At her home at Kalolenyi village on the outskirts of Voi town, Felister Wangui is living every parent’s worst nightmare. She drifts around; lost in a haze of confusion, despair and dread.
On a cloudy Tuesday afternoon last week, her 13-year-old daughter Michelle Wangechi went missing. She has not been seen since.
At a time when a spate of bizarre disappearances targeting children have rocked dozens of families in several towns across the country, the recent disappearance of the teen is unbearable to the mother of two.
“I can’t eat or sleep. We don’t know where she is,” mumbles the distraught mother; a vacant look in her eyes.
With each new dawn and without a word of her daughter’s whereabouts, Wangui’s trauma increased tenfold. What is more devastating is the crippling sense of helplessness of a parent who is unable to reverse the clock and undo what has been happening.
The genesis of the disappearance is blamed on a normal spat between mother and daughter.
On that fateful Tuesday, the teenager had accidentally slammed the fingers of her two-year old brother against a door.
The incident was not serious. There was neither blood nor broken bones; just a small bruise that came with a nasty bout of pain.
Her mother got upset because instead of soothing her wailing brother, the teenage girl found it all funny and laughed.
As mothers are used to do, Ms Wangui had reprimanded her daughter and lectured her of virtues of compassion towards younger siblings. She promptly forgot about it all as she went to tend to the crying boy.
Perhaps fearing grave repercussions later, the teenager quietly left the house and has not been seen since.
“I didn’t mean anything at all. I just reprimanded her as any parent would and forgot all about it.
I wish I never said anything,” says the distraught mother as she unconsciously clutches two photographs of her missing daughter close to her chest.
Michelle was expected to join Form 1 next month.
Frantic efforts to trace her whereabouts have borne no fruits. Relatives and neighbours have combed the neighbourhood without any breakthrough.
Multiple calls have been made to relatives in faraway places to ask if the girl had been sighted there.
Nothing. The mother has taken to moving around with the photographs of her daughter to ask strangers if they have seen her daughter.
The disappearance was reported at Voi Police Station. Officers have launched a search for the teen though they have encouraged the family not to relax because the missing teenager does not have a mobile phone that can be easily tracked.
“They said we should go on looking for her because without a phone, even tracking her location is a challenge,” says the mother.
The mother describes the missing teen as well behaved and quiet. The girl does not have any active social life and prefers to stay indoors by herself.
“She is a quiet one and has never had issues with discipline,” says the mother.
She is appealing to any well-wisher who might come across a lost child to report to any police station.