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Kenyan Man in Lowell near Boston in Dire Need of Community Assistance
Stephen Mwangi
PHOTO:Stephen Mwangi, an ailing Kenyan man and US Army Veteran who resides in Lowell, MA. PIC BY H.MAINA/AJABU MEDIA


Dec,28-2017 09:38:10
LOWELL, MASS.__What started as an uneventful Monday night soon turned painful for a 40 year old Kenyan man living in Lowell, Massachusetts who also served in the United States Army when he was rushed to the ICU at the Beth Israel Hospital in Boston after developing sudden stomach complications.

Speaking to Ajabu Africa News from his hospital bed, Mr Stephen K. Mwangi said that he started experiencing severe stomach pains while watching Monday night football game at his Heritage Gardens Apartment on Middlesex Street.

After noticing that his condition was getting worse Mr. Mwangi decided to call emergency crews who rushed him to Beth Israel in Boston where he was immediately admitted for treatment, with doctors running multiple tests to determine the cause of his illness.

Mr. Mwangi who suffered two strokes in August and October this year was discharged Wednesday night after his condition stabilized.

However, he was instructed to return to hospital in a month's time as an endoscopy test revealed a tumor in his stomach that the doctors want to study further.

According to a close Nigerian friend who initially alerted Ajabu Africa News of his plight on Thursday last week, the Kenyan man has been struggling through severe problems after he was initially hospitalized for about 4 weeks last October following a minor stroke in August which was followed a major one in October.

In the process of going in and out of the Boston Medical Center and Lowell General Hospital, Mr Mwangi lost his job as an Licensed Practical Nurse at a local homecare company.

He has been Living alone and battling illness and he subsequently fell on hard times and has been unable to take care of all his bills since last September, setting off a new slew of problems including eviction notices, threats of repossession of his financed car, among other living expenses.

As can be attested by his close friend and following an investigation by Ajabu News, "This Kenyan man needs urgent help from the community. He has been through enough problems that have now caused him to become very depressed. Stephen Mwani is a very smart and hard working man who just suffered illness but he can overcome  with our help," said Monica Swaida, an insurance agent in Lowell who initially called Ajabu Africa News after getting alarmed by Mwangi’s distress call.

According to Monica, a friend of Mwangi and his insurance agent as well, she noticed that his motor vehicle insurance was about to lapse and decided to check on him via facebook where they are friends.

"I immediately called himand demanded to know what was going on with him. It was then that he told me that he has been going through so many problems with no one to help him and that he thinks he has come to the end. He told me he feels bad that he has lost everything he has worked for in his life after being evicted, facing repossession and battling two strokes that had left one of his legs numb. He was pretty low in spirits."

When Ajabu Africa contacted Mwangi on the phone at 1 am last Thursday, he had already moved to seek refuge at a cheap housing facility that houses homeless people in Lowell.

He also said that he was afraid to return back to Kenya in his condition, hence was actively looking for a new job.

"I have worked very hard since I arrived here in 2005 to improve myself and help my family back home. I served in the US Army at Texas and Mohavi Desert for 1 year then left so that I could get a chance to work more hours and support my family better. For this to happen to me, it feels very discouraging."

However, when Ajabu Media contacted the Heritage Apartments management the following morning, it emerged that Mwangi can still go back to his apartment until the eviction case was heard and determined by a judge.

Mwangi then moved back to his apartment on Friday night, just in time to get ready for a new job he had just secured at another homecare agency in Haverhill, a neighboring city.

A meeting between Mwangi, his landlord and Ajabu Media had been scheduled to take place lastTuesday at 11am in an effort to seek ways to help extend his stay, but it never materialized as news of Mwangi’s ICU hospitalization the previous night emerged.

"I really cannot give you any details about Stephen or any of our tenants without their consent or presence. I am very sorry that he is in the hospital but there is really nothing we can do. We are a private company and have no provisions or special options for veterans or other classes of tenants," said April Silvester, the rental manager at Heritage Properties.

"I wish there is a way we can help but our hands are tied by our company policies and rules. I wish Steve the best and hope you guys can find a way to help him," she added.

Mwangi said that he is not eligible to get any benefits from the US Veterans Agency (VA) as he missed the window to register within 6 years of discharge, in addition to the huge backlog experienced there.

Upon learning of the Mwangi’s predicaments, many Kenyans and other members of the African community at the Ajabu Diaspora Support Network think tank group on WhatsApp vowed to find ways to help the ailing compatriot.

Members concluded that if Mwangi was helped clear all his rent, car payments and insurance arrears, the community could help him avoid homelessness, and give him a chance to rebuild his life as he had already secured a new job.

Newly appointed PCEA Neema church pastoor, Rev. Dr. Eric Muchina (left), together with George Chege, far right and Harrison Maina of Ajabu Media visiting the ailing Steve Mwangi at the Beth Israel Hospital in Boston.

It was also concluded that such help would keep the Kenyan veteran from over working himself to concentrate on healing his battered mind and body.

Well-wishers called Mwangi at the hospital for encouragement with others congratulating him for his boldness in admitting his depression.

"Many people in the Diaspora are living stressful lives, but they do not want to admit it. Admitting you are depressed and seeking help is the first step to healing. I highly congratulate Mwangi for his willingness to step out and seek help. We will do all we can to help," said Jane Njuniria of Nashua, New Hampshire.

"This is a guy who is facing the same issues we face here in our diaspora lives all the time, but his sickness has made his situation worse and difficult to overcome. If there is a fund raiser, I volunteer to be a guest of honor," said Marton Thairu, populary known as Teenie, during a call to Mwangi at the hospital.

Members decided to set up a go-fund me page as an initial step towards raising about $10,000 needed to clear the huge burden facing the Kenyan young man. Plans for a physical funds drive are being worked on and will be communicated as soon as ready.

Before being discharged last night, Mwangi received a visit from the new pastor of the PCEA Neema church in Lowell, Rev. Peter Muchina accompanied by one Ajabu Diaspora Group member, George Chege.

"I really thank God for the encouragement and help I am getting from you, the group members and the pastor who just visited. I don't feel alone anymore," said the Mwangi, a third born in a family of six originally from Mukurewini town, Nyeri county in central Kenya, while texting from a commuter rail train on his way back to Lowell.

Well wishers who may also have an extra room at their homes in Lowell, Haverhill, Methuen or neighboring cities are also urged to volunteer to take in Mwangi on a temporary basis as he navigates his way out of the current hardship.

To donate to Mwangi's cause: Click the GoFund Me link below.

More details on coming soon.

For more info, contact/text:781-953-2490, or 978-996-7911
For those who prefer to use CashApp, send to: $AjabuMedia1 or 781-953-2490