It has been two-and-a-half weeks since Alphonsine Nyirasafari, 28, a mother of four, gave birth to triplets. But instead of the father of the kids receiving the news with excitement, he chose to flee the home, apparently for lack of means to provide for the family.
Nyirasafari, a resident of Ikaze village, Kabeza cell, Muhima sector, Nyarugenge district, delivered triplets, on January 11. The triplets are her second delivery after she begot a son four years ago with the same man.
But the new mother is hapless as there is no one to help her provide for the four children, because the sole breadwinner, Emmanuel Mudacyahwa, left her right after she brought the triplets, all boys, to the world.
"He just disappeared after establishing that I was about to deliver triplets. He only came back once to see the newborns. When we told him that he had three boys at once, he said, 'it's up to you and your mother.' Since then I have never seen him and I do not know where he is staying. He even switched off his cell phone," Nyirasafari said.
With such a challenging task of raising triplets, one would want house-helps at hand. But for Nyirasafari, it is a luxury, much as she is itching to have one. For now, she attends to all the children alone.
"I am being helped by my young sister and another volunteer. My sister has to go back home soon because she is needed as our mother depends on her as well," Nyirasafari said.
Village authorities have urged her to go to her mother's place in Rutongo, a a suburb in the outskirts of Kigali City.
She is, however, pessimistic about the idea, because her mother does not have enough resources to sustain her with the four kids.
Speaking to The New Times, the National Women Council coordinator in Muhima sector, Beata Kandutiye, said that they are aware of the case and they are lobbying concerned institutions to help Nyirasafari.
Since giving birth to the triplets weighing 2.2, 2.1kg, and 1.8 kilogrammes, she has received aid of Rwf31,020 from the neighbours and good Samaritans.
She spent this money on two umbrellas and warm clothes for the babies, and paid her monthly rent of Rwf20,000.
Some neighbours also supported her individually; one of them gave her access to fetch water for free, while another one paid her electricity bills.
Despite this support, Nyirasafari still needs more help from any well wisher because breast-feeding cannot sustain three normal growing babies without any supplementary baby milk.
"I do not have enough to feed my babies, no clothes for them, really I need help," Nyirasafari appealed.
Clementine Mukakarara, the head of Ikaze village, said they are aware of Nyirasafari's case and that they communicated to the sector authorities for more sustainable help to the mother.
"We did all that we could and we involved the residents of our village; they provided her with food and basic needs and we still hope that more will come," she said.
Nyirasafari and her husband Mudacyahwa met while working on construction site back in 2008, where he worked as a mason and Nyirasafari as a painter.
They fell in love and two months later, they settled to start a family, until December last year.
In the middle of Muhima slam, near Nyabugogo market, there is a rundown shack, which serves as home to Nyirasafari and her family. All that they possess is a dilapidated mattress on which the triplets are sleeping. It is spread on the ground, a mosquito net hung over it.
On the other side of the room are possessions of the family comprising of a basin holding dishes, two bags holding their clothes, a few small cans, and some raw food wrapped in a khaki bag. The other room is empty.
Despite the abode being a squalor, the rent is still a challenging issue to her.
"We used to rent a Rwf25,000 house when we were still together with my husband. Now that I am no longer able to afford such an amount alone, I moved into this one that I pay Rwf16,000 per month, but it is still too expensive for me," Nyirasafari said.