In October 2014, in the remote village of Kaoro in Rongo, Migori County, Mercy prepared herself to say goodnight to her mother and siblings, they had no idea that, that night would forever change her life. Coming from a single parent home, Mercy’s dad passed away in 2005, leaving her mother Anna Odero, to take care of nine children all on her own. The change came in when Mercy placed a paraffin lamp beside her bed, which would later topple over and set her net and bedding aflame burning her face, torso and legs severely. Without any hesitation, her mother rushed her daughter to Tabaka Hospital where she stayed for 4months undergoing intensive treatment and care. For Anna, being 50years old is a great milestone that bears lot of responsibilities. Her eldest son in his thirties is unemployed, while the rest of her children are still in school.
Even though Mercy suffered extensive burn contractures, she is a very bubbly, active and loving child. The biggest challenge Mercy and her family faced is the lack of empathy from their family members, friends, neighbors and passersby. Most if not all stated that she would eventually die insisting that “what happened to Mercy was because of witch craft”. Some would sometimes feel sorry for mercy but stay away from her as they feared her and her appearance. In school she has some good days and some bad days but her teachers and classmates ensure that no one discriminates or disrespects her. After her treatment in January 2015, Mercy experiences a lot of itching which bothers her productivity and later result into painful wounds or boils causing her to frequently get ill. While in hospital, Mercy received several injections to help with her treatment, but because they were not administered carefully, it eventually affected her nerves causing an inhibition to walk properly.
For Ann Odero, she hopes that her daughter will “fully recover and will be able to read and enjoy life as a little girl should, she is going to get a proper job in future”. She further stresses that, “once my baby girl is healed my neighbors will stop passing my homestead from afar, but will now come home and visit like they used to”.