Saturday, March 17, 2007

Stacey Wanjiru Update

This is Faith, Stacey's baby. You can read Stacey's story on my post of Friday, Dec 15 2006.

Last Wednesday, March 7th 2007, Faith died. She eventually died of severe pneumonia, which developed after her otitis media got worse. The day before she died Stacey sent a desperate text to Cathy, who forwarded it to me, but we were not able to act in time to get her prescription, and she died on oxygen at Coptic Hospital the next day.

This is Stacey's email of the 17th Feb, about the illness:

Happy New (!) year,

Hope you are all well. I am also well and I thank God for the gift of life and friends.

Thank you for your contribution of $440.00. Thanks for making my life and that of my baby comfortable. I know it takes love and the grace of God to sacrifice for others. It is touching because I may never be able to pay you back and so my prayer is that God bless you.

I would like to apologize for the long silence. I was kept busy by some challenges. Faith was taken ill and admitted in two hospitals for fourteen days and then I lost my documents.

My baby was taken ill on and admitted to Ruiru Private Hospital 23rd January 2007. I thought it was malaria. After four days, she had no improvement and she was transferred emergency to the bigger Coptic Hospital in Nairobi. They treated her then it was noticed she had a tremor in the legs and twitching in the hand. They discovered the fontanelle had closed and referred my baby to a neurosurgeon. After the brain CT scan the doctor said Faith should be taken for a follow-up clinic twice a month until she reaches her second birthday to decide if she needs an operation of the head. Please refer to the scan and discharge summary attached.

Though Dr. Musau is one of the best of Kenya’s few neurosurgeons, I am anxious about my baby and wonder if there is newer technology out there that could help to determine and intervene sooner.

During the stay at the hospital I asked the doctor to do a HIV test for my baby. And despite the intense emotions at the time – she is positive –I have accepted her and her status and I still believe there is hope for her.

Sadly, it was while at the hospital that my documents were stolen.

The hospital bill came to Ksh. 75,739.00
Ruiru Private Hospital 7,050
Coptic Hospital 61,189
Brain CT scan 5,500
Dr. Musau Review Clinic 2,000.( for last Tuesday)

I managed to pay part of the bill and I have a debt of Ksh. 25,000.00. I need to raise Ksh.2,000.00 per visit for the twice-a-month review clinic bill, and cost of medication and further tests.

Yesterday, I took her to hospital after I saw pus oozing from her left ear and the doctor treated her. They said it was otitis media. I do not know if it has anything to do with her other conditions.

It seems to be a tough year for my baby but my faith is unshaken.

Please remember me and Faith in your prayers.

May God Bless you.


My sister, may all the stars bless her, came up with the money to pay for the funeral, which was especially expensive as a municipal plot had to be paid for, Stacey's husband refusing to let the baby be buried at home. My friends and I were trying to rustle up a list of 20 people we could ask for £10 each, but it was just such a pressurised situation, and I was in class all day. Stacey is still in debt, abandoned by her husband after the rape, and HIV positive. Any help via would be much appreciated. Stacey's ikobo id is KS168658KE.

I am awed by her love for this baby. Also it's a very beautiful baby! And she looks so healthy, you'd never think she was on the brink of death.

Stacey's text of the 6th made me feel very uncomfortable. "Am stuck with a very sick child with a complicated condition, a prescription and appointments I have no idea how to meet. Please advise me what to do." Why was I holding my phone with one hand, trying to cook and look after my toddler with the other, and providing moral support from the UK to a Kenyan woman I had never met, or at that point even spoken to on the phone? Why was I doing that, why was she so alone, when there was a perfectly healthy and capable man in the same country, who signed on a dotted line that he would stand by her For Better Or Worse???? Or does the marriage contract say nothing of the kind, it's just in the ceremony and thus 'in the spirit of the thing'? Have generations of women been diddled by the church and state? But I'm pretty sure the spirit of a contract can be defended at law.

As marriage is a legal contract, it should be enforceable by law. I called her the evening Faith died, it was nearly 1am in Ruiru and she was just getting home, from Coptic Hospital which is on Ngong Rd. She was all alone! Her baby had just died! She made her way alone by public transport late at night across Nairobi - a hideously dangerous proceeding - and went back to be alone in the house which she had left with her baby that very day. The baby died in her arms. Who was there to take her into theirs when the body was taken away?

If the law is worth anything it should apply to everyone, and it should be possible to sue her husband for breach of contract. You can't just stop standing by the terms of a contract because you don't feel like it. You can't turn round and say, "Hey, I know I signed an agreement with you, but I don't feel like paying you any more rent for this house, so you can go whistle!"

I am told that you can't expect fairness in a patriarchal society. But I thought patriarchy meant the men taking responsibility. My school friends and I are the ones taking the responsibility here.

I end with my sister's comment on this idea, "Interesting thought. An obligation for men to provide support rather than a trap within which women have to put up with abuse."

I'm sure many women walking up the aisle thought that's just what they were getting - we don't abandon ill husbands. We don't expect them to abandon us.

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At Monday, November 12, 2007 , Blogger mona said...

im deeply touched and affected by staceys is sad and so tragic, esp for baby faith.i only hope that God comforts her and somehow she moves forward.what her husband did was horrible and cruel.HIV AIDS is not reason to abandon anyone esp not your so sadened.please keep us updated on her progress .
i lost my aunt and 10 yr old cousin to HIV and my uncle is living with it now, and i know the pain the disease can cause.
may God give strength to all HIV poz people

At Friday, November 16, 2007 , Blogger Mama Wangari said...

It is a terrible disease, and what happened to Stacey is dreadful beyond measure. I'll put the rest of this comment in a post, I think.


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