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Man Who Disappeared 45 Years Ago Forced To Reunite With Family Due To Coronavirus

Man Who Disappeared 45 Years Ago Forced To Reunite With Family Due To Coronavirus

Kenyan man identified as Ayieta Ezekiel disappeared from his Nyangoge home in Nyamira at the age of 25 and ever since, no one knew his whereabouts, until a week ago, when he returned home aged 70.

His return was not voluntary though. Ayieta was forced to go home because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

For the 45 years that Ayieta lived in Central Kenya, he never communicated with his family. His parents and kin had long forgotten about him.

He had officially earned himself the title of ‘Omonyamwaka‘, a label for men who went away and forgot about their families. Men whose whereabouts are not well known.

“We had forgotten about him and as his kinsmen, we had assumed he may have died in the forest and animals had feasted on him,” said Bishop Kennedy Changamu, his nephew, who was only 10 years old when Ayieta left home.

Ayieta’s story is akin to that of the biblical prodigal son, who had moved from home to seek a better life away, only to end up a beggar. But in contrast, Ayieta never sought inheritance from his father, who was then a chief.

Ayieta, together with five other young men embarked on a journey to explore Mount Kenya forest for timber business. However, things didn’t go as planned.

The other four are now dead and only he can tell their stories.

After 10 years of working as a lumberjack, Ayieta was driven out of the job by powerful sawmills that used to rip planks of wood with high efficiency.

He moved to Tigania and Mikinduri, where he worked in farms for a living. But he has had enough.

A week ago, without notice, he just appeared in Nyangoge village in Nyamira looking sickly. The frail old man seems to have struggled with hunger and disease.

Only his nephew, Bishop Changamu, could identify him. Many others took off on seeing him, believing he was a ghost.

His younger brother, Jackson Ouru, who was aged 3 when he left home thought the old man was a stranger who had strayed into the village and even questioned his mental stability.

“I found four young men, who didn’t want to greet me because they thought I was an intruder. I was saddened because my youngest brother, whom I recognized very well, disowned me, until when Changamu identified me,” Ayieta said.

“I spent sleepless nights at Mikinduri, but I found a Samaritan who took me in. The thought of my parents, brothers and sisters always haunted me,” he said.

But it was the thought of succumbing to Covid-19 miles from his home that worried him the most.

The Samaritan, whom he refers as  John, facilitated his journey from Mikinduri to Nairobi and onward to Nyamira.

“I have been weakened by disease and lack of food. God took me to John, who helped me out,” he said.

A mix of patches of healed and fresh septic wounds on his legs tell the story of suffering the old man has gone through.

His wife and two daughters abandoned him when he became too sick.

“I had no alternative but to find my own family to bury me in case I die,” he said.

Ayieta has no heir to his village land, which has remained intact over the years.

“Traditionally, a male family member who went away and his whereabouts are unknown must get a portion of his land and it remains his until the clan decides otherwise,” Bishop Changamu said.

As they wind up their week-long celebration over their kin’s return, the family is considering building him a house.

Source: Standard Media

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