The Kenyan population has been moved by the image of a widow who lives in extreme poverty and reached such a difficult situation that she decided to boil rocks to make her eight children believe that she was preparing food for them.
Peninah Bahati Kitsao lives in Mombasa and worked washing clothes until restrictions on movement due to the coronavirus pandemic prevented her from continuing to receive that income and now it is very difficult for her to find another job.
One of her neighbours alerted the media to her case and managed a huge donation campaign for the 45-year-old woman who is raising her eight children alone.
After being interviewed by the NTV network in Kenya, the widow has received money thanks to a phone line and a bank account that her neighbour opened for her because she cannot read or write.
Kitsao is kept in a two-room house without running water or electricity and has described the generosity of Kenyans as “a miracle”. “I didn’t think they could be so loving after receiving calls from all over the country asking me how they could be of help,” he told the Tuko news portal.
The woman said that despair had caused her to put rocks in a pot of water while waiting for the children to fall asleep believing they would eat when they woke up. But he explained to NTV that his hungry children had not been long fooled by his delayed tactics of cooking the stones.
” They started to tell me that they knew I was lying to them, but that I couldn’t do anything because I had nothing,” Kitsao said in the television report that made a huge impact on the Kenyan audience. Her neighbour had gone to see if the family was okay after hearing the children cry, NTV added.
As part of measures to protect the most vulnerable from the coronavirus crisis, the government has launched a feeding program. But the benefit has not yet come to Kitsao, who was widowed last year when her husband was killed by a criminal gang.
At the same time, Kitsao’s story of despair coincided with the revelation that the Kenyan Ministry of Health has spent huge sums of money – donated by the World Bank to respond to the pandemic – on tea, snacks and mobile phone cards for your staff.
Kenya registered its first case of coronavirus on March 12 and since then, according to WHO data, it has recorded 374 infections and 14 deaths.
Last Sunday, the Government of Kenya announced that it was extending the closure of schools due to the coronavirus for a month. Schools were closed in mid-March, at which time programs were launched to teach through radio and television programs. That announcement came a day after Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta extended the curfew in the capital Nairobi for another 21 days.