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.
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.
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!
Sarah had always had thin legs but she had never thought her man would dump her for her legs. She was aware that her legs were very thin but she loved them and had never equated them with a mosquito. So it came as a shock to her that Freddie, her love did not love her legs at all. They had dated for the last six months and he had never mentioned her beloved legs at all. How could a man claim to love you and hate some parts of your body? She was slim and tall and had a small frame when she met him, yet that had not stopped her from loving him. Now she was expecting his baby. What was she going to do? Deep down in her heart, she knew he still loved her. Where had this ill wind come from and carried Freddie’s love for her in a totally different direction? Whirlwinds came fast and furious and carried everything along its path, left a wave of destruction behind. How come no one had ever told her that love was a whirlwind?
Sarah could not remember exactly when Freddie started hating her legs. But she did recall it had all started with the visit home to his parents in Saola Village up the mountains. Sarah was already 33 and still in search of a husband when she met Freddie, 47, a Banker at her friend Jerusa’s Birthday Party in Eastleigh Section Three. Freddie looked into her eyes during dinner and shouted in front of everybody, “I don’t know you much Lady Sarah, but I am going to marry you!” Everyone at the party had been embarassed for a minute. Then everyone burst out laughing. Sarah, a Secretary with a Law Firm was amused too and took it as a joke, bust she soon realised he was serious. He wanted her to meet his mother.
“I know mum. She loves weddings. She has been nagging me to marry, so she will be quite excited to meet you,” Freddie had said, his dark eyes shining in joy. No one had proposed to Sarah all her life and she decided to grasp this opportunity for a husband with both arms. Men had come and gone in her past but none had even joked about wanting to marry her.
The visit home had been pathetic. Freddie’s mother and her four huge, tall, plump sisters had burst out laughing, the moment she arrived. It was not the usual laughter, it was evil and taunting…laughter that did not come from the heart. “Is this the woman you want to marry?” Freddie’s mother had asked him sadly, contemptuously. “Yes, this is Sarah, a beautiful lady with a wonderful heart,” Freddie said happily.
Then Freddie’s aunt Rita had summed it all up. “No, no, no. What joke is this, Fred? This girl cannot fit into this home. Look at her mosquito legs. Her legs do not deserve to walk in this important home. You cannot marry her. You will have sickly children with very thin legs and you do know that our family is endowed with nice, plump, healthy bodies.” Sarah looked between Freddie’s aunts and his mother and back to Freddie. Freddie looked down, never saying a word as the aunts taunted her.
They had left immediately without even taking lunch. The six-hour journey back to the city was quiet with no one saying anything or eating any food along the way. Usually, they would have gone to his place. He dropped her at her house in Buru Buru Phase Four as he headed to his house in Fedha Estate. “I will call you!” Was all he said.
Three months later and he had not called. He did not pick her calls either. His friends had gone out of circulation. But she still hoped. That one day he would show up at her door, with the beautiful flowers he used to bring her. She knew he would show up with her favourite red wine. Love did not just disappear into the blues, without a reason. Surely, her mosquito legs could not kill the love between her and Freddie. She still loved him. She knew he loved her too…despite her small legs.
“Love me please,” she begged him as she hang on to his knee, tightly.”Love me, please darling, I beg you, love me.” Instead of the hug she expected from him, he roughly shoved her off , shouting, “get off me, leave me alone!”
What had happened that such a man who once loved her with all his heart and would have done anything for her, had suddenly changed and no longer wanted anything to do with her.
“I love you, darling, please don’t do this to me!” She begged, tears flowing endlessly down her face. He sneered at her, showing complete indifference and contempt. What was the world coming to? Jude, her Jude, the man who has once literally walked on the grounds she treaded on had become a complete stranger! She could no longer recognise him.
“There are so many men in the world. I don’t understand why you are clinging on me! I am giving you the freedom to go out and marry them. I do not love you anymore! You can even leave now if you want!”
The words hurt. “What have I done? What is it that is so unforgivable? I have been faithful to you. I have been submissive, I have never hurt you!”
“I don’t want to hear any of this!” He said as he put on his coat and walked out of the house.
What had happened? Was this her man Jude or this was someone else? Why was he doing this to her.
She got up from the floor and ran after him, begging him to love her. He ignored her, turned on the engine and drove off. She stood in the rain, numbed, feeling nothing but pain deep inside her heart. “He doesn’t love me. He doesn’t love me any more. As if the pounding rains agreed with her, they washed away her tears in sympathy at her plight. The plight of a love lost.
She woke up with a start to find Jude embracing her, holding her tightly inside their warm bed. “You were screaming in your sleep. Had a nightmare?” He asked gently. “Just a bad dream, I guess!” She responded, still feeling dazed. “Do you want to discuss it?” “No, oh no. I don’t even remember anything,” she lied.
She hugged him ever so tightly as if she would never let go. She felt lucky that it was only a dream and he was right here with her, ever so warm, ever so loving. This charming sweet man lying next to her was the real Jude, the Jude she knew and loved. “I love you,” she whispered and bit his ear playfully. He kissed her back. Soon, she was fast asleep.
Everyone has gone through one crisis or another. It is never easy. It is so difficult to face life when the worst happens, when your worst fears are confirmed.
Crisis comes when least expected. It sneaks into one’s life like a thief in the night. No warning, no preparation, no time to make amends. It could be the loss of a loved one, an accident that leaves one paralysed for life. You could just walk into hospital for a normal check up and there it is right on the screen, you have been diagnosed with cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, hypertension and God knows what else. You have been trying to get pregnant for the last ten years and when you finally succeed you lose your child in labour. Or you have tried to get a child for the last 20 years and your marriage is about to break up and women are being brought to your bed to give birth on your behalf. When someone you had really trusted and confided in betrays you or someone just creates a big lie about you and jeopardises your love, family and career. For someone else it could be such a simple thing but when crisis strikes my friends, it is never easy to deal with.
It is a crisis when your partner abandons you because you have been diagnosed with cancer, HIV or a mental illness, when you need a kidney transplant or a dialysis. When that brilliant child you thought would bring the prize home is caught up with a drug cartel and no amount of rehabilitation will change the situation. Then you get a call to go and pick his body.
Crisis, how does one survive? When you lose your job at a time you really need it, when you get retrenched yet it is not your fault, when you commit adultery and the only person you have ever truly loves abandons you or you commit a crime and have to go to to jail. When you look back at the poor relatives you brought up, educated and gave your best turn their back on you and talk ill of you now that they have made their wealth.
When you fail your exams abroad and you are expected back home and you have to move out of the University and play hide and seek with the police, washing cars, babysitting and then this College girl you fell in love with gets pregnant! When you look around and your love clock ticks but there is nobody to marry you or even ask you out for a drink.
Crisis happens my dear friends. Crisis visited me my friends when I got that call that changed my life forever. Dad and mum and sis involved in a car accident. They fell into the river. Dad died on the spot, mum was in a coma and we could not trace my sis anywhere. She was admitted in a hospital somewhere with broken ribs and legs. It was a crisis,. How could we bury dad without mum, her only love for 54 years?
But we survived the crisis, You can survive. We hang on to hope. Friends supported us. The Church prayed and visited. Relatives and neighbours condoled with us and consoled us. The bill was so high and we sold the property but we survived. You will survive my friends. Just hang in there. Take courage. Do not give up especially when it is too much. Troubles may gang up against you like the Dogs of Winter and maul you into unrecognisable pieces but you will survive. There is no night so long that the day will not break. And one day you will look back and wonder how you did it. You will survive. You will survive.
When love comes knocking, it is often so sweet, so gentle, so yummy, like chocolate or candy, so super-duper-turvy but somewhere along the way something happens. Just somwewhere out of the blues, the smell, the colour, the taste of love suddenly changes, like a wind that has lost direction or affection, like unexpected rains that come without a warning; sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.
It all started with an innocent smile. Whoever thought that a small tiny sideways smile could turn into something so huge? Whoever thought that years later her love would follow him to the grave?
He had died loving, not loving her as she had hoped or expected but he had died, loving another woman. To make matters worse, he had died in the arms of another woman as she waited for him to come home for dinner.
That day, he had called from work telling her he would be home early. “Do not sleep before I get home, he commanded, “I have something important to discuss with you!”
They had not been on good terms of late. They had had frequent quarrels over his love mannerisms, his bad phone manners of always switching off his phone when she most needed him. Calls kept coming in when they were in bed and he would run to receive them in the bathroom. On one on occasion, at midnight, she had tiptoed after him to eavesdrop on his conversation. The sounds were not clear and she was forced to lie on the cold floor and place her ear next to the lower part of door. That was when she heard him say, “darling, don’t worry about her. My wife is harsh but that will not stop me from meeting you tomorrow. If she asks me about you, I will beat her up, send her back to her parents and demand my dowry back. I can even use the same dowry to marry you!” He said chuckling.
That was the day he had beaten her so badly she had thought she would die. By bad luck, he had suddenly walked out of the bathroom and found her sneaking up on him. Without even getting time to get up from the floor, he had stepped on her face several times as if he was killing a snake. “You stupid spy, why are you following me everywhere? Do you want to control me?” He shouted at her as he kicked and rained on her with slaps. He had then packed her things and thrown her out of the house.
She did not go to hospital. They would make her sign some P3 forms and charge him in court with sexual violence. She did not want him jailed. She still loved him so much. She did not want to involve her two young children, so happy with the world, with school. It would have been so fair to disrupt their lives. Thay adored their father and always spoke of him as if he were some super man.
She was still nursing her injuries at her sister’s house in the neighbourhood a week later when he came for her, so remorseful and gentle. Her sister had advised her not to go back to him or pay him any attention and she had sworn that she was through with him. He held her in his arms and apologised profusely as he looked gently into her eyes.
“I am so sorry,” he said as he kissed her and wiped a tear from his face.”I deeply love you. I don’t know what happens to me sometimes, what makes me so stupid. Forgive me for everything. You are the most important thing in my life. I cannot live without you.”
She had melted in his arms, accepted the apology like a good loving wife and sneaked back to their home without informing her sister.
But soon history repeated itself as it very often does and her husband started spending the night out again. So when he had called and said he was coming home early for dinner, she had felt a little excited. When was the last time he had eaten at home? She could not remember. She prepared his favourite dish of chicken stew in boiled potatoes and a huge ugali. She would serve him all the parts he loved; head neck, legs, intestines and his most favourite “Adhiambo S”. She then rushed and changed into an attractive yellow dress and put on some soft Lingala music by Franco. She was psyched for an evening of great romance.
But it was never to be. She sat up with the food until midnight, when the dreadful call came. It was a policeman from Central Police Station asking her to go and identify the body at Chiromo Mortuary. “Madam, are you the wife of Johnson Makutano? He was killed by a Commercial Sex Worker from Koinange Street after he refused to pay her his dues. He died in her arms at a Lodging down River Road. I am sorry!”