Ms Hawa Hussein Jamadar, the widow of former newscaster Ahmed Darwesh is counting losses estimated in the region of Sh3 million after armed robbers raided her house in Kitengela in Kajiado County last Saturday night.
Among the items that THE gangsters carted away were phones, home appliances, carpets, sandals and all manner of items.
She also received several slaps of a machete blade as the robbers sought to milk information out of her.
The robbery is the latest of a series of setbacks she has suffered since her husband died on December 15, 2015.
“This is property that was accumulated through our lives,” she said.
Her biggest relief, however, is that neither she nor her two daughters were raped.
One of the robbers was bent on forcing himself on her. Four times, she recalls, he made attempts to have his way, but every time something happened that changed his mind. The prayers she makes at 2am every night, she believes, must have brought Allah to her defence.
The robbery, which left the guard’s hand badly cut as the robbers tried to gain access into his room, opened yet another sad chapter in the life of the widow who has been facing tough times since her husband died in December 2015.
He left her a hotel business in South B, which she still runs and has even opened another branch, but the returns could not allow her to continue staying at South B as the rent was high. That is why she moved to Kitengela six months ago, on a plot where an uncle helped her build a house.
She was also involved in a terrible accident while driving her late husband’s car, which was later written off.
And as expected, it has not been easy for her to single-handedly raise the three children who survived Mr Darwesh — aged 11, eight and two — has not been a walk in the park. She said they are her reason for living.
“I told my mum yesterday that if it weren’t for my children, I wish I could just sleep and never wake up. But when I look at them, they get me going,” she said.
On top of that is an orphanage in Shimba Hills in Kwale County, which she co-founded with her late husband and which currently supports 130 children.
“My hotel is feeding us and also feeding 130 children,” she said.
Just when she thought she was settling in Kitengela, the robbery happened, where two of her late husband’s phones are among the items that were stolen.
But she is glad that her neighbours, who responded in numbers when she raised the alarm, have been supporting her after the robbery, which police are currently probing.
“I have very good neighbours,” she said.
But because of her late husband’s fame, help is not always forthcoming.
“With the name, everybody thinks I’m very rich,” she said. “They always say that I’m very rich. And I really hustle, they don’t know. It’s just that I always put a brave face outside there.”
Regrettably, she said, most of her husband’s friends have fled, save for two.
“I always say that when Ahmed died, he died with his friends,” she lamented.
DAY HER HUSBAND DIED
Our interview also revisited events of the day when her husband was found unresponsive in his sitting room.
And for the first time, Ms Hawa revealed that Darwesh had been given six months to live. He died after eight.
“As we had gone to India, we were told he had six months to live. We didn’t tell anybody; we kept quiet. He came and he really changed. He really reformed, but he was a bit stressed-up. He stayed exactly eight months and thirteen days then died,” she said.
“He had diabetes and all his kidneys had failed. The heart also had a problem,” she added. “Not many people knew this; we kept it to ourselves. Some of his friends didn’t even know he was diabetic.”
The interview was interrupted a couple of times by customers at her shop in Kitengela. Not one to wallow in self-pity, she has opened a shop at the dusty town, in her quest to keep her family afloat.
A shop is not the destination of a woman with two Master’s degrees — one in microfinance; another in human resource on top of a bachelor’s degree in finance and banking and a CPA(K) qualification — but she believes she has to make the most of her circumstances.
“God has given me an exam; He loves me and He wants me to be closer to him all the time. My children always ask, ‘Why is it happening to us?’ I tell them, ‘Allah loves us,” said Ms Hawa.