“He told me ‘Mum, I am going but when I come back I will enlarge the ring’. He was to come back in two weeks’ time to pay my dowry and then we hold our wedding on November 16 to formalize our union of many years.”
These are the exact words of Rebecca Otiende Mururi, wife of the late Evans Araka Mururi, who was among six people killed on Thursday in the Mandera terror attack.
Mrs Mururi and Evans were preparing to exchange their wedding vows next month before her husband met his untimely death.
“It was a surprise. Everything was a surprise to me. I never imagined we will do a wedding even though we were married. He surprised me with a wedding gown and a ring,” she says.
“Unfortunately, the engagement ring did not fit but he promised that he would enlarge it. We did some clothes with my best maids and did something like a party on Sunday before he left,” narrates Mrs Mururi.
“He did not want to go back on Monday. He wanted to return on Thursday but he had to report on Monday,” she says as she reaches for her handkerchief.
Mrs Mururi vividly recounts the last time she talked to her late husband after he had just left Nairobi to Mandera where he was working as a Credit Manager with Islamic Relief, a humanitarian organization operating in Daadab, Mandera and Wajir.
“The last communication we had was on Tuesday night because since we were planning for our wedding which was due on 16th of next month, we were talking with the best maid, best man. It was a long talk. We talked until late in the night around 11pm,” says Mrs Mururi as she fights back tears.
They also had a small party before her husband left for work on Monday but it is his behavior during the party and afterwards that left her wondering what might be wrong with him.
“He a lot that day and even when we arrived at home, he still insisted that I cook for him. Then he left on Monday morning, that was the last day I saw him,” she says amid sobs.
Another unusual step taken by her husband sent chills down her spine.
“Before he left for his workplace in Mandera, he took my leso (wrapper) and scarf telling me that I would use the items to identify him, words which I did not give any importance then until this tragedy struck,” she recounts.
The late Evans together with his wife had five children. The first and second born children are both boys and twins. The last born is a girl who is aged 5.
Mrs Mururi describes her late husband as a strict but loving family man who put the family ahead in every decision he made.
“Evans was very strict. He would always stick to the budget and anything arising out of the budget, he would not do. He was very aggressive, hardworking and I would say he was also a farmer apart from being a humanitarian officer. He was someone who loved his family.”
“He had just joined the organization in last year February and made the decision for the sake of the family as he was out of employment and he was the sole bread winner. It was hard for me to let him go but he told me to let him go for the sake of the family,” recalls Mrs Mururi.