Elizabeth Obwoge, mother of Major Geoffrey Obwoge, who was the commander of the ill-fated El Adde camp in Somalia, nearly chased away Nation reporters when they paid her a visit at her home in Ogembo, Kisii County.
She did not want any filming in her homestead, saying it rekindled memories of the day she received news of the death of her first-born son. Many journalists visited her then, and our presence the other day angered her.
“Just write what you wish in your books, but I do not want this camera,” she told us. She sat less than five metres from her son’s grave, which is now covered with grass, making it hardly noticeable.
We knew this because in Kisii culture, a man is buried directly outside the main door of his house. Elizabeth then stood on it and indicated with her feet the exact location of the grave that is now the final home of her son on earth.
The late Maj Obwoge’s seven room house remained closed. A big car was packed next to it.
Elizabeth told us his son’s widow, Rhoda Manyange, who now lives in Eldoret where they together had a home, occasionally visits.
“The only consolation is that the government has not abandoned us and has continued to take care of my son’s two children,” she said. However, she refused to delve into details of the government’s compensation beyond stating "the process is well on course.”
Her only request is for the government to employ her younger son as it promised her the day they buried her eldest.
Despite losing one to the Army, she said, she would not mind if her younger one was deployed in the disciplined forces too.
“Or even if they decide to make him a sweeper in one of the government’s offices, it would lessen my misery of losing my elder son who was our sole breadwinner,” Elizabeth said amidst sobs.
She said she misses seeing her son walk into their home. “Even when he came empty handed, I still felt good.”
By the time of his death at 33 years of age, Maj Obwoge had won awards for his bravery and distinguished service, among them the Bravery Medal. He had two university degrees and his long-term ambition was to become a professor.
“I lost a hero. If it were possible to buy back my son’s life, I would sell all my property to have him back,” she said.
“I would rather live with nothing but have my son with me.”