Jobless and starving Peninah Kitsao, a Kenyan widow in Mombasa, boiled stones for her eight children in the hope that they would fall asleep waiting for their food. The poor woman, whose husband was killed by a gang, has been practising this deceiving trick since she lost her job of washing laundry, following coronavirus outbreak.
Kenya has so far recorded 395 cases of COVID-19 and 17 deaths. The global pandemic that has forced countries into lockdown has left billions of people jobless across the globe.
Kids were aware of their mother's trick cooking
Following the COVID-19 outbreak, Kenya imposed an immediate lockdown and social distancing. Speaking to Kenya's NTV, Peninah, who lives in a two-room house with no electricity and water supply, said that the past month has been unbearable for her and her children. Whenever the kids demanded food, Peninah would start boiling stones telling her children that food is being prepared. Waiting for their meal to be cooked, the kids often fell asleep, in the hope of eating a meal when they woke up.
The mother of eight kids with the youngest one being just five months old, Peninah told Tuko that the idea of making her children believe that she was cooking food by boiling stones came after her five-year-old son kept asking for food when she had no food supplies.
"My other kids are old enough and always understand when there is no food, however, my five year old son is the most stubborn one who led me to do whatever I had to do to fool him," she told the publication. However, the truth was revealed one night after one of the kids woke up and opened the pot to see stones inside it. "They started telling me that they knew I was lying to them, but I could do nothing because I had nothing," she said.
Help pours in for Peninah and her kids
Peninah's plight was revealed after her neighbour Prisca Momanyi arrived at her home after hearing the loud cries of hungry children. As soon as Peninah's story went viral, help poured in from fellow Kenyans and neighbours. Prisca Momanyi told NTV that they have opened a bank account for the widow and have received donations from people. Peninah was also given a mobile phone by her neighbour.
'I didn't believe that Kenyans can be so loving after I received phone calls from all over the country asking how they might be of help," she told the publication. The 45-year old widow said that her children can now eat a meal three times a day, for the first time since the death of her husband last year.