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Househelp infected my son with an STI

Businesswoman Njeri Kinyanjui is still coming to terms with the agony of employing a naive-looking rural girl  as a househelp who would  turn into a sexual predator.

Yet Mrs Kinyanjui fell into a trap that many city mothers have come to be familiar with, that of welcoming a hardworking househelp without conducting the necessary background check.

When she employed the househelp on February 4, the lady only identified herself as Naomi, a mother of five from Kisii. She had no identification card. She was still waiting to be issued with one.

Mrs Kinyanjui, a mother of two who lives in Juja town, was desperate at the time. Juggling business and house chores had become difficult. She immediately oriented Naomi on her duties and how to take care of the child.

“I considered myself lucky to have found a girl who was keen to instructions and extremely clean,” said Mrs Kinyanjui. She never had a quarrel with the househelp for failing to carry out her assigned chores.

So impressed was Mrs Kinyanjui with her new househelp, she ignored the early signs of trouble. Her son never liked Naomi, which was unusual because he had always gotten along well with all the previous househelps.

“I would come home in the evening and find my son had refused to be washed by the househelp. He would insist on being washed by his father,” said Mrs Kinyanjui.

All this time,  she  never suspected something could be happening to her son while she was away.

Pain when passing urine

In March, her son started complaining of pain when passing urine. Samples of his urine showed that he had an infection.

“My son had been complaining of pain when passing urine and with time he started having a foul smell coming from his private parts. That is when we sought medical attention and he was diagnosed with an infection,” explained Mrs Kinyanjui.

She thought had contracted the infection from his school. But when she went to see his teacher she was informed that the school’s toilets are disinfected daily and are of the Asian type that are unlikely to cause an infection.

She resolved to inspect the toilets in her maisonette house and ensure the househelp cleaned and disinfected them every day.

But the infection persisted. The antibiotics that had been prescribed did not end the boy’s suffering and at some point the pain became too much and his private parts produced a foul smell.

“All this time Naomi was looking troubled and kept telling me she needed to go home and see her children,” said Mrs Kinyanjui.

She later relieved her of her duties on April 7 after she found her excuses for going home lame.

After the househelp left, Mrs Kinyanjui took her son for another checkup at Aga Khan hospital. The doctor said the bacteria was resistant and could have been contracted from someone. It was a rare sexually transmitted infection that combines different types of bacteria.

“It seemed absurd, but when I asked my son to tell me if there was something that was done to him, he opened up and said aunty (the househelp) had been molesting him,” said Mrs Kinyanjui.

The boy narrated how the househelp would lock him up in the bathroom as she showered, and tell him to stare at her naked body. She would then take him to the bedroom and rape him.

A shocked Mrs Kinyanjui could not believe the hardworking househelp who looked so harmless could sexually molest her son.

The doctor  recommended that she takes her son to a psychologist to ascertain the claims.

“He kept on repeating the same story when asked by his father, the psychologist and even other doctors. I knew this was a police case and reported the matter at Juja Police Station,” said Mrs Kinyanjui.

She then tried to lure Naomi to come back to work,  but the lady kept giving excuses that she would come after a week.

“It seemed that she knew what was happening because at some point she even told me she was sorry for not giving me her best output,” she added.

Naomi is still at large. Her victim is still under medication.

Failed to scrutinise

For Mrs Kinyanjui, she regrets never insisting on Naomi’s identification card and details about her family in Kisii. Maybe a little scrutiny may have saved her boy from a sexual predator.

“My advice to mothers would be that they be close to their children so that they can realise when something is happening to them,” said Mrs Kinyanjui.