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Covid-19 hits deaf Olympian hard, but Moraa promises to bounce back

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In the hills of Metembe in Masimba, Kisii County, stands a house.

As we enter its compound, Mary Kwamboka welcomes us warmly and directs us inside.

The derelict homestead is not the place we thought we would find Deaflympics bronze medalist Juster Moraa.

But as it turns out, this is where the 20-year-old resides with her widowed mother, Mary, and her twin sister.

The house is incomplete, devoid of doors and windows. A shocking living condition for a champion like Juster.

Inside the house, it is cold although it’s almost noon. The roof is made of iron sheets fixed on rafters that are visible as there is no ceiling. In the sitting room are four

worn-out sofas arranged rectangularly. “Our grass thatched hut was falling to pieces and we had to seek refuge in our neighbour’s house hoping to complete ours. We overstayed our welcome and our neighbour got tired of us and we had no option but to move into the incomplete house,” explains Mary.

Juster Moraa with her mother Mary Nyokabi at home in Metembe, Kisii County and (above) with her athletics honours certificate.

Breakthrough year

Juster, who is seated next to us, picks up from her mother and starts giving us her story, her athletics journey; writing it all down as we could not understand sign language.

“I started running right from primary school but 2017, during the Samsun 23rd Summer Deaflympics, was my breakthrough year internationally. I won bronze in the 10,000m race and I was very excited,” she writes.

Juster said she used the money she got from the competition to build her mother a house. “We bought bricks, cement and other materials and erected an eight-roomed house. However, the money got depleted before the house was complete. I was nevertheless optimistic because I had more races coming. One of them was a Safaricom-sponsored marathon in Kericho which I won and received Sh100,000,” she recalls.

But Sh100,000 was not enough, and after completing the roof, the money was over and they were unable to buy doors and windows, hence the current state of affairs.

Juster’s mother says her daughter has done well nationally and internationally but there is little to show for her success with many wondering why they are living in abject poverty.

“They always ask me where I take the money Juster makes from her races. But what they don’t know is that many times, the money does not get into Juster’s account. For example last year September, Juster was promised over Sh1 million if she won the Africa Deaf Athletics Championship title. During the competition which was held here in Nairobi, she was alone in her race and she was declared champion. However, we’re yet to see the money she was promised. We only got Sh.50,000 in her account and a certificate of participation.”

Mary, 46, is now pleading with the organisers to honour the agreement, adding that the little Juster get from her wins is mostly used up in her trips.

“Being deaf, Juster needs me to accompany her to various places in the country. But I’m not that exposed nor am I educated. This means we have to look for the services of a third person who guides us and we have to cater for his/her transport, food and accommodation. All these require a lot of money, money which I have to borrow. So after the race, we pay off the debts and we’re left with nothing despite her winning.”

Despite all this, the Form Four student at Gianchere Special School, promises never to give up on her career as she desires to change her family’s fortunes.

Future is bright

“Even though Covid-19 has hit me hard, I am not out. I am talented and that has seen me win many titles and races, right from primary school. I am optimistic my

future is bright and I am looking at achieving more because God is planning great things for me,” said a cheery Juster, before making a passionate call to the government and well-wishers.

“I am a girl who is deaf but with a heavy burden on my shoulders. When you look at our family and the small piece of land we have, you’ll realise it’s difficult to sub- divide it among six siblings. I wish to be independent and own a piece of land and build a good house that I can call my own home when finally I retire from athletics. However, with things being what they are at the moment, I’m not sure of my future. I win races but there’s no money to show for it. I, therefore, wish the government or any good person willing can help me,” appealed Juster. Even with the challenges, Juster is selfless. She uses the little cash she gets to pay school fees for her twin sister, Winnie Kwamesa, who is also an athlete and a mother of a five months-old baby.

Like other athletes, Juster has not been spared by the effects of Covid-19. She had planned to take part in this year’s World Deaf Athletics Championships as well as marathons scheduled for Kisii, Kericho and Mombasa, but this has not been possible.

Surprisingly, Juster does not have a professional trainer. She only trains by herself every morning and evening in anticipation of future competitions.

“My greatest challenge is lack of proper planning because I don’t have a calender of events. I wake up daily knowing I am practicing to compete.

Mine is to wake up daily, train hoping to be called to a competition. It’s difficult to train alone and with no specific goal and race in mind. If we could have yearly scheduled events which I wake up knowing, say in 2021, I have races here and there, then you can see better results from me,” says Juster, whose wish is to get a professional trainer.

Instinct and talent

“I just rely on my own instinct and talent. I am told other athletes have a way of adjusting and accelerating during races but for me I just use energy from start to finish. I don’t have the technical expertise to approach different races and I think this is another reason why my best is yet to be seen.”

Juster adds that with no races due to the pandemic, she is unable to eat the nutritious food required of an athlete because of lack of money. “Fresh milk is my favourite, especially when I’m planning to run or train. But now I’m unable to afford the food because of lack of money.”

Asked if she is aware about the recent government stimulus package to cushion vulnerable athletes like her from the harsh economy occasioned by the pandemic, the young athlete said she has no clue.

“I’m not aware of the programme. We don’t have a radio or television to learn about such opportunities. Deaf Athletics Association of Kenya have never contacted me and I have not received anything. It’s surprising that such programmes happen and we’re not informed or get to benefit despite the genuineness of our condition,” bemoaned Juster.

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PHOTOS: Akothee’s brother breaks down during his late wife’s final send off

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Akothee and her family are currently in mourning after losing their sister in law; who was married to Akothee’s younger brother, Allan Ignatius.

Judging from the posts shared by Akothee, the mother of 5 avoided mentioning what occurred to her late sister in law; however she went on to celebrate her for being more than a friend but a sister.

Although we may not know what Allan is going through; Akothee went on to share some special message comforting him after losing the love of his life. Akothee went on to write;

Also read:

Asemwomo piny ,kiny an Kodi boda busia kanyo , I would not know what to do with you and the kids , I am here in bed in kisumu with your mom and your entire family ,ready to meet and receive you bro 🙏Be strong for us 💪@allanignatiuskokeyo AWUORO THOOOOOOO 🙏

Send off

Anyway, after keeping the funeral as private as possible; singer Akothee has gone ahead to share a few photos from the funeral on her page. Of course Allan who is currently struggling to get into terms with the fact that his wife is no more.

Judging from the photos, he indeed had nothing but sorrow written all over his face; but all in all his support system continues to hold his hand through this hard time. We from the Ghafla team send our heartfelt condolesence to the family during this hard time.

Akothees sister in law laid to rest

Allans wife laid to rest

BY GHAFLA

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Uhuru’s adopted son Daniel Owira says he nearly left school after becoming rich

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Daniel Owira aka Otonglo time, saw his life change in the blink of an eye back when he was in high school.

After delivering a grand performance during drama festivals, he was quickly branded as the president’s son by none other than Uhuru Kenyatta.

Several years later, the young actor told NTV he nearly dropped out of school after becoming rich.

A year after Uhuru had offered to pay for his school fees, Owira joined university and as days went by, his pockets and bank account became heavier.

He was earning cash he had never touched before and did not know what to do with all the wealth he was accumulating.

“I will not lie to you, at first year no one really knows what to do with a lot of money. I was getting sponsorships and gigs and did not know what to do with all the cash,” he said.

Even after boosting his mother’s business, providing her with pocket money and furnishing her house, Owira still had escess money he did not know how to put to use.

For a moment, the entertainer considered giving up on education and focussing on his successful career.

Luckily, Uhuru’s “son” chose to finish his academic journey and put to bed any irrational thoughts that crossed his mind.

Uhuru's adopted son Daniel Owira says he nearly left school after becoming rich

Daniel Owira back when he was in campus. Photo: Daniel Owira
Source: Instagram

As previously reported, Uhuru had promised to take care of Owira’s education up to university level.

While committing to take care of his school fees, Uhuru Kenyatta referred to Owira as one of his sons, of course figuratively.

Daniel Owira had plans to pursue a broadcast journalism in future, apparently to utilise his amazing oratory skills as evidenced by his Otonglo narrative.

By Tuko.co.ke

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I was violently mugged at a well-lit street in Nairobi

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On Friday night, I lost my precious wristwatch and my utterly worthless cellphone to muggers at a well-lit street in the Nairobi city centre.

I was heading home from work at about 8.30 pm when a gang of five hoodlums pounced on me along Aru Lane, which is a stone’s throw away from Mfangano Street where I usually board my matatu.

They swiftly cut me off my route, boxed me into a tight corner and relieved me of whatever valuables I had on me.

The guy who initially accosted me – he must have been the ringleader – had threatened to draw a gun and shoot me if I tried anything stupid.

He had both hands in his pockets, so I couldn’t tell whether he had a gun or not, but I didn’t want to take any chances.

As this guy, who was in a greyish hoodie, and his accomplice flanked me on both sides, I took a quick backwards glance and noticed two heavyset fellows closing in. By the time I shifted my gaze forward, yet another menacing figure had sprung from nowhere.

I quickly realised I was cornered and outnumbered.

In that moment, I knew it was no use trying to fight these guys off. Not even the hard-tackling tight-head prop from my rugby-playing days would save me.

I wasn’t ready to become part of the city’s grim crime statistics of those who have been maimed, or had worse things done to them by muggers.

I meekly surrendered to their demands.

The whole incident barely lasted a minute, but in the brief moment I was held hostage in that corner, my mind raced to my wife and two young kids waiting for me at home.

Mercifully, I got through the ordeal unscathed and later got home to a warm hug from my three-year-old son.

I recounted my harrowing experience to my shell-shocked household. It wasn’t until hours later that we partook our evening meal.

Dangerous streets

I’ve since fully recovered from that experience, having had some good rest over the weekend.

When I shared my story with a close relative, he also recounted a similar mugging incident that happened on a Sunday evening at the junction of Mama Ngina Street and Kimathi Street.

Unlike me, this brother attempted to be a hero and nearly paid for it with his life.

In the middle of an ill-advised scuffle with his assailants, one of the muggers drew a knife and swung it at his abdomen. He quickly ducked, and the knife only grazed his thigh.

On seeing that their would-be victim wasn’t going down without a fight, the three thugs quickly vanished into an adjacent alley.

In retrospect, he says, he would not have tried to fight back.

That is what the streets of Nairobi have become; crowded places, bustling with human and car traffic by day but which become extremely dangerous at nightfall.

ATM machines that dot the exterior parts of many banking halls in the CDB are particularly risky places to visit in the evenings, especially when streets are deserted.

So too are alleys and backstreets, including Ngamia Lane and Tausi Lane, on either side of Nation Centre.

My priceless wristwatch is gone, but I thank God I lived to tell the tale – and write a story – of my encounter with Nairobi’s ruthless muggers.

The writer is an online Sub-editor at Nation Media Group 

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