Family still grieving chopper crash victim who gave them high hopes
Two weeks before she died in the Lake Nakuru helicopter crash, Veronica Muthoni, then 23 years old, took her mother Jane Magiri Gachuki, 46, on a tour of Kabatini.
Her mission was clear: she wanted to buy land to build some rental houses for her family.
With her parents having exhausted their savings on her education, Muthoni told her mother that she wanted to pay back their generosity that saw her get a secondary education and other tertiary qualifications.
She told her mother “it was time she built some rental houses for us so that they could sustain us,” Ms Gachuki said on Wednesday at Kabatini trading centre in Bahati sub-county.
Muthoni was born 25 years ago in this centre and buried two years ago.
Her mother is now battling ulcers she developed soon after receiving the report about her daughter’s death. Since then, life has been unbearable for her.
Muthoni’s father, Mr David Gachuki, is also devastated and weighed down by the death of his firstborn.
Muthoni was part of Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika’s campaign team that crashed into Lake Nakuru on October 21, 2017. The others were Sammy Gitau, John Ndirangu alias Mapozi and Anthony Kipyegon. The pilot of the ill-fated chopper, Apollo Malowa also died.
Distraught as he is, Mr Gachuki leads us to a small farm adjacent to the village and together with his wife, points to the grave currently covered by grass.
“It’s here where my daughter lies. All the dreams and aspirations she had for her life were buried here. I’ve a feeling that my daughter was destined for the best in life, but she never fulfilled it. It’s God’s plan, but as a parent, it is too painful,” Mr Gichuki says.
At 50 years old, he told the Nation that he had to stop all his daily errands to attend to his wife who developed ulcers that have since never healed.
“My wife is battling the problem and I’ve to stand with her. This is not her. She has lost weight and is always thinking of her daughter and the possible trying moment she went through as she stared at death” Mr Gichuki said.
Muthoni, who would have turned 25 this year, was buried in her father’s farm next to her grandmother’s grave.
He remembered her daughter as a God-fearing girl who had hopes of driving the family to a successful future.
During her last days on earth, Mr Gichuki said, Muthoni sat with him and deliberated on how she would assist in paying school fees for her two siblings.
“My second daughter is currently at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and she had promised to pay for her education. I can vividly tell that I lost a jewel in the name of my daughter,” he said.
The couple did not want to say anything about the pilot after a report by the Transport Cabinet Secretary blamed him for the crash.
Instead, they said the silence by the government on matters compensation was disturbing.
“We are suffering because we used a lot of resources on our daughter as we had high hopes in her. Unfortunately the worst happened. Nobody was prepared for it. May our daughter rest in peace,” the couple said before seeing the Nation team off.
Ms Gichuki has also developed a dislike for the farm because of her daughter’s grave.
“Sometimes I really wish to come and cultivate, but when I see the grave, I break down. It’s bad,” she said.
On Monday, the Ministry of Transport released a report that blamed the pilot for the crash. The report stated that the pilot flouted aviation rules by flying under the influence of alcohol and at a very low altitude.