February 16, 2019 will forever remain etched in the minds of Boniface Murage and his wife Agnes Elewo.
Ms Elewo was admitted to the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) alongside the couple’s one-month-old baby, who had been sick. She had fever and breathing problems.
Mr Murage was a worried man; he could not just stand the thought of his beloved wife and lovely daughter detained in a public health facility simply because he was financially helpless.
Unlike in the Bible where Eve convinced Adam to eat the forbidden fruit and then waited to see what could happen, it is Mr Murage who lured his wife into the plot of sneaking out of KNH without paying their Sh56,937 bill.
The child was admitted on January 26 and was to be discharged on February 11. But since the family breadwinner did not know how to settle the bill that stood at Sh46,000, the mother and her daughter remained at the facility for another week.
Mr Murage’s friends, neighbours, family and colleagues, who dig trenches with him, had managed to raise a paltry Sh2,000. For about 21 days, he had visited his wife and daughter, taking to them porridge as a daily meal.
Deep in thought, a brilliant idea came to his mind; why not put the baby in a bag and walk out majestically from the hospital? No one would notice — or so he thought.
Knowing her husband’s financial struggles, Ms Elewo did not object to his suggestion when he revealed the escape plan. He would carry the bag in which he had made a hole to prevent the infant from suffocating, and she would follow him.
But just when they were about to step out, the security guards stopped him to check his bag — a normal routine.
Mr Murage did not expect to be stopped by anyone and was caught off-guard. He resisted a little, but when the guards finally had the bag opened, police officers were quickly called as they believed he intended to kill the child.
While Mr Murage went away with police officers to be locked up in cells, his wife remained detained in hospital.
According to Mr Murage, he told the truth to the police officers and to the Magistrate's Court where he was arraigned on Monday.
“I honestly did not know where else to seek help, I had hit a dead end and I just prayed that the plot worked but it did not,” he said.
When he appeared before Senior Resident Magistrate Caroline Nzibe, Tuesday, he was unaware that his wife had been discharged, the bill settled, and he was going to walk home a free man, with a job to boot and a little bit richer.
He got to learn that a lawyer had been sent to represent him in court by Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko.
He had pleaded guilty of attempting to commit a felony.
When asked if he will get himself on the wrong side of the law any time soon, considering that he was handed a three-month suspended sentence by Magistrate Nzibe, he confidently says that he is not a trouble-maker.
One of the DusitD2 terrorist attack rescue officers, Inspector Emmanuel Tammoh, gave him Sh56,000 outside court as soon as he was released.
While sentencing him, the magistrate noted that he was remorseful and regretted his action, which was occasioned by lack of money and poverty.
The couple has been married for one year six months. Both of them are aged 22 and live in their one-room house in Ole Kasasi, Ongata Rongai.
Despite the scotching sun outside that makes the iron sheet house hot and anyone inside sweat profusely, the couple is visibly happy to be reunited. They thanked well-wishers for clearing their bill.
As the couple narrates what they had gone through while sitting on a bed, the baby slept soundly, unaware that her sickness was the cause of what was happening.
Maybe one day, she will learn the extent her father went, the sacrifice he made, to have her and her mother back in their house safe and sound.
Perhaps her parents will tell her the story of a father’s love for his little girl.