The mother of Juliet Otieno, an Ethiopian Airlines crash victim, says she sensed her daughter had died in the Sunday accident despite not knowing the flight Ms Otieno had booked.
Sellah Indimuli Murundu, 73, says upon receiving news of the plane crash from a neighbour, she immediately developed a strange feeling, which told her: “Juliet is dead”.
“On Sunday, I had gone to a neighbour’s house, where several people had gathered. One of them, a teacher, told me: ‘Mum, an Ethiopian Airlines plane [from Addis Ababa] has crashed’. I felt my blood stop and pump instantly, and, thereafter, exclaimed: ‘Oh, my Julie is dead!’ I do not know why those words came out of me,” Ms Murundu told EDAILY at her Tongaren home in Bungoma County.
The elderly woman says Juliet Otieno, who had traveled to Egypt for personal reasons, had told her Saturday night that she would be traveling back to Kenya — via Ethiopia — the following day.
Juliet Otieno, however, did not inform her about the flight she would board.
The mother-and-daughter did not communicate with each other on Sunday morning, said Ms Murundu.
The plane crash victim’s mum has appealed for help in educating the deceased’s two college-going children, namely Bradley and Wendy.
“Elsie [Ms Otieno’s first born] is employed. Wendy and Bradley are university students. Wendy is a Second Year student at the United States International University (USIU) while Bradley is a First Year student at the University of Nairobi (UoN),” said Ms Murundu.
“Juliet solely paid for her children’s school fees, given their dad isn’t working. I appeal to Juliet’s relatives to try and look into the welfare of the now-motherless children. I am elderly, and not in a position to engage in meaningful income-generating employment,” said Ms Murundu.
Juliet Otieno, 51, was the acting general manager for human resource development at the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA).
She was married to Francis Otieno, a resident of Yala in Siaya County, whom they share three children together.
Ms Otieno’s mother says the deceased pursued her education at Kakamega Primary School, Lugulu Girls’ High School, Moi Girls’ High School-Eldoret, and Moi University.
She is a former employee of the Kenya Posta Services.
“Juliet was a quick learner, and that, maybe, explains why rose through the ranks quite fast,” said Ms Murundu.
“My daughter, a third born in a family of seven [two boys and five girls], was loved by all her siblings and kinsmen. Not only was she intelligent, but wise. She advised all of us, including me, to take responsibility when we did something wrong,” said Ms Murundu.
Ms Murundu’s husband, who is Juliet’s biological father, died in 2007.
(Writing by Brian Okoth)