Ms Katee recounted the problems she faced after her father married another wife, sometimes fending for herself at a tender age.

“My step-mother was very cruel to us. I was in nursery school and our last born was nine months old. We struggled to make ends meet because my father remarried and we could not get basic items,” recounted Ms Katee who is now the assistant chief of Mwambui Sub-Location in Mwingi.

Her hope of ever meeting her mother waned after she failed to attend the burial of her grandparents (Wanza’s parents) and of close relatives.

“I religiously attended the burials hoping that she would appear. I eventually lost hope of ever finding her after my grandmother (Wanza’s mother) died and she did not attend the burial. In my heart, I had the conviction that she had died. I kept asking my church to dedicate a prayer so that I could have a revelation if my mother was dead or alive,” said Ms Mwikali.

NO CLUE

Seeking closure, the family kept pushing her former husband to reveal where Wanza was but he had no clue.

At one point, the family reported the husband to the police suspecting he may have killed her and disposed off the body.

However, they breathed a sigh of relief after her sons arrived from Meru and announced that she was indeed alive.

During the weekend event, Wanza appeared relieved, as if she had finally put down a heavy load.

But she remained pensive and would not reveal what made her take the extreme action of leaving behind her children.

Ms Wanza and her children

Ms Wanza (3rd left) poses for a photo after reuniting with her children in Gankere village, Meru County on August 11, 2019. PHOTO | CHARLES WANYORO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

RAN AWAY

However, Pastor Kiriinya said her mother, a staunch Christian, was running away from the marriage after clan elders forced her husband to inherit his brother’s widow.

Her resistance saw her subjected to constant insults and beatings and there was speculation she may have been bewitched.

It is then that one early morning, after feeding her three children, she took her donkeys pretending she was going to the river to fetch water.

STRENGTHEN BOND

She abandoned the donkeys and fled on foot towards Mulika, where she eventually met Mr Kirima whom she married.

During the emotional get-together, the families promised to strengthen their bond and forget the past.

“I had wounds in my heart because my father had died and my mother was at an advanced age. I am glad that eventually we have known the truth about her roots. It is not good for parents to keep such sensitive matters secret,” said Pastor Kiriinya.

“I am happy that this has happened. I want this to be written in my eulogy that I went to Ukambani to trace where my mother came from,” he concluded.

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