Baraka Karama @PeopleDailyKe
Fate, destiny, providence…what do you believe in? For Fred Atonga, it’s all got to do with God’s plans, miracles —and a bit of luck.
“It’s the only way to explain why I am alive today and my nephew, Nicholas Vulasho, isn’t,” he said.
Atonga was to travel with Nicholas on the same bus on Wednesday for the burial of his brother in Vihiga but there was an impromptu change of plans.
“I decided to go ahead so travelled on Monday so that I could assist in my brother’s burial arrangements and coordinate moving of the body from the mortuary,” he said.
Nicholas, 33, then agreed to link up with a cousin, Kasline Mudika, for the eight-hour journey to Mukingi village, Sabatia constituency where his father Zablon Masulungo was to be laid to rest.
But the bus Kasline was booked in was already full and Nicholas had to seek an alternative.“There were just two seats left in my bus and since he was travelling with his young family, he boarded the Homeboyz bus which had more space,” Kasline says.
The two were in constant communication as they left Nairobi for Vihiga.“I arrived in Kisumu a few minutes past 5am and inquired where he was. He told me he was approaching Londiani and we agreed to meet in Mbale,” she says.
At Mbale, she called but his line was not going through. “I called his wife’s number but it was also unreachable. By eight o’clock, I was worried that all might not be well. Then news of a crash involving the Homeboyz bus started streaming in and sent us into a panic,” she says.
Nicholas elder brother Kennedy Vulasho together with other family members rushed to Kericho District Hospital mortuary where they confirmed the unthinkable. The bodies of Nicholas, his wife Roselyne Vuhasho and two children— Audesi Masurunza, 7, and Rashid Oganda, 1, —were among 50 others whose life had been cut short in an instant of horror.
Inside their homestead, the golden brown casket bearing Mzee Masulungo’s body was placed on a table besides his grass-thatched house.
The clergy who had come to preside over his burial ceremony remained drowned in deep thought. Others spared their time to seek divine intervention as villagers struggled to comprehend the tragedy that had befallen them.
Atonga stood at a corner with close family members murmuring in low tones. The burial was finally postponed to accord time for a reorganisation.
He says, “I don’t know what is happening. My brother just collapsed and died. He was not sick. Now his son is also dead. We will have to bury him first then make arrangement for another burial,” said Atonga.
And in yet another case of double tragedy, another family in Shinyalu lost three members while traveling to bury another. Mzee Joshua Luseno lost his son, his daughter-in-law and a grandson.
Caleb Mukoshi, 27, his wife Lucy Kemunto, 26, and their son Zedekiah Ambani, 5, were to attend the funeral of an uncle Jacob Shilosio in Navangala, Shinyalu when they all perished in the tragic accident.
Atonga called on the government to be strict on motorists flouting traffic rules. “Most of these drivers speed because they want to make many trips. They don’t even have time to rest because all they want is to make more money,” he said.