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Fridah: I gave this man my love, he chopped off my arm

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“I will never forgive my ex-husband. He ruined my entire life by chopping off my hand. I now feel like a burden to society, particularly to my mother. I can no longer do anything for myself,” says Fridah Nyanga Nguya.

In an interview, the 23-year-old mother of two says the debilitating loss of her right hand during a domestic squabble at her matrimonial home in Mavuno, Lamu West, marked the end of the six-month marriage.

Fridah met 26-year-old Joseph Baya Kwicha in April 2020. By then, she already had two children from a previous relationship. She was working as a hairdresser at a salon within Mpeketoni town, a job that sustained her and her children aged seven and six years.

Joseph, on the other hand, had no job. 

Fridah Nyanga Nguya, 23, whose right hand was chopped off by her husband during a domestic squabble in Lamu. 

Photo credit: Kalume Kazungu | Nation Media Group

After some weeks of courtship, the two decided to move in together. Unfortunately, Fridah says, the man’s true colours came to the fore within six months of the move.

She says he would go to the salon and demand the money she made, lying that he would send it to her two children, only for him to spend it on other things. Whenever she sought to know where the money had gone, he would become violent.

‘Too jealous’

“I got tired. It was clear that I was headed nowhere with the man. He became too jealous and would visit my place of work and confront me in front of my boss and clients. He would embarrass me for no reason,” says Fridah.

One day in November 2020, she decided to pack her belongings and leave. The previous night, her husband had beaten her for more than six hours.

“After realising he had not been sending any cash to my children, I demanded that he give me all the money that he used to take from me. That was an offence to him. He beat me thoroughly and warned me that he would strangle me to death if I attempted to raise the alarm. Neighbours couldn’t assist since the door was locked from the inside,” says Fridah.

She adds: “I waited for him to leave home the following morning. I immediately packed my belongings and took refuge in another area within Mpeketoni. I knew if I continued living with the man, he would kill me.”

But after a week, the man traced Fridah to her new home.

One evening, he showed up at her place and demanded to see her with the intention of reconciling. Because she had informed her landlady about Joseph’s violent character, she tried to talk to him and convince him to leave.

“I was in the bathroom taking a bath. The bathroom is located outside the house. Suddenly, I heard the landlady shouting, telling me to run away since my husband was coming after me with a panga,” says Fridah.

Unfortunately, the man caught up with her … and chopped off her right hand.

Her husband continued to cut her on the hands, face and head.

“My husband was ready to send me to my grave that evening. After realising that I was unconscious, with blood oozing from almost every part of my body, he fled. I regained consciousness later and found myself at Mpeketoni sub-county hospital. I had been rushed there by neighbours and other well-wishers,” says Fridah.

She was referred to Jocham Hospital and then Coast General Hospital in Mombasa where she was treated for two months.

Although she strives to appear happy throughout the interview, with a wide smile constantly on her face, the violent past weighs heavily on her.

Her attacker was arrested shortly after and he is currently serving 30 years in prison for attempting to kill her.

Though thankful that her offender has been punished, she feels it is not enough.

“He will serve his term and when 30 years are done, he will come out and rebuild his life with both hands, an opportunity that he stole from me,” Fridah says bitterly.

She further reveals that although she is healing, one day at a time, she still holds a deep grudge against her ex-husband.

“I can never forgive him no matter how remorseful he becomes or how many times he seeks forgiveness. I cannot go past his inhumane act. In fact, I feel the 30-year jail term isn’t enough. Had I been in a position, I would as well chop off his hand and beg for him not to be jailed so that all of us suffer in this difficult world. But since I do not have that capacity, let him just rot in jail for the rest of his life,” she says.

Fridah says when she had both her hands, she used to do everything for herself. But now she has to rely on her mother to fend for her and her two children.

“No one is willing to employ me again because of the state I am in. Some employers have tried only to fire me after less than a week. I am back to being like a child,” Fridah says.

Support

Her appeal to well-wishers is for them to support her financially so that she can start a business. She also hopes for a sponsor to help her get an artificial hand.

“I am calling on well-wishers, all those touched by my story to help me. I have lots of problems. I need money to educate my two sons … alongside some capital for a business,” says Fridah.

As the world marks the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, Fridah’s message to women experiencing difficulties in their relationships is that they should take the bold step of fleeing from their violators.

“Ensure you run away and be safe wherever you’ll be. No love or marriage is worth your life,” she says.



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