Until October 21, 2013, Martha Mbulungo was a charming girl in Form Three at Yumbisye Mixed Day Secondary School, Kenya, before her boyfriend changed her life forever in a vicious attack. "This is a day I would not like to remember, as the suffering I got in the hands of my then boyfriend and fellow congregant at Jehovah Witness Church is still fresh and vivid in my mind," asserts Martha.
On that fateful day, her then boyfriend, Wilson Kyalo, then a Form Four student at Kyanika Day School asked her to escort him to a chemist. They were walking along a narrow path when he turned and attacked her with a matchete. He cut her in the right breast then chopped off both her arms. The motive of the attack remains a mystery to her even till today.
"I fell down but he continued cutting me severally, chopping my arms off. Were it not for Gender Based Violence Rescue Centre (GBV-R) in Nairobi, I could not have survived to tell this story," she said.
She was rushed to Kitui General Hospital but doctors were on strike and she lay on bed with little help for long hours, with her mother Mary Mbulungo by her side. "I writhed in pain from fresh wounds in the arms and the right breast for two weeks until I asked God to take my life’," recalls Martha.
Mary administered Martha with prescribed pain killers for two weeks. Just when she was contemplating taking her daughter home to die, help came in the names of Christine Vethi of Kitui Girl Child project and Florence Ndeti Kitui Catholic Diocese’ Peace and Justice Department.
The women, in conjunction with the church, arranged for Martha to be transfered to Nairobi Women’s Hospital where she was admitted and treated with full support from the rescue centre for several weeks.
The suspect, Wilson Kyalo was subsequently charged with two counts of attempted murder and causing actual bodily harm to Martha. During the three years the trial lasted, Mary refused the accused’s relatives advances to have the case settled out of court or even to compel Wilson to marry her.
"God stood with me and the verdict showed that justice delayed is not always justice denied," she said.
Kitui Principal Magistrate Esther Boke found the accused guilty of the two charges and sentenced the 23-year-old to a life sentence with 14 days to appeal.
"I knelt down, wept and thanked God for answering my prayers that the court imposes a heavy penalty on Wilson for chopping off both my arms and destroying my life. I have learned the hard way to write, eat, wash and do everything for myself so as to move on with life," says Martha.
Later, she pleaded with her single mother to take her back to school after two years of mental anguish and pain.
Today, Martha is a Form Two student at Thika’s Joytown Secondary School for the Physically Handicapped and is learning how to live with permanent paralysis. She is presently preparing to go back to school to start her second term.