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VIDEO: My mum died as I prepared to take her to hospital



Until 2015, Olive Burrows was virtually an unknown name, dutifully showing up at her 19th floor Lonrho House work station at Capital FM.

But then US President Barack Obama came visiting and Burrows had the rare opportunity to interview him.

She would later get a call up to join the NTV news anchoring team and has since become a household name.

But beyond the limelight, who is Olive Burrows?

“I was born in Mombasa County, but we moved to Nairobi when I was just a child. At the time my mum was working with Nigerian Airways, and we moved to Nairobi after she got a job with Air Kenya. So I grew up in Nairobi West,” says Burrows.

She schooled at Malezi Preparatory in Lang’ata and later went to Kenya High before she joined Daystar University.

Being an only child raised by her mother, the two developed a strong bond.

“I travelled a lot with my mum. She worked in the airline industry, so I had an opportunity to see a good portion of Kenya,” she adds.

Burrows has fond memories of her childhood as she would spend her holidays in Mombasa with her cousin with whom she is still close.

“Growing up in Mombasa was quite fun, we would have dancing competitions and our older cousins would rank us,” she says.

Burrows, who describes herself as a stickler for rules, says there are very few instances where she got into trouble.

“One time, I was home alone and my family came home later and asked if I went to church that day (it was on a Sunday) and I lied, said I went to church and I didn’t go. I (had) slept in. I was asked who was preaching and I lied, turns out it was not that person. I broke the trust my family had in me,” she offers.

That was not all.

“When I was in college, there was a night my friends and I wanted to go out, so I told my mum we had a campfire, which we did not. I just wanted to go out with my friends. My friend’s sister was at Catholic University, so we went to her room. You know when you are leaving the house, you leave with a nice, long, skirt. It was a wrap-around skirt, and I was to come back home on Sunday morning,” she says.

Underneath the “church” skirt, she wore a mini-skirt.

“So, what we would do is hide our bags behind the DJ’s booth. I had put my wrap-around skirt in my friend’s bag. I don’t know how it happened, but she left before me, without my knowledge. So, here I was on Sunday morning…luckily, I had a shawl, so I used it as a skirt. When I got home my mum was awake, (and) she wondered ‘you left looking one way and you are back home looking a totally different way’ she just knew I had gone out,” Burrows says amid laughter.

Her lowest moment was when her mother died in 2016 as she prepared to take her to the hospital.

“My mum had been unwell, and she came to my place on a Monday. I told her we would go to the hospital on Tuesday. On Tuesday, she told me she wanted to rest. The whole day I just felt off. I got home and found my mum hadn’t eaten. She had slept the whole day, so I forced her to eat. On Wednesday, when I woke up, I found her moving up and down the house. She was saying she was having trouble breathing. So I panicked nikakuwa mkali (I was stern with her) and I told her ‘no, no you can’t talk like that, you need to be strong’,” Burrows recalls.

With her mum unable to breathe, she informed her aunt and cousin, who was on the way to pick them up to go to the hospital.

“We were getting ready for the hospital. I was in the kitchen making tea and I noticed she was quiet. I came out and found her on the sofa, but one look at her face, and I could tell she was having a stroke. So, I screamed, I rushed to the fridge where I had Red Cross numbers, and they told me I was too far away because I was living in Ruaka then,” she says.

Burrows managed to get a St Johns Ambulance, but when the crew arrived and checked her mother’s pulse, “I could see and I could tell she was gone”.


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First man cured of HIV dies of cancer



The first person to be cured of HIV, Timothy Ray Brown — known as the “Berlin Patient” — has died after a battle with cancer, the International Aids Society (IAS) announced Wednesday.

Brown made medical history and became a symbol of hope for the tens of millions of people living with the virus that causes AIDS when he was cured more than a decade ago.

He had been living with a recurrence of leukaemia for several months and received hospice care at his home in Palm Springs, California.

“On behalf of all its members… the IAS sends its condolences to Timothy’s partner, Tim, and his family and friends,” said IAS President Adeeba Kamarulzaman.

“We owe Timothy and his doctor, Gero Hutter, a great deal of gratitude for opening the door for scientists to explore the concept that a cure for HIV is possible.”

Brown was diagnosed with HIV while was studying in Berlin in 1995. A decade later, he was diagnosed with leukaemia, a cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow.

To treat his leukaemia, his doctor at the Free University of Berlin used a stem cell transplant from a donor who had a rare genetic mutation that gave him natural resistance to HIV, hoping it may wipe out both diseases.

It took two painful and dangerous procedures, but it was a success: in 2008 Brown was declared free of the two ailments, and was initially dubbed “the Berlin Patient” at a medical conference to preserve his anonymity.

Two years later, he decided to break his silence and went on to become a public figure, giving speeches and interviews and starting his own foundation.

“I am living proof that there could be a cure for AIDS,” he told AFP in 2012. “It’s very wonderful, being cured of HIV.”


Ten years after Brown was cured, a second HIV sufferer — dubbed “the London Patient” — was revealed to be in remission 19 months after undergoing a similar procedure.

The patient, Adam Castillejo, is currently HIV-free. In August a California woman was reported to have no traces of HIV despite not using anti-retroviral treatment.

It is thought she may be the first person to be cured of HIV without undergoing the risky bone marrow treatment.

Sharon Lewin, president-elect of the IAS and director of the Doherty Institute in Melbourne, Australia, praised Brown as a “champion and advocate” of a cure for HIV.

“It is the hope of the scientific community that one day we can honour his legacy with a safe, cost-effective and widely accessible strategy to achieve HIV remission and curs using gene edition or techniques that boost immune control,” she said.


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Madaraka Express resumes full service



All is set for the resumption of a second Nairobi-Mombasa passenger train, with the first locomotive expected to leave the capital city on October 1 at 2.15pm.

In a notice, Madaraka Express operator Afristar said standard gauge railway (SGR) passenger train services will resume following the lifting of partial transport restrictions in Nairobi and Mombasa by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The firm released a new schedule for the trains that shuttle between the two counties.

KR has been operating two passenger trains between Nairobi and Mombasa, but from Thursday, it will operate four.

SGR passenger services resumed operations in July, a week after President Kenyatta relaxed measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

Afristar will now have trains leaving Nairobi and Mombasa at the same time in the morning and two other trains leaving in the afternoon.

Morning trains from the two cities will depart at 8.00am, with one train departing from the Nairobi terminus for Mombasa and vice versa.

Thereafter, two other trains will depart Mombasa and Nairobi at 2.15pm.

The train services will be operating under strict coronavirus protocols.

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the SGR will operate at 50 per cent capacity, with an extra coach for isolation.

To facilitate the smooth resumption of services, Afristar has deployed 10 coaches, including eight economy and two first-class coaches.

This is in line with Mr Macharia’s statement that 10 coaches should be provided to ferry close to 600 passengers on a one-way trip.

Additionally, all customer-facing employees must wear masks and gloves.

As of this morning, all passenger service staff serving customers have tested negative for Covid-19.

SGR passenger services were suspended back in April after President Kenyatta announced the cessation of movement into and out of the Nairobi Metropolitan Area, Mombasa County and Mandera County.

On Monday, the Head of State announced an extension of the daily dusk-to-dawn curfew for an additional 60 days.

He, however, adjusted the curfew time from 9pm to 11pm with the new directives taking effect on Tuesday, September 29.


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Man accused of sodomising minor attacks magistrate for the second time



A man accused of sodomising a three and half-year-old boy on Wednesday turned violent in court and attempted to attack the magistrate.

Ismael Mustafa for the second time turned violent and attempted to attack Chief Magistrate Edna Nyaloti prompting her to run out of the court.

He had previously, in early September 2020, charged towards the magistrate while she was busy writing down proceedings forcing the shaken magistrate to scamper for safety even leaving her shoes behind.

Nyaloti was making a ruling on whether Mustafa has a case to answer. She later forgave him and the trial continued.

“Cuff him, this is the second time he is turning violent and attempting to attack me,” said the Chief Magistrate.

It took the intervention of the court orderlies and prison officers to contain Mustafa who turned aggressive towards the magistrate.

The officers wrestled him down to the floor and cuffed him before marching him out of the courts.

Nyaloti was forced to retreat to her chambers in fear of her safety after Mustafa started to charge towards her.

It is alleged that on February 16, 2019, at Bangladesh area in Jomvu, he sodomised XY- a child aged three and a half years.

He denied the charges and was released on a bond of  Sh200, 000 with a similar surety.

Repeated offence

According to police records, Mustafa had been previously charged with sodomising another minor and was sentenced but later was acquitted by the High Court upon appeal.

Today, other court matters were forced to adjourn to allow the prison officers to escort him out of the court.

Mustafa had on several occasions become arrogant and interrupted the court proceedings.

Despite the magistrate listening to his rants and complaints without interruption, the accused became adamant, was dissatisfied and decided to turn violent.

He demanded to have his charges read to him afresh and said that when the charge sheet was amended, it was not read to him as he demanded to have the matter started afresh.

Nyaloti laboured to explain that the court record indicated that the charges were read to him by the prosecution once the charges were amended.

However, Mustafa insisted that he wanted the matter transferred to another court and demanded that the magistrate determines whether he has a case to answer or not.

“Your honour there is no need for you to proceed with the ruling. I have no faith in your court and want you to transfer the matter before another court. I want the high court to decide on this matter because I feel justice is not being done,” said Mustafa.

Mustafa declined to allow the magistrate to make a ruling and said that he won’t ever attend the court until he is allocated another court.

Mustafa proceeded to utter abusive and unprintable language in court and swore that he will not come back to court ever.

The magistrate had given him time in the last trial to file his application before the high court to have the matter determined afresh.

“I have no objection if you want to file your application before the high court to have the matter transferred to another court but meanwhile the case will proceed before me until you get an order stating otherwise,” said Nyaloti.


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