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Man reunited with family after 50 years

It was tears of joy in Riwa village in Homa Bay Sub-County after an 80-year-old man who had gone missing for 50 years suddenly returned home.

The octogenarian identified as Joseph Odongo left home after he allegedly disagreed with his brother in 1972.

However, he appeared at the local Chief’s office last week tracing back his roots.

West Kanyada Location Chief Kenneth Achieng said the old man walked into his office seeking help to trace his roots.

The Chief was able to trace his relatives but no one below 60 years could recognise him but some had only heard about his story.

Mr Odongo said his decision to vanish from home started when he disagreed with his brother who is now deceased.

He said that on the day he disappeared, he claimed that he was going to Sikri beach which is located a few kilometers from his home but instead moved to Mombasa.

After years of futile searching, his family ruled that he might have died.

His sister-in-law Matasia Akelo, now aged 90 said she however had a feeling that Odongo was alive adding that she always prayed that Mr Odongo would come back home.

“I had a strong feeling that he was not dead,” Ms Akelo said.

Mr Odongo said that he had been living in Likoni where he got a job as a caretaker where he found life to be enjoyable and easy going.

“I soon forgot all the frustrations I was going through while at home in Homa Bay,” Mr Odongo said, adding that his employer who was of European extraction was friendly.

He added that though he thought about his family back at home, he did not bother to communicate with them either through letters or any other means that were available then.

“My employer never bothered to ask me where I come from. It further made me cut links with my family,” the senior citizen said.

However, a few years ago, his employer went back to Europe and he was left vulnerable, making him feel abandoned, and an idea came to his mind that he should go back to his village.

When he arrived in Homa Bay, he went to the Chief’s office.

“He claimed to be from the village and could describe the geographical area. But I could not recognize him. However, some of the names he mentioned are of people who had died and were buried in the village.,” Said Achieng, the local Chief.

The chief then sought the help of some senior citizens who could recognise him after which his family was then called to take him home.

The family held celebrations over the weekend to welcome him back home.

Mr. Odongo however expressed concern about alleged encroachment on his property.

He said he does not wish to go back to Mombasa but would only want to have his property back.

Mr. Achieng promised that he would look over the matter and ensure the senior citizen repossesses his property.

By Davis Langat

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