Tears flow at Kisii home of student who died in Canada
“She used to send me money; I would top up and pay school fees for her siblings; she was supportive. I don’t know who will support me the way she was doing”.
These are the words of John Kiyondi, the distraught father of Kenyan nurse Hellen Wendy Kemunto who drowned in a swimming pool in Canada last week.
Speaking to People Daily, Kiyondi, a peasant farmer, said the family, especially the siblings, were yet to come to terms with the death of their first-born sister.
Kiyondi spoke as the family appealed for financial help to help bring Hellen’s body home for burial at Gotire village, Bomachoge Chache constituency in Kisii county.
The fundraising is being coordinated by family and friends in Kenya and Canada, where Hellen was pursuing a nursing course while working part time to pay her fees and support her family back home.
In a video which she was shooting when she met her death, Hellen, 23, can be seen diving into the deep end of a pool at the Key Motel in Chastworth, Ontario, where she was staying as a guest, on Thursday evening.
She is then seen frantically trying to stay afloat before she goes quiet. ‘I’m not getting in that pool. It looks like an actual dead person,’ one of two men can be heard saying in the Facebook live stream, according to a report in the ‘Daily Mail’.
“She worked with seniors right until the end,’ the paper quotes Alfonce Nyamwaya, one of Helen’s close friends, adding that she was one of the many health employees who had been working long hours in long-term-care homes during Covid-19.
‘She really had a passion for that,’ he added.
The paper further states that Hellen was sharing an apartment in Toronto with her younger brother, identified as Enock, and that she was studying nursing while working part-time.
Left in 2019
Hellen had obtained a 10-year visa to pursue her studies in Canada. She had not returned to Kenya since her arrival in Canada in 2019.
Canadian authorities contacted Kiyondi but only notified him that Hellen had been involved in an accident and was being taken to hospital.
“We have received several condolence messages from our friends and relatives. It is God’s will and there is nothing we can do. All we want is to get her body and bury her,” Kiyondi, a peasant farmer, noted.