Today I am going to do a passion piece about a family I have met online called the Sifuna Barasa’s.
I met Peter chatting online on Facebook early this year and have been involved with the family ever since.
Peter and I just started chatting and he started to teach me Kiswahili the native official language of Kenya.
Peter told me that he was a security guard at a resort 575km away from his family home near the town of Bungoma. He showed me pictures of his wife and four beautiful daughters that he was missing dreadfully.
One day while we chatting he tells me that he has to rush home quickly because his mother has just been diagnosed with cancer and has to have an operation. At this stage he is earning the minimum wage in Kenya of around $120 US a month I think it was about 18500 Kenya Shillings. The bus fare home was about 3000 Kenya Shillings so it was a huge expense every time Peter had to go home.
At this time when Peter is home he manages to lease the only piece of land he possesses to pay for for his mother’s hospital treatment. His mother had a successful operation and as a result we thought all would go ok from here. Peter went back to his workplace and started work again. About this time his bosses came to him and said because the tourist trade was pretty low at the moment they were going to lower the wages of most of their staff to part time rates so suddenly Peter’s monthly salary was lowered to the equivalent of $70.00 US a month.
Peter is back at his work for another four weeks and he gets another call from his wife Janet to say that their oldest daughter who is nine at the time has been admitted to the Bungoma Referral Hospital with Malaria and the bill for this is going to be 31,000 Kenya Shillings. At this stage I manage to get the equivalent of about $3000 Kenya Shillings over to Peter so he can catch the bus home and another friend of mine also manages to send a similar amount over. This enables Peter to get home and see his daughter however it does not make a dent in the hospital bill.
Now the trouble starts.
While Norlan is in hospital she has her 10th birthday and then she is officially discharged by the hospital. Now you would think that when someone is officially discharged they can go home but not in this case.
The hospital then told Peter because he could not pay the bill. This all happened at the end of June, because Norlan turned 10 on the 2nd of July still in hospital. Peter was told that because the bill could not be paid Norlan would remain confined to hospital however this would also mean the bill would continue to go up daily.
At this point I put out pleas every where for people to help pay the bill but have little traction, however the other day when talking to my mentor She suggested I do some real research so I did and found that although it was a common practice in Kenya to keep patients or deceased patients families hostage until the bill was paid it was in fact illegal.
I found an article in the Kenya news online about a case where this had happened and it was taken to court and the decision was that this was an illegal practice.
Here is the article that got things moving. After finding out this information Peter first presented the hospital staff with this information who gave him a very rough time and then he went to his lawyer who put in action an order to sue the hospital and present an order to the court to get Norlan released from hospital after she had been held hostage there since July.
Here is Peter’s own words
just got home from meeting the lawyer, and he went to court to sue the hospital and present a court order to release our lovely daughter Norlan before Friday and clear the outstanding bill later, he adviced me not to waste much time on research rather give him time to fight our battles, i spoke to the person who was our manager told him a bout my case and in good faith he send me ksh 10000, which will refund him later i gave to the lawyer, so far things are going on well, if there will be no changes dear, Norlan will be released before Friday, your brilliant advice has positively worked in a very short time,Janet has never failed to ask me say jambo to you and your mume, bless.
The next bit of news
was to the office of the lawyer, he submitted a court order to the hospital where Norlan is held hostage asking them to release Norlan as soon as possible and allow us pay the bill when we can, and not to increase the bill any farther, so hopefully dear Norlan could be released tomorrow if things go the way are moving, we thank God because of you dear, Janet has said jambo to both of you, bless
And the news I got this morning
Mzuri sana most dear rafiki Leonie, sorry for delay to respond dear, today was very busy day for us, but eventually Norlan was released from hospital after being there for some months, my wife was moved to tears in disbelieve after Norlan was safely handed over to us after confirming she is ok and stable, she mentioned your name several times while thank God through for the effort while made our daughter released, she was excited to re join the family after missing them for some months, we held a part for her, she is okay, we left the bill of 2500$ in hospital, which we should try to pay up to December 31st, no additional charges, harassment from the hospital till we freely pay the bill either once or in installment, may God greatly reward you and our most lovely friend brother Alan.
At this news both Alan I burst into tears. It was such wonderful news.
Also during this time Peter lost his job at the resort where he was working because it was taken over by new owners so is currently seeking work closer to home. I have encouraged him to be closer to his family and not have such a great travel cost.
Now with the bill at a finalised amount I need your help to pay it. I have set up a givealittle page which accepts credit cards. All money raised will be sent to Peter via Western Union so the bill can be paid.
Please go and check it out here. At the moment it says it still needs to be donor verified which means that two more people need to make a donation. Once that happens then the site will be available in the search engines.
Thank you for your time and support
Have a great day