What you need to know:
- Akula had lost all hope of ever finding his younger brother alive after his search net over neighbouring Uganda drew a blank
- On arrival, the two brothers wept uncontrollably
It was joy and tears on Tuesday when two octogenarian brothers met after living apart for 70 years.
Mzee Juma Omolo Swaga, 80 and John Akula Swaga, 89, wept uncontrollably at a village in Nakuru County for over an hour before settling for overnight talks about the many years gone by that saw their four siblings pass away as well as their parents.
Mzee Omolo, alias “Bachelor-Boy”, left his ancestral home in Koru area of Kisumu in the company of his elder sister in search of a job among the colonial settlers.
They moved to Subukia in Nakuru where he worked in seven farms as a househelp, cook and later as a spray-man and supervisor on a European farm.
He has lived in Subukia, and it was not until yesterday that his older brother, Akula, managed to trace him.
Akula had lost all hope of ever finding his younger brother alive after his search net over neighbouring Uganda drew a blank.
He had received news that Omolo had joined fighters in Idi Amin’s war in the 1970s. While in Uganda, he received information that his younger brother had died.
“Even my mother visited Subukia in search of my brother, but it was all in vain. I’m happy to have found him and I confirm it is him since his cleft lip had been stitched and therefore has a permanent scar,” Akula said, adding that his brother Omolo had to go home and see his parents graves and also set foot in his house.
But Omolo interjected: “Not to stay, but to greet them for a day and return home. Kabazi is where my people are and I have no other home now. God gave me lovely neighbours who feed me, clothe and even built a home for me. This is where God gave me money to buy land and live,” he says.
Mzee Omolo, who speaks fluent Kikuyu spent his entire life on “life”, and this made the three women he married at different times leave him, making him spend over two decades alone.
Mzee Akula said he was shocked to receive a letter from his brother from their area chief informing him his brother was alive and well in Kabazi, Nakuru County. He travelled together with the chief accompanied by two grandchildren and a son.
“I want him to come home and live with me. He is my real brother and I’m ready to take him back to his people. They need to see and hear from him,” Mzee Akula said as his brother adamantly declined the offer, saying, he would plan his visit to Siaya, greet his brother’s family and return home.
“It is okay to visit them in Siaya, but let them know Kabazi is home now and even if I die Kabazi will be my burial ground. These are my people and I know no other home,” he said.
Mr Benjamin Gitau was mandated by the church community to search for Mzee Omolo’s relatives and he sought help from a university lecturer who took the particulars to Boro assistant chief Peter Omondi Yuya.
It is in Boro Division of Siaya County where Mzee Omolo’s family moved after Koru.
“Akula, who is my grandfather, was shocked and lost for words to learn his brother was still alive. He called to enquire from Mr Gitau about Mzee Omolo and he said he would confirm his story by seeing a birthmark on his lip,” recalls Mr Omondi who was accompanied relatives of Mr Omolo on Tuesday.
HE IS ONE OF US
On arrival, the two brothers wept uncontrollably, but “bachelor-boy” known for his light-hearted humour, quipped: “I am a lost son, but not a dead one. God knew one day I would meet my real brother. I’m very happy for him and we have a long life to live, visiting one another once in a while.”
Village church leader Samwel Ndung’u said Omolo was one of them and they had united as a community to feed him every day with the church raising funds to build him a timber wall, iron house to replace the decades-old grass thatched hut.
“Even during the infamous ethnic clashes in 2007, Omolo never contemplated relocation. We assured him of our protection and we know he is one of us since 1965 when we moved into this farm,” Mr Ndung’u said.