Because every cloud has a silver lining, a woman who boiled stones on the pretext of cooking food for her starving children is having her life completely transformed.
Thanks to well-wishers and women leaders in Mombasa, Peninah Bahati Kitsao, 36, is set to be relocated to a better house and her children taken to school.
Mombasa Woman Representative Asha Mohamed and other leaders visited the widowed mother of eight on Friday and decided her security was no longer guaranteed.
Ms Bahati’s husband, Kaingu Charo, was killed by thugs in Mariakani, last June, leaving her to fend for children on her own. After the media highlighted her story, wellwishers have been donating food, household goods and cash. It is for this reason that her security has been deemed paramount.
Two police officers have been deployed to her house to guard her day and night.
Ms Asha added that Bahati will also be trained so she could best manage her newfound wealth.
“We have assessed her situation and realised she needs a lot of change. First, we want to counsel her so that she can live with her newfound fame and money,” the Mombasa Woman Rep said.
“We have to take her from this environment to another environment where she is not known because of her security.”
Bahati’s children, who have been living in the streets, will also be counseled.
“Her children, most of whom dropped out of school, have been scavenging dumpsites and doing odd jobs trying to get food on the table,” Asha said.
A bursary kitty from the Woman Representative’s office will be used to take all of them back to school. The highest educated dropped out of school at Class Seven.
The Woman Rep also said Bahati has received enough food to last her family for a year. Tears of joy in my eyes.
And that’s not all. Her current two-room house will be renovated and rented out so she can earn from it. More tears in my eyes.
Nominated MCA Milka Moraa and Muhuri gender officer Topister Juma added that Nahati will undergo family planning sessions so she can better manage her fertility.
They observed that Bahati’s age and fertility could attract predatory men who would be out to take advantage of her newfound wealth.
“Men from her husband’s side who chased her away now want to inherit her. This will not happen,” Asha said.
Bahati’s eldest son is about 20 years old while the youngest is only four months old.
She describes the help she has been getting as a “miracle”, saying: “I didn’t believe that Kenyans can be so loving. I have been receiving phone calls from all over the country asking how they might be of help.”
I suppose she wasn’t named Bahati for nothing.