Symon Cheruiyot
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A motorcycle accident, a bedridden son and Baringo family in millions of debts

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Symon Cheruiyot carries his son Moses Kiprop Rerimoi to bask in the sun at their home in Kipkoriony village in Eldama Ravine on April 6, 2024.

Photo credit: Florah Koech | Nation Media Group

Sitting in a makeshift shade on a seat with two cushions and two pillows for comfort, he nodded as he sang along to some gospel hymns playing in the background.

This is where Moses Kiprop Rerimoi, 28, from Kipkoriony Village in Eldama Ravine, has been staying since February 2016 after being discharged from the hospital following a road accident that left him immobile.

Despite his condition, he manages to put a smile on his face as he sits down on the sofa to exchange pleasantries.

Kiprop's father, Symon Cheruiyot, remembers the fateful day as if it were yesterday. It was on August 6, 2015, when family members, relatives and friends had gathered at a hotel in Kabarnet town to fundraise for his elder brother, Dennis Rerimoi, then a student at the Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC), who was to fly to India for a kidney transplant.

Diagnosed with diabetes

Dennis had been diagnosed with diabetes in 2000, and his situation worsened, leading to kidney failure in 2004.

In the afternoon of the same day, Kiprop, who was in Form Four, preparing to sit his national examination the following term, had closed school for a holiday and joined his family members for the funding in town.

Shortly after, Kiprop was sent to pick something in their Kaptimbor home, on the outskirts of the town, close to a kilometre away. He rode a motorcycle to save time.

That is when their world came crumbling down. Some few minutes after leaving, they received reports that their third-born son had lost control of the motorcycle he was riding at Kapkogorwa village and crashed his head on a stone.

“I don’t even want to remember the feeling I had after I received the news of my son’s accident, but all the same, I had to be strong to handle the situation. We were just going on with arrangements to fundraise for his elder brother, who was set to be flown to India for a kidney transplant when I received a call that Kiprop had been involved in an accident, a kilometre away from Kabarnet town,” said Mr Cheruiyot.

 “He was a Form Four candidate at that time and he had closed school for the August holiday that particular day. We sent him to go and pick something at home, little did we know that could be a turning point in our lives, adding to the myriad of tribulations we had. I was forced to leave the fundraiser and attend to him in hospital,” added the distraught father.

At the accident scene, the motorcycle was a wreck, and his head was seriously injured after he crushed it into a stone after he lost control.

Specialised treatment

He was rushed to the Baringo County Referral Hospital in Kabarnet and later referred to the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) in Eldoret for specialised treatment.

Due to his condition, Kiprop needed to be in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), but the bed capacity at MTRH at the time was exhausted.

“I remember we had a challenge in getting admission in the ICU and went for three more facilities in Eldoret without success, eventually, he was finally admitted at the Reale Hospital. He underwent a head surgery the following day and the medics indicated that he had suffered a brain damage that even cracked the inner membrane of the skull,” said Cheruiyot.

After the surgery, he was in the ICU for more than 21 days. He later spent more than six months in the general ward after his family failed to raise the medical bill that had accrued to more than Sh3 million.

“He was discharged on October 6, 2015, but we had drained all the funds we had to pay the medical bills that had accumulated to more than Sh3 million. We were retained until February the following year after the family fundraised for some amount and Kiprop’s grandmother also parted with her title deed,” he explained.

A month after his discharge, Mr Cheruiyot had to organise another funds drive to take his second-born son Dennis for a kidney transplant in India - he travelled with him and his first-born son, who was also the donor.

After undergoing a successful kidney transplant at Indraprastha Apolo, New Delhi Hospital in India, the family got another challenge after Dennis suffered some complications, prompting some more stay and money for treatment at the ICU.

The family had to sell their two remaining cows to finance their upkeep in India as they planned another fundraiser.

Road accident

They were discharged from the facility months later but needed to spend more than Sh20,000 every month on his drugs and another Sh20,000 for his bedridden brother, who was still recuperating from the injuries he sustained in the road accident.

Sadly, Dennis died in February 2021, six years after undergoing a kidney transplant.

“We have exhausted all we had in treating our two sons. So far, we have spent more than Sh10 million in their treatment. Sadly, Dennis died in 2021 due to complications. Kiprop is still bedridden owing to the injuries he sustained in the accident, and he still needs more money to take him for further medication,” said Mr Cheruiyot.

 “It has been a challenge because, after the accident, Kiprop is dependent on people in almost everything because he cannot move on his own. The brain damage made him immobile and he also suffered a memory lapse. In recent years, we also realised that his left leg has turned shorter than the other, indicating that there is a problem,” he explained.

According to the father of four, his bedridden son uses three diapers every day and medication at a cost of Sh10,000 every day.

“My mother deposited her title deed in the hospital as a surety to allow him to get discharged in hospital in 2016 because we could not manage to offset the Sh3.3 million. To date, we still have a debt of more than Sh2.1 which we have not settled yet due to the myriad of challenges. We are also appealing to well-wishers to allow us to take him for further medication because his situation has not improved,” he noted.

“We fear that our land will be auctioned if we do not settle the debt as agreed,” added Cheruiyot.

Pauline Cheruiyot, Kiprop’s mother, couldn't contain her emotions.

“We have had a challenge since 2000 after Dennis was diagnosed with diabetes which later led to kidney failure. After spending more than Sh6 million on his treatment and kidney transplant in 2016, he died six years later. Before he was flown to India, his younger brother was involved in an accident that had made him bedridden for years. It is so painful as a mother seeing your children just slip away like that,” said Pauline while fighting back tears.

Suffered complications

“I even remember that when my husband and our two sons went to India, they were detained after Dennis suffered complications after the transplant, forcing him to be put in an ICU thus inflating the bill. Back at home, I was nursing Kiprop after being released from the hospital following the accident. I had to sell our two remaining cows at the time for their upkeep in the foreign land. Since then, life for us has been tough. We just appeal for help to take our bedridden son for further checkup and treatment,” said Pauline.

With a visible scar on his face, a sharp reminder of the motorcycle crash in 2016, Kiprop, who is struggling to communicate owing to the memory lapse, is very hopeful that he will one day stand on his feet.

“I am appealing for help from well-wishers to help me walk again. My feet are very feeble owing to the accident I was involved in but I am very certain with further medication, I would walk again. Every morning after doing some exercises and being assisted by my father to take a bath, I am forced to sit on this seat under the shade as we pass the day with my grandmother,” said Kiprop.