God loved them more: Woman who lost three children in boat tragedy says

Jane Kikenyi lost three children when a boat capsized at Lake Baringo. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

For Jane Kikenyi, the last few days have been agonising as a dive and rescue team searched for six youths after the boat they were sailing in capsized on Lake Baringo.

Her four children were among 23 youths from Kabukoki Revival Church going to Kokwa Island for a church mission but unfortunately, the boat capsized after its propeller got entangled in a fishing net.

Kenya Coast Guard Unit officers and volunteers waded through the murky waters with hopes of retrieving the bodies of youth who were trapped underwater.

The recovery operation was later called off at around six o’clock, but at the time Kikenyi had reunited with her son.

Sadly, one of her daughters had succumbed while two were missing. On Tuesday morning, she was informed that six bodies had been recovered. Her worst fears were confirmed after rescuers retrieved the bodies of her three children. Although her son survived the accident, three of her daughters did not make it out alive.

Kikenyi, a pastor at Revival Church Salabani, was also to be on the ill-fated boat alongside her children but changed her mind at the last minute after she received a call from the Bishop asking her to attend a meeting.

The single mother of four recounted the events on Sunday before parting ways with her four children whom she was to accompany for a youth mission to Kokwa Island.

Her three children were among the seven bodies recovered from the lake while 16 youths were lucky to survive the boat accident.

“We had a joint fellowship with Kokwa Island Church, a programme which started sometime back,” she said.

Kikenyi revealed that in April, Kokwa Island youth visited Kabukoki Revival Church and on Sunday it was their turn to visit them.

“While planning to accompany the youths, I received a call from our Bishop in Kabarnet insisting that I was needed urgently,” she said.

Kikenyi left her children with other youth as she went to Kabarnet for the meeting, not knowing it was the last time she would see her daughters alive.

Her first-born son survived the tragedy but her 12-year-old daughter succumbed after she was rescued on Sunday. Her children were aged 14, 12, and 9.

At the Kabarnet morgue on Tuesday, Kikenyi was emotional as the clergy prayed for the bereaved families. The devastated mother said her children were Christians who loved the word of God.

“It is sad, but  God loves them more, He knows why, it’s now me and my son, God will help us, three girls are no more,” she said.

She said the pastor was also in the meeting at Kabarnet when he received a call informing him of the accident. 


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