Nobody really knows where Joy Chepkoech’s Ng’etich had been the day before she immersed herself in Lake Solai in Rongai Constituency in Nakuru County.
On the morning she decided to take her own life, the 15-year-old Class 7 pupil at Ngendaptich Primary School had appeared in class at 6am, dressed in home clothes.
Her colleagues questioned the stunt, as she had never done so before. They advised her to go home and put on her school uniform, as the school is not very far from where she lived with her aunt.
It is not yet clear what took away Joy’s joy, but a few minutes after she left her class, the teacher was called, and informed that she had thrown herself in Lake Solai as her classmates watched.
Tuiyotich Village suddenly turned into screams, and Senior Chief Mark Mogotio says the incident that happened in a flash and shocked everyone.
The lake, according to Mr Mogotio is located very near to the school, and it had extended and consumed part of the school’s playground since last year when the Rift Valley lakes had swollen.
“We started an operation immediately with an attempt to rescue her. We reached out to local divers but they could not save her. It took seven hours before her body was found stuck in a rock inside the waters,” Mr Mogotio told Nation.
The Senior Chief said that three years ago, two children who were pupils in the same school slipped and fell in the lake while playing and were rescued by teachers before they drowned.
He said that efforts to get help from the ministry of education and the County government to have the school fenced had not borne fruits.
“This incident is really shocking to the community, but I thank them for coming forward to help in retrieving the body,” Mr Mogotio said, encouraging parents to be close to their children and establish what difficulties they may be going through.
The teenager’s uncle, Johana Rotich said that Joy had disappeared from home on Monday at 8pm, moments after preparing dinner, and never returned after that.
He said that the family tried looking for her in vain, and that they were only called by the teachers on Tuesday morning, and informed that she had drowned in the lake.
Mr Rotich said that Chepkoech was found by her classmates already in school while in civilian clothes, and when interrogated, she started to cry and headed out then jumped into the lake.
According to Mr Rotich, his brother has been staying with Chepkoech since she was seven years old after her parents who live in Eldama Ravine could not afford to take her to school.
He said that Chepkoech was enrolled at the school and has been studying there since class one saying that she was a bright and focused pupil.
Her aunt and guardian, Vivian Chesang Rotich watched in disbelief from a distance as the body of the girl was being retrieved and then moved to the Nakuru City mortuary.