'I’ll believe my daughter is dead when I see her body at the mortuary'
Jackline Kendi, 21, who died in Kwale County 10 days ago alongside her British lover, was planning to travel to Meru to introduce him to the family.
Adam James Stagg, 36, and Kendi were riding a Suzuki sport motorcycle when the accident occurred on Beach Road towards Neptune in Diani. They died on the spot.
Speaking in an interview with the Nation at his home in Manthi village, Tigania East, Kendi’s father, Mr Michael Baariu, said a day before the accident, his daughter called him with news that she would be coming home.
“She wanted to find out how we were doing. I told her we were all fine and she told me after the visit they would travel to the UK. Those were her last words,” he said. She then sent him a photo showing them having a good time at a beach club.
“I cannot believe that my daughter is dead because after we spoke on Thursday, on Saturday morning I was informed of the accident. When I get to Kwale I will retrace her steps. I want to see where the accident occurred and the motorbike that killed my daughter. I want to see her face at the mortuary. It’s shocking,” said the father, fighting back tears.
The tragedy marked the end of a troubled short life for Kendi, whose mother, Risper Kananu died in 2012. Mr Baariu had separated with her while Kendi was a toddler and she moved to Isiolo town with the baby.
After her mother died, Kendi went to live with her aunt, Ms Margaret Kajuju in Kibirichia, Buuri constituency. She would later enrol for secondary school but dropped out in Form Two.
In 2021 at 19, she travelled to Mombasa where she worked as a house help and later got a job at a beach club where she met Stagg. When she died, Ms Kajuju, whom Kendi referred to as her mother, was named as next of kin at the mortuary.
On Monday, Mr Baariu said the family had resolved a disagreement over where Kendi would be buried. Some family members, including Ms Kajuju, had preferred Kendi to be laid to rest beside her mother at King’aru, a few kilometres from Mr Baariu’s home, while he demanded that he should be allowed to bury his daughter.
“Initially there was confusion but we have resolved the matter and we are travelling to Kwale together,” Mr Baariu said.
Meanwhile, Pastor Jackson Gitonga and Ms Pauline Kathure, officials of the Ameru community in Kwale County, said they had arranged for a fundraiser on Wednesday to give Kendi a decent burial.
“We have a target of Sh250,000, which will take care of all the costs. We are also talking to members of the family in Meru so that we ensure all arrangements are done in collaboration with them,” Ms Kathure said in a phone interview.
“Now that the family has agreed on the place of burial, we are moving on with preparations. We want to ensure that a member of the Ameru community is laid to rest well,” Mr Gitonga added