10 June, 2018, 7:30 am
SERAFINA Mataka yesterday carried out one of the most painful and heartwrenching task as a wife and mother.
She had to confirm to authorities at the Lee Funeral Home in Nairobi, Kenya, the identities of her husband and teenaged son.
Pastor Sakaraia Mataka and Paula Tekei were two of 10 victims of a plane crash in the Aderdare Forest last Tuesday.
As painful as it was, Mrs Mataka found some closure in seeing the bodies of her loved ones. From his injuries, it has been suggested that Mr Mataka had tried to to protect Paula when the FlySAX Cessna C208 aircraft went down.
It has been a little over 10 years since the Mataka family moved to Kitale, which is about an eight-hour drive from Nairobi, as missionaries for the Christian Mission Fellowship International. Paula’s younger siblings, five-year-old John and baby Suliana, were born in Kenya and are currently with elder sister, Lisi, in Kitale.
Mrs Mataka was emotionally distraught but remained steadfast in her faith saying, “sa yaco na nona lewa” (He (God) has made his decision). She recalled her son’s last words before he boarded the car for the airport on Tuesday.
“He told Lisi that as soon as he reached Hong Kong he would buy McDonalds, take a picture and send it to her,” she said.
“Then when he got in the car, he looked at me and said, “Na moce, au na sega ni butuka tale mai na vanua qo.(Bye Mum, I will never step foot on this place again).”
Mrs Mataka said she just brushed his words aside being the joker that Paula was and told him to just hurry and get into the car.
The distraught mother said there appeared to be signs of what was to come because they had a difficult time trying to get baby Suliana to leave Paula and her father. “It seemed as if she knew that they were going, she clung on to them and refused to come to me or Lisi.”
Mr Mataka and Paula were on their way to Fiji when tragedy struck. Mrs Mataka said she had received calls from the airport at about 5pm that Tuesday, but both times the calls were disconnected.
She tried calling them back but there was no response so she called Ethiopian Airlines to enquire whether they had boarded the flight. When she was told there was a no show from the duo, she knew something was wrong. “Paula was looking forward to coming home and spending time with his friends.”
Mrs Mataka confirmed her husband and son would be buried in Kitale. President and Founder of CMFI, Reverend Suliasi Kurulo said Mr Mataka was a faithful and committed servant of the Lord and the church.
The family has received condolence messages from all over the world.
The Fiji Mission in Ethiopia and the Fijian community have been providing support for the family