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Reprieve as Kenyan mother gets visa to visit comatose son in Canada

By Hillary Kimuyu February 24th, 2022 2 min read

The mother of a Kenyan student in Canada has been granted a temporary visa to go and see her son who is on life support, after previously being denied.

Lilian Ndiego had previously applied for a single-entry temporary resident visa to travel to Winnipeg to see her 25-year-old son Tevin Obiga, who is in intensive care at St. Boniface Hospital but it was denied.

On Tuesday, she was relieved after she was granted her visa after Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said that Ndiego’s visa had been approved after “additional information” was provided in the second application.

In an interview with Radio Canada News, she said she’d previously applied for the visa but was denied by the High Commission of Canada in Kenya on February 15.

“I’m excited and I’m very grateful,” said Ndiego.

“I’m looking forward to go and see my son, and to give him moral support.”

Her application was denied despite the Kenya High Commission in Ottawa pleading with its counterpart in Kenya to allow Ndiego to come to Canada in a letter dated February 4.

“I was disappointed because what they wrote they were telling me that most Kenyans who go to Canada they don’t come back,” said Ndiego, who admitted to having so many sleepless nights the past five weeks.

In its letter, the Kenya High Commission in Ottawa wrote that Tevin is “at high risk of imminent death,” but there is still a chance, albeit slim, that he survives.

Obinga was in his fourth year of computer engineering studies at the University of Manitoba when he fell ill and was admitted to the hospital on January 13.

Doctors performed a medical procedure on him two days later, but he never woke up.

On January 19, he had to be moved to the intensive care ward where he remains hooked up to several machines, including a lung bypass machine.

In a previous interview, his mother said she said her son was diagnosed with blastomycosis, a fungal infection that affects the lungs.

Dr Owen Mooney, the patient’s physician also wrote three letters pleading for Ndiego to be granted passage to Canada to be with her son as “his condition is deteriorating rapidly.”

Mooney said Obiga is on the maximum amount of life support a patient can receive.

Winnipeg South Member of Parliament Terry Duguid also wrote a letter of his own to the High Commission of Canada in Kenya on February 4.

In the letter, the MP said the primary reason for Ndiego’s visit to Winnipeg is to be with her son. Duguid also touted Ndiego’s previous 20-year career in social work in that she has “a strong inclination to returning to her duties and children, following her stay in Canada.”

Ndiego is expected to arrive in Winnipeg later this week and she has one thing on her mind.