan?
See the original Story on Home Page – Who did this to Baby Ryan?
This Man, Najib Balala
From those early days as a young man, he stood to be conspicuous wherever he went; even as a person he has a very pleasant personality. He is handsome (what the local community called a “natural attractiveness”). From the very beginning he has never been a fundamentalist – he is seen as a moderate, educated and westernised person. Even when other Arabs were being sent to local schools his family took him to Kakamega High School. He later went to Harvard University.
At Kakamega High School, Balala related well with the institution members that were not Muslim. This is not to say that he has not been loyal to his faith. He drives his inspiration from his beads. Balala speaks fluent Luhya and loves chicken. Although his favourite food is Biriani, he has had to go slow on the dish since it is quite fattening. The former Ag. Labour Minister has special praise, almost awe when he speaks about his old school. One cannot mistake his nostalgia. “Kakamega High School taught me to be an independent thinker. To appreciate different cultures and understand that there is no difference in humanity, in diversity.”
Najib Balala is a Monday child. He was born on an early Monday morning at Kikowani in Mombasa at the Mosque. This explains why he loves Mondays. His father died before he was born having suffered from Leukemia. He has always referred to his mother as a strong woman. “She was only 30 years and never remarried. She protected us (we were six siblings, four boys and two girls). She was a very poor woman. I am very proud of her. Her upbringing is very well cultured. Her honesty is the key to our upbringing,” he told the writer in a past interview. Balala is the last born of his mother. Being poor and fatherless always inspired him to work hard and change society. He is a down to earth person who drives himself around even though he has access to a driver.
Balala, 45 is a family man and rather proud of his family. “After work, I sit with my children. If I don’t give them time, they will lose personal touch. My timing is unpredictable due to the nature of my political work so I spend quality time with my family,” he said.
He first cut his teeth is politics as Mombasa mayor and later as Mvita Member of Parliament and Minister for Tourism. From the start, his family was against his joining politics and he struggled alone.
His mantra is the need to start developing leadership that is honest and trustworthy and to have a mechanism to block leaders who take advantage of communities because they are more vulnerable and who think they can buy people. His greatest achievement is in the tourism sector where he introduced tourism as part of Corporate Responsibility and turned the economic sector around. He has never ceased to be a darling of the media since he always gives interviews without a fuss and always picks his calls even in the middle of a meeting.
He is highly respected within the Muslim community and never misses a function at the Mosque. Balala is accepted among Muslims who are rich, poor and middle class and by non-Muslims who are also of the same status. He is also said to be a darling with women who are the majority voters at the Coast. Before his sacking a few days ago, he was a bossom buddy of Kenya’s Prime Minister, Raila Odinga until recently when they started following different political paths. He once described Raila as the only person who seemed to fight for the rights of Muslims.
Excerpt from a past interview. Copyright Omwa Ombara.
If anybody thinks I am going to give them my Facebook Password or delete my posts to appear “nice” they can forget it. Suddenly posts on Facebook have changed and I can no longer recognise my friends. Since word went round that Human Resources intend to ask people to give their passwords during interviews, friends have generally been on the panic mode. Friends have been deleting posts that could endanger their jobs, especially those gossiping about their bosses or indicating that they have night lives away from the office. Posts of employees showing that they are religious have taken centre stage with incessant quoting of Bible verses to show the Boss they are “good” people. Next are employees posting family outing pictures that portray them as responsible husbands and wives. This is good for one’s career as it gives the Boss the impression that you have too much responsibility and will not walk out of your job very soon. It also shows that you can make a good manager and this may favour you with a promotion. The jokes we used to share, our favourite musicians, criticisms of our politicians and celebrities are all gone.
Friends who used to post nice pictures in fashionable miniskirts and jeans are changing their profile pictures to appear more executive. The pictures have become boring and dull. I understand why my Facebook friends are suddenly undergoing metamorphosis. I was almost tempted to delete my posts last week when a friend called and informed me that his boss had sent a circular asking all staff to leave their passwords on his desk by 0ne o’clock. Staff went into panic mode, deleting sensitive posts and changing their names. One staff opted to resign.
When I joined Facebook, I knew it was a channel of communication to re-establish contacts with my old friends especially schoolmates and family who were out of the country. What I shared with my friends on Facebook were not meant for the Boss or Non-friends. In an amazing turn of events, Facebook developed a life of its own with politics and love taking centre stage. Messages of condolences also moved from the newspaper orbituary faces to Facebook. Trust Kenyans to change Facebook into a political platform. Well, I also acquired new friends and enemies some of whom I still keep for prestigious purposes and not because they add value to my life in any way.
After some soul searching I decided I would not become a hypocrite by deleting my posts. My posts are a part of me, they reflect how I live, think and feel and I will not delete them to please any Boss out there. Deleting them would be like tearing off part of my life and this would be very painful to me. Sorry, you can keep your job but let me be me! If the Boss wants to catch you on Facebook, they will do it anyway. They use fake names and lurk through your profile in the dark. They do it on Linked In too. You just need to check who has been viewing your profile and your Boss’s cheeky face will be right there smiling cleverly at you. Sometimes they use your real friends and colleagues on Facebook to read your posts. This is why Facebook often warns that you do not accept friend requests from people you do not know. From friends who call themselves Dorothea Nincompoop Fadddilas Trupus or Paipolllama Tubeerculosis Governor. That could be your Boss.
Margaret Jane was feeling very lonely. She wanted to die rather than live in this cruel, heartless, unlucky world. Both her female and male friends had rejected her. Every man she had dated had abandoned her. It was true she had gone overboard. Once she had dated a man for one week, she would ask them to marry her. Her married friends were cold to her since she had asked their husbands to marry her as a second or third wife . Men gossiped as much as women and word had gone round. She had become the laughing stock of Nairobi City, with men teasing each other with the words, “will you marry me?” and laughing loudly wherever she passed. They kept telling her they would get back to her after the proposal. But she never heard from them again. Most of their phones were either switched off or diverted to a woman, laughing cheekily at the other end. Friends and family no longer invited her for functions. Her visits to Pastor Ogjibani prayers at Nyayo Stadium had not yielded any fruits. She was frustrated to a point of no return. What did a man want?
What did they want her to do? She wished they could fit into her shoes to know how she felt. At 50, an MBA degree holder and a financial analyst with a leading bank in the country, she had reached the peak of her career. Yet her posh huge home in Gigiri, her Imprezza, her DSTv and every luxurious item in her home had not filled the yearning in her heart. To have a man to love and to hold. She had met Dan Mara, a young pilot with an international airline while attending a world conferences in the Netherlands. He had shown an interest in her, raising her hopes for a big wedding. The relationship had gone well that week and he had promised to buy her an aeroplane. Dan Mara had promised to come to Kenya in one month. They would take the new found relationship to the next level.
She looked at her four German Shepherd dogs and six Persian cats playing lovingly around her. She had bought them rather expensively and their meals cost her upto Kshs150,000 a month. But this was nothing compared to the Kshs 1.5 million she earned every month.
Initially she had loved her pets and talked to them daily, took them for a walk and ensured they visited the Veterinary Clinic next to the UN offices regularly. But none of her boyfriends had loved her pets and one had complained that she loved one of her cat Doughnut more than she loved him. Doughnut seemed jealous of her boyfriends and would sit on her laps, everytime she had a male guest. Margaret Jane walked around her huge quiet house, desolate. She went into her shoe room and stared at her 200 pairs of shoes. She often went to the shoe room and tried one pair of shoe after the other. It excited her. But today not even trying her new pair of high heels she had bought in the Netherlands brought her any joy. Netherlands had sad memories. She had lost her chance to get a husband at the Schippol Airport. Dan Mara had seen her off to the Departures Lounge and kissed her goodbye, promising to be with her in Kenya after a month. But after the kiss, she raised her voice at Dan Mara and asked him, “will you marry me?” “What?” Dan Mara had stopped dead in his track, surprised at this sudden proposal. “We have only known each other for a week. It would be inappropriate at this point.” Margaret Jane knew she was behaving badly, but something seemed to drive her on. She insisted, her voice getting louder. “Haven’t you heard of love at first sight?” She taunted him. “Why do you need time? Marry me now. Marry me!” Her desperate high pitched voice seemed to attract other passengers who milled around. He had suddenly turned and walked away, never turning back.
Two months had passed since her trip from the Netherlands and not a word from Dan Mara. It was as if he had changed his telephone lines. She had made several inquiries through various agents at the KLM and Kenya Airways offices but no one seemed to have even heard the name. Dan Mara, she had loved him very much, even if she had known him for only one week. Why had he refused to marry her? When Doughnut walked into the room and rubbed herself against her feet, Margaret Jane kicked her so hard that she mewed loudly in a terrified, surprised voice and ran out. After a few minutes, her cat donut was back in the room. She looked at Dan Mara sadly then rubbed her feet against her mistress. Feeling guilty and unfair to the cat, Margaret Jane picked the cat, stroked it lovingly and told Doughnut,” marry me, pussy cat. Humans don’t love me. Marry me!” “Meow.” Doughnut replied, snugging closer to her new ‘husband’ Margaret Jane.
Today is World Water Day. My “World Water Day” came three weeks back. After a three-month sunny, dusty and dry spell, the rains came late in the evening, fast and furious. It carried away with it a lot of debris to Lake Victoria. The sweet smell of the rains meeting the earth was sweet to my nose. We were excited to see the rains although it pounded fast and furious and we could not hear each other or watch Television. It had not rained for three months when the flash rains came. So you can imagine our joy. I ran to the window and took pictures of the rain although I did not know what colour the photos would produce.
We were surprised to wake up the following day only to find that the flowers were as excited as the rest of us. They had been thristy too. They had come out in their splendour and glory.
Meanwhile the rains did their act. Some serious business, indeed.
I had to quietly sneak to the window, back and forth on barefoot as Mama warned me that I could be struck by lightening. Meanwhile, the thunder roared as if the Heavens would come down.
The rains lulled for a few seconds before it continued with its marathon.
The rains fell against the shutters and shook the trees and indeed confirmed that it had taken over Kisumu City. Meanwhile Mama called me to have a hot cup of tea, if only to get me away from the door. The birds that had been chirruping outside went dead quiet and I prayed they were safe in their nests.
Meanwhile, I stole more quick shots, hoping my camera would not get wet.
And what a wet water day it was! Water is life. Happy World Water Day.
Happy came home last night. I am just so excited I do not know how to tell this story. One minute please, I need to breathe slowly. In…out…in…out. Phew! I have screamed and danced and cried till I cannot dance any more. I am happy once more. Happy is back home. He sniffed his way back after he disappeared from home three weeks ago. It has been a torturous time, with sleepless nights and nightmares. I have heard neighbourhood dogs bark and ran to the window, thinking, hoping that it was Happy Dog, but no.
Happy came home looking dirty and starved. He had been bitten all over the body by some stray dogs, I guess. Someone had taken away his collar and chain. He sneaked in at 3 am and came to my bedroom window. He did not bark, but kept scratching the window sill. It was as if his return was a secret between us and he did not want anybody to know about it. I was fast asleep and I thought I had been attacked by thugs. It was Happy. Oh, how we hugged in joy. If he could talk, Happy could have told me what happened. It does not matter, though. The important thing is that Happy is back home, safe and sound. Happy gobbled all the milk and all the food it could get hold of. For one moment I though Happy had turned into a greedy Hyena.
Happy is sick. I took him to the Veterinary doctor down the road, next to Donna. The doctor knows Happy’s history and Happy knows him too so he will be happy to be near someone he knows. He vaccinated Happy against rabbies a while back. So Happy will stay at the clinic for a few days as he undergoes treatment. But I will be visiting him. I have to take some time off work. Lucky has bad wounds so I will not take his pictures. It would be violation of his privacy and a little cruel and insensitive on my part. So the pictures I have posted above are older ones of Happy’s taken in January and February 2012. I showed him the pictures and he liked them, well at least he licked the laptop.
Happy is a great grandchild of the group of police sniffer dogs. He came home five years ago when he was only one week old. A lady family friend brought him to give me company as I could not get over my father’s death long after he was gone. We were talking about my father, who died in a car crash in 1998, when I burst into tears and everyone realised how raw the pain still was to me. Happy became my constant companion, always there for me, always so faithful and true. Through all life’s ups and downs, Happy stayed on. It hurt me deeply when he went missing. Happy knows how to climb high walls too and I believe he must have inherited this trait from his parents. So he climbed his way up the walls and into his kennel.
What a happy day. The sun seems much brighter today, the coffee tastes sweeter and everything seems happy. Thanks to all friends and family who gave me their support through phone calls, text messages, posts. Welcome Home Happy Dog. Welcome Home. I love you!