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#LOCAL: Sadness and joy

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Ordinarily, the birth of a child should bring joy to any family. But in the case of the family of Terhemba, native of Abetse Mbamter, Mbayion in Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State, the birth of their triplet girls brought sadness and joy.

This is because on May 26, 2019, after their mother, Mluwam, was delivered of three beautiful daughters, their father, David got knocked down by a motorcycle and died while running around to get things for the babies. “Life can be wicked and cruel.” That may be the conclusion of the triplets; Seson, Surumshima and Suem, when they grow up.

Mama Anenge Lokoja, David’s mother-in-law said: “Few minutes after they were delivered at the hospital in Gboko, their father, David Terhemba, was killed in a motorcycle accident. He left Atuna Clinic Gboko to go and get some baby things for his newborn babies when the unfortunate incident happened.”

Terhemba was buried on Saturday, June 15, 2019, in Mbayion. He is survived by his aged mother, wife, seven children and three brothers. He was a rice middleman. Three of his seven children are in primary school. And now, the responsibility of taking care of this family rests squarely on the shoulders of his 27-year-old wife.

For Mluwam, it is a mixed feeling of happiness and emptiness as the big challenge now is who will help her take care of her large family of seven children and an aged mother in-law. “We have little that can be called our own,” she told Daily Sun in Gboko where she is currently living with her mother and the triplets. She had earlier lost a child that would have made her children eight.

She said her husband’s death is painful: “When I learned that my husband was dead, I felt bad and wept profusely. I wept because he left me in this difficult world with a large family to take care of. If he had been around, the responsibility would have been his. Who will now help me take care of these orphans? I have no capacity to take care of them.

“My husband has left me with his aged mother, three brothers and our children. My children would have been eight but we lost one at age two. His brothers are peasant farmers. They have little or nothing to take care of the kids. The birth of the triplets itself came unexpectedly. I was not expecting that I was going to give birth to triplets. It was after delivery that I realised I was carrying triplets.”
Although she admitted that she was happy at the birth of her triplets, her happiness has turned to emptiness because the family has lost its breadwinner.
“I was happy. But what am I without my husband? Who will now support me in taking care of the children? This is beyond my capacity,” Mluwam said while fighting hard to hold back her tears.
Like any parent, it is the desire of the widow that her daughters grow up and acquire formal education. She is hopeful that God will help her to achieve that purpose so that the children will also contribute to the development of society: “I know that God is merciful and will help me. He has already come to me through Ukan Kurugh.”
Ukan is an activist using the social media to touch lives. He told Daily Sun: “A patient at the hospital where the triplets were born drew my attention to the plight of the family. That was how I came in.”
He explained that with support from kindhearted Nigerians, he was able to trace them to Mbayion: “It is one remote village with poor road leading to it. But I was determined to reach them. At the time, the mother was not even aware that her husband was no more.
“According to what I gathered, she was told that her husband was involved in accident and was being treated for fracture in a certain village. Now, after presenting her with the cash and the provisions that I took with me, I suggested that she should relocate to Gboko where it will be easier to reach her with help. Now, she is living with her biological mother and triplets in Gboko.
“I have plans for the triplets. A lot of people have assured me that they will be sending help to them through me. So, I am confident that they will be enrolled in school when they must have come of age.”
At the moment, Mluwam relies on spirited individuals to fend for not just the triplets; but, the rest of the family members her husband left behind.

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