Mutuku Mwangangi @PitzPitah
At the foot of Uuni hill in the silent village of Kathama in Masii, Machakos county, Jackline Mwende, a survivor of gender based violence, sits pensively outside her house as she watches her two-year-old son playing.
Gift Safari runs around the compound oblivious to her mother’s inability to use her limbs after her arms were chopped off by her husband of seven years.
Mwende’s story hit the headlines in July 2016 after she claimed her husband assaulted her for being childless, a cruel act that led to the loss of both her arms and a deep panga cut on her forehead.
“My child is a source of joy and every time he runs to me calling my name I get overwhelmed with joy and he keeps me away from reflecting on my life-threatening ordeal two years ago ,” she says.
Mwende admits to have had an extramarital affair that might have led to the battering. She had been dating an undisclosed friend whom they had reached an agreement that he impregnates her then part ways.
With no regrets, Mwende says she has never forgiven her ex-husband, Stephen Nthenge Ngila, saying she is awaiting the outcome of the case which is still before court.
She says that she was trying to save her marriage which had been despised for her being childless. Besides that, she always longed for a child of her own.
Although Ngila denied the attempted murder charges and was released on a Sh200,000 bond, Mwende says she is optimistic that justice will be served.
“I have bumped into him several times in Masii town which brings back painful memories. I have not forgiven him and I believe that justice will be served,” says Mwende.
When her story broke, she received overwhelming support during her recovery journey from well-wishers but few have honoured their pledges.
Some, however, came through for her and today, she lives in a three-bedroom mansion built by Merck Foundation. The foundation also stocked her shop in Masii town which she runs with the help of a relative.
The battery-charged prosthetic arms given by LG Company is no longer in use, because it ran out of power and it can only be replaced in South Korea.
“When I was fitted this artificial hands, they were working well and I could do a lot of work. But now I have to put them on for aesthetic purposes. I cannot afford to take them acquire batteries from South Korea forcing me to remove them most of the time,” says Mwende.
She reveals that apart from working at her shop, she has no social life because most of her friends fled and neighbours seldom want to relate with her.
“I live a life of self-pity and my life has changed a lot. When I look at myself in the mirror, I don’t even recognise myself. I used to be independent but today I am forced to rely on my family members to carry out mundane tasks,” she says.
Despite all her tribulations, Mwende believes the future is bright and looks forward to seeing her son through school. She urges women in abusive relationships to seek help to save their lives.