A grandmother unable to give her grandchild a final send off – Standing together with Caren Achieng

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It is every child’s dream to grow up and become someone great. It’s their dream to grow up and have the power to change the society in one way or the other. It’s even a greater dream come true when the parents or guardians are there to see it. The fruits of their hard work and tremendous sacrifice. But what happens when that dream is cut short?

17 year old Berretah Reri had such a dream. To one day become an unstoppable force of change to the world around her. This was however cut short on Tuesday the 9th of February this year where she breathed her last on a hospital bed at the Nairobi Women’s Hospital, Adams Branch. Berretah was a form three student at Mbagathi View Academy and while they were on a school academic trip in Loitoktok, Kajiado County in October 2015, she was apparently bitten by a poisonous spider.

Berretah

When she returned from the trip, she began to feel ill. Her condition deteriorated rapidly and she was admitted at the Nairobi Women’s Hospital, Ongata Rongai on October 13, 2015. Doctors tried hard to save her life and at one point had recovered well only for her to relapse.

She left behind a bill of Kshs 2, 582,082.80.

News of her death devastated her aging grandmother who had willingly given her all to raise Berretah with the help of a few relatives after Berretah’s mother died when she was a toddler.

It has been more than three months since Berretah succumbed to her illness but her grandmother’s burden continues to grow bigger. It was her desire to collect Berretah’s remains and give her a dignified sendoff at the Langata Cemetery. But the Hospital won’t allow her, and with good reason. The bill remains unpaid and the poor granny can’t even begin to think where the money will come from. Since her granddaughter’s death, she has approached a number of people and institutions hoping to find a solution but her efforts have only yielded empty promises. The grandmother says some people have told her to let the hospital deal with it since Berretah is dead, anyway. But she simply can’t let go. If no one will pay the bill, she hopes Nairobi Women’s Hospital will have the grace to write off the bill and hand over Berretah’s body to her.

Her appeal is simply to have the body of her grandchild to bury.

Every year, many patients remain detained in hospital due to uncleared hospital bills and every year, more and more Kenyans struggle with the never-ending heartache of leaving their loved ones either in hospital wards – alone and distressed about when they will finally leave the dilapidated whitewashed walls of that room – or worse still, with their loved ones remains in the hospital morgue.

Caren Achieng, Berretah Reri’s grandmother, has unfortunately been put in such a circumstance. She gave up everything to raise little Berretah, and all she has left is long days and nights where her heart and soul are being tormented at the brink of defeat. She will not have the chance to see Berretah grow up to become a positive force of change in her society. She however only wants to make sure that her granddaughter is peacefully laid to rest.

You don’t need loads of cash to help. That 500 bob in your M-Pesa can help. That 1K set aside for drinks with your buddies will go a long way. Any amount that you may have will mean a lot.

Join us today in helping the lovely Caren Achieng by sending any amount you have to the M-Pesa Paybill number 718186 with the name Berretah.

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