Residents of Ikumbi village, Kigumo, Murang’a county were recently treated to uncommon occurrence after a man who vanished 51 years ago returned home.
The now grey-haired man, Francis Muthua Chege was only 30 years old when he vanished from his home in 1968.
For five decades, his family has had no idea of his whereabouts until he made his sudden appearance last week.
And just like Biblical prodigal son who disappeared from home after getting a share of his father’s wealth, spent it and went back a pauper, Muthua’s case is no different.
Leaving his wife to fend for their six children, Muthua narrated that he first went to Kisii town where he set up a charcoal business.
The business later flopped and he packed his bags and relocated to Narok where he spent a better part of his life working as a charcoal trader.
Muthua narrated that he even acquired a new wife but parted ways after the birth of their child.
“Life was not any better there because I squandered all the money I got from charcoal burning on alcohol,” the 81-year-old explained.
At the same time, his family was spending sleepless nights wondering what could have happened to their kin. His wife Wanjiru had to tighten her belt to raise and educate their children by herself.
The family narrated that after looking for him for some time, they gave up with a hope that he will one day return home.
“At first it was difficult for me but I had no choice but to raise the children all by myself,” she said.
As time went by, they got used to his absence. Then Mau evictions happened. With nowhere else to go to, Muthua retraced his steps to a home and life he abandoned 50 years ago.
Muthua was found one of the residents, Monicah Gathoni lying weak and desolate near Ikumbi Primary School.
“He was very weak and looked sickly and told me he left here many years ago and was trying to find his way home,” she recounted.
Gathoni got a motorbike to take him home and news of his return spread fast like bush fire with neighbours thronging their home.
One of his sons, who is now a secondary school teacher in Ndaragwa, Nyandarua County, said he travelled by night on receiving news of his father’s return.
“I got home almost at midnight, I could not wait for daybreak to have a look at him,” he stated
“We are happy to have him back and even if he left us when we were young, he is still our father,” he added.
His children and close relatives organised a party to celebrate his return.
The elderly man observed he is happy to be home though he brought nothing and thanked wife and children for accepting him back.
“I lack words to express my gratitude to them and more so my wife for her perseverance and commitment to raise our children,” he remarked.