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The Day Me and Other Mums Were Conned by One of Our Own

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A couple of weeks ago, there was this story on the Kenyan internets about a certain woman who had conned fellow moms. Did you hear about it? Maybe you did, maybe you didn’t. Me, I definitely heard about it. Infact, not only did I hear about it, but I experienced it. I was a conee. Yes, I was one of the conned moms.

Pull your stool closer I tell you about it.

So what happened is this lady told us (we being moms in a certain facebook group) that her son had passed away due to a chronic illness, and that she was in dire straits trying to settle the bill accumulated by her late son. That the hospital was relentlessly pursuing her night and day, demanding that she pay the bill. They were not giving her any breathing space.

We cried with this mom. We mourned with her. We prayed for her. How insensitive of the hospital, we lamented. Couldn’t they be abit more compassionate with a grieving mom? Wasn’t there a more humane way they could go about it instead of subjecting her to such harassment, we asked ourselves.

Sad woman cryingPhoto: Dreamstime.com

She regularly posted updates on how sad she felt on the loss of her son, who was about 5 or 6 years old. And many moms felt this loss with her. Moms who had personally experienced the deaths of their own children cried with her, they comforted her. They opened up about their loss and the emotions they went through, and we cried with them too. We all felt their pain.

This woman shared a photo of her and her late son. He was a beautiful boy. His life cut short prematurely. Gone too soon, we said. He had suffered a long, slow and painful death. Very sad. But it was the will of God we all concluded.

Due to the accumulating bills, her friends decided to help her out. A harambee was set for the first week of March. Anyone who had something to give could do so.

One time she updated us on how she went to visit her son at his grave. It was very emotional. Oh, the heartfelt condolences and the outpouring of messages. We could only imagine her grief.

Then suddenly, in mid February, the bereaved woman informed us that the hospital could not wait for her to raise the money any longer. They could not wait until March, when she would settle the bill after the harambee. That she was going to be auctioned the following day because she was unable to raise the required deposit to forestall the impending auction.

This was indeed a very sad situation. The poor woman had not even finished wiping the tears off her face, and now she was gonna be thrown out of her house? They say when it rains, it pours. The rain was really beating down on this woman.

So one mom, touched by the bereaved mom’s plight appealed to the moms in the facebook group to help out a fellow mom.

It was requested that if anyone was in a position to help, to chip in something, however small. And lots of money was raised. She received the money via mobile money transfer. And the bereaved mom kept saying thank you, and that we were very kind and generous and that God will bless us all. That our baskets never run out of flour. We were glad to help. It could happen to anyone. Tomorrow could be you.

Anyway the long and short of the story is that there was no dead son. Infact, the son was VERY alive and healthy. He was attending school normally, playing as usual with his friends and doing all the usual things kids his age do. A jolly little boy who had no idea he was ‘dead’. The boy in the photo was not deceased. We were shocked beyond words.

There were no hospital bills. There were no auctioneers. There was no grave. She had shed no tears. Maybe just smiles as she received our money.

She had ‘killed’ her son for a few coins.

Kenyan currencyImage: Dreamstime.com

When cornered, her defense was that she needed that money for rent, food and school fees.

But my issue is not even about the money. That one is gone, no holds barred.

I just wonder at the emotional roller-coaster this woman took me and other fellow moms through. And just to think of the opened wounds that moms who had lost their babies went through, sharing their own experiences and offering her words of encouragement. The raw emotions that they expressed as they talked about the deaths of their bundles of joy. The intense feelings they felt and continue to feel on the loss of their babies. The pain and the struggle to wake up to a new day, knowing that their child is no longer with them. The loss of a child is not easy to go through, and neither is it easy to talk about. It takes surmountable courage to do so.

I wonder what was going through this woman’s mind as she read their messages of comfort to her. And when she said she understood what they were feeling, what did she mean?

What I donno is whether this woman did this for the sake of providing for her son, or if she did it for her own good.

And if she did it for her son, it got me thinking – to what extent would you do anything for your child? I have heard of women who have stolen to feed their kids. Women who have done jobs or engaged in professions they never imagined they would all for the sake of their kids. Women who have had liaisons or relationships they would rather forget about or do all they can to keep it secret, all for the sake of providing for their kids. And now, a woman who ‘killed’ her son for the same.

Candle and flowers for condolencesPhoto: Dreamstime.com

Then again, maybe we moms are such a gullible lot who can easily be taken advantage of because we apparently tend to think with our emotions especially where matters children are concerned. Maybe this is true. But just like a fellow (conned) mom asked –if someone tells you they’ve lost their child and they need a little mchango to settle the deceased’s hospital bill, do you ask them to produce the death certificate first before you give your Ksh 200 contribution?

Anyway, so that’s what happened.

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Maryanne W. Waweru is a Kenyan mum raising her two sons in Nairobi. A journalist, Maryanne is passionate about telling stories and hopes that through her writing, her readers learn something new, feel encouraged, inspired, and appreciative of what they have in their lives. Maryanne's writing focuses on motherhood, women and lifestyle. "Telling stories is the only thing I know how to do," she says.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Oh no!This sounds like a Nollywood movie!

    Killing a child then making money out of kind strangers who wanted to share and ease her pain!
    My God,to what lows have humans sunk to…?
    Sorry Maryanne and all mums who were taken advantage of,but let it not stop you from being kind to persons who in future may need your help.

  2. @Santina this incident really demoralized many moms and many vowed never to help a stranger again, possibly spoiling for genuine cases in the future. There do exist genuine appeals for help, but many said once bitten twice shy.

  3. It was really sad… She took advantage but it wont deter mums from being kind and helpful to others. I pray for her and for her healing coz she has a big problem.

  4. its so bad to lie with Death, poleni maryanne, some people in facebook are not genuine so take note.

  5. this is truly sad that someone uses her PRIVILEGED status as a mom to take advantage of other moms!! Shame on her! That said, it shouldn’t stop us from helping others. Maybe next time, try to get more info like ‘which hospital? or which cemetery? or which auctioneer?’ that way, you can try confirm the information though truth be said, who lies about their child being dead??? i would never in a million years do that…so sad but also a lesson to learn from…my 2 cents…..

  6. @Santina, Kate, Joselyn and Gathoni -thanks for sharing your thoughts and providing encouragement that it should not stop us from being helpful to others in the future. That our generous acts should not stop because of this one incident. @Gathoni -those are the questions that were asked that led to the discovery that it was all fake.

  7. Jesus! Now that she speaks it, what if it comes to pass that her little boy dies (God forbid)?
    What will she do should her son die for real? who will cry with her since all tears were already wasted?
    Who will even believe her? This is woman is a psycho and her eyes might open only too late!

  8. what a story….really sad a mother can be reduced to this just for a little money. I feel deeply for this innocent child. Hope, she realises how mean she was pulling a stunt like this.

  9. Yes ladies, it’s unbelievable what she did. Let’s pray for her indeed as @Nancy says. And let’s pray for her son too as he is the one being raised by this woman – we all know the influence our parents had on us.

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