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Mary Mwandisha knew early on that to escape the crushing poverty that had dogged her family, she had to work hard in school. She attended primary school in Kilifi, where she scored 422 marks in the national examination, earning herself a slot at the prestigious Alliance Girls High School. There was uncertainty about whether she would join that school given the precarious financial position of her family. Luckily, a charity organisation, impressed by her academic excellence, sponsored her education at Alliance Girls High School where she passed with flying colours, scoring an A in the secondary school national examination.

Mary Mwandisha

Having scored an A, she qualified for a Medicine course— she had always wanted to be a doctor. She also got a sponsorship to study Computer Science in Canada but she let it go because Medicine is what she was passionate about. So she enrolled for Medicine at the University of Nairobi.

Having finished her studies, she got a job as a doctor in Meru, using her salary to take care of her family. She was now a doctor and was beginning to enjoy the fruits of many years of labour. Even as she worked in Meru, she had longed to be closer to her family and that’s why she applied for a county job in Taita Taveta.

She got a call from the county government asking her to come and pick up an offer letter. It’s on Sunday July 24, 2022, that she boarded a Modern Coast bus to Voi to pick her letter. Before she boarded that bus, she called her mom, informing her that she was on her way, and promised to call her when she arrived in Voi at around 4am the next day. Her mom wished her a safe journey. The call never came.

Dr. Mwandisha’s mum was anxious. It was 5am yet no call had come, an hour after the time her daughter had promised to call. She called her Safaricom and Airtel lines but none was going through. Stressed up, she sent her an anxious text message expressing the hope that she was well and asking her to call when she arrived.

It’s later in the day that her worst fears were confirmed. Her daughter, Mary Mwandisha, was among the fatalities of the Modern Coast bus that had plunged from a bridge into a river in Tharaka Nithi. Her daughter, the light of the family, was no more.


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