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Bureti family at a loss following death of loved ones

A section of the open quarry in Kusumek village within Bureti sub-county, Kericho County with a pool of stagnant water. Several pools of static waters can be found at the quarry. Photo by KNA.
Two elderly men standing at the edges of a rock boulder armed with their pick axes hitting the huge stone while fragments of small stones fell down below at an open quarry at Kusumek village in Bureti sub-county, Kericho.Photo by KNA.

The 16-year-old Form Three student who was buried alive while digging for soil at an open quarry in Kusumek village four days ago is being buried  on Monday.

However, her family is yet to come to terms with the death coming so soon after her cousin, who succumbed to cancer of the muscles, passed away on the same date two months ago.

The deceased, a student at Saset Girls Secondary School in Bomet sub-county, succumbed to her injuries at Kapkatet sub-county in Bureti where police rushed her for treatment.

Confirming the incident, the Bureti Sub-County Police Commander, Felician Nafula said that at the time of the tragedy, the minor was in the company of her 15-year-old sister with whom they had gone to the area to collect soil to use in plastering their parents’ house. The sister survived the unpleasant incident.

The open quarry is some 2km away from the home of the deceased.

When KNA visited their home on Friday, a sombre mood engulfed the homestead with more than 30 villagers and relatives seated quietly listening to a sermon from their local church pastor.

The mourners were however careful to observe social distancing as per Ministry of Health recommendation to keep the coronavirus at bay.

In an interview with KNA, an uncle to the deceased Mzee Reuben Tinet said the family was saddened by the deaths and was grappling with the coincidence since his 10-year-old son succumbed on the same date, March 14, after losing his battle with cancer.

“This is very distressing to our family. My 10-year-old boy died two months ago on March 14, the same date Sharon died. My son had been ailing from cancer for a long time,” he said.

Tinet narrated that on the fateful day, the family woke up, had breakfast together with the deceased, and were preparing to attend to their normal chores of picking tea at the family’s tea plantation.

He said that as time dragged on to around 10am, no one had showed signs of intending to walk to the tea plantation saying this was unusual because as early as 8am, they would all be busy plucking tea.

“We had this lazy feeling which was unusual because we embark on our tea picking duty immediately after our breakfast,” he added.

Mzee Tinet added that at around 10am, he received a phone call from an unknown number with the caller telling him to rush to the open quarry as two girls had fallen into a hole.

“I got a phone call from a number I did not know. The caller at the end of the line instructed that we get our vehicle to the quarry as their two children had fallen into a hole. We got the vehicle but one kilometre away, the car stalled. We checked the vehicle and we started our journey again. On arrival at the scene, I started crying when I saw my niece being pulled out to the police vehicle. I also saw her sister Faith being rescued by wananchi. We rushed her to AIC mission hospital and later took her for better treatment to Tenwek hospital. After some waiting, we were told that Sharon had passed on,” added Tinei.

A sister to the deceased, a Form two student at Laboso Girls’ secondary school in Bomet was all full of praise that God had answered her prayers to save her soul.

When speaking to KNA at the family’s homestead, the 15-year-old minor who was cheery and in good spirits said at the time of the incident, she was watching her sister digging out soil from a five feet hole when she saw stones and soil falling above them.

“My sister was on top while I was below. Stones fell on me but I saw my sister covered with stones and soil. I was there for 30 minutes. I prayed to God to save me as I was screaming for help despite my entire face and body being covered in soil. People came to assist me and I was rushed too AIC Litein mission hospital then later to Tenwek hospital where I was given an injection and I am now well,” she added.

She revealed that her sister had on Wednesday and Thursday during their activities at home spoken of her death something she regrets having brushed off.

“My sister often in our conversations on Wednesday and on Thursday the day she passed on would utter this in Kiswahili language “Mungu akifika saa hii hakuna kitu ataweza kanifanyia, anipeleke tu,” (“If God came at this minute, there is nothing he can do for me, he will just take me”), she added.

Bernard Tinet, father to the deceased, was too distraught to talk. With tears welling in his eyes, he said the tragedies at the home had left unanswered questions.

“We pray to God to give us strength. I cannot even talk these deaths on similar dates cannot be comprehended. Any assistance will be highly appreciated,” said he said.

When KNA visited the open quarry, groups of children were washing clothes from water leaking out of one of the huge rock while others sat near the open pools of water chatting away.

We also spotted two elderly men standing at the edges of a rock boulder armed with their pick axes hitting the huge stone while fragments of small stones fell down below a few meters from the seated children.

In an interview with KNA, the area Chemosit ward MCA, William Soy said the open quarry ought to be fenced as it posed a great danger to children and adults alike.

He also urged parents to keep a watchful eye over their children, now that they were at home following the government directive to shut down all schools and higher education learning institutions to reduce the danger of spreading the corona virus.

“The quarry poses a great danger not only to grown people but also children. To avoid tragic incidents, the quarry ought to be fenced. I urge parents to ensure their children are safe. With this Covid-19 pandemic, they ought to ensure their children are safe and not allow them to visit the quarry site,” said MCA.

By  Sarah  Njagi

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