A man fled his home in 1974 when was only 29 years old after his father married a second wife. His relatives thought he was dead.
But on Monday, the 73-year-old man identified as Samuel Wambugu showed up at his village in Gitundu area in Kenya – sending villagers and relatives scampering as if they had seen a ghost.
Ms Bilha Wahinga, his 50-year old cousin who first opened the door for him when he returned, could not recognise him.
“I did not want anything to do with him until my mother came and recognised him. My mother knew him and confirmed that it is really him,” she said.
The recognition process even involved the chief.
Gitundu Assistant Chief John Waiganjo Wednesday confirmed to the Nation that, upon research, they were convinced that the lost son had in fact returned.
“We checked his identification card, interrogated him and his relatives. Even some of his peers from childhood have confirmed he is truly the one and are very happy to welcome him home,” the administrator said.
Wambugu was a young energetic man when he left home in 1974 but returns old, frail and ailing. His parents are long dead and so are most of his peers.
Those who have lived long enough to see his return can barely stand on both feet out of old age. His elder brother also died but his sister is still alive.
His father died five years after he disappeared from home while his mother died in 1989.
The Nation caught up with Mr Wambugu at his uncle’s home in Gitundu, Othaya where he has been staying since his return two weeks ago.
Despite his old age and failing body, he still is active and was in fact tilling his elderly aunt’s farm when we met him. He walks in a slow but steady gait.
Mr Wambugu has been missing since 1974 when he quietly left his father’s home with only a few clothes. His decision to leave so unceremoniously has remained a secret for 45 years until now when he revealed that anger drove him away.
“My father married a second wife and gave her a bigger portion of land than ours. He treated us differently and mistreated my mother. It made me angry,” he explained.
Without a clear plan his exodus was bound to be tough and it was.
He ended up in Elgeyo Marakwet where he has been living for the most part of the last 45 years.