Her husband still wanted to marry and support her—but he sadly dies 8 months later.
Terry Gobanga was about to marry the man of her dreams, Harry, and was excited that the day has finally come. However, her family and friends were confused when Terry didn’t show up on her wedding day. It was then that they got the news: she had been abducted, gang-raped, and was left on the roadside to die. The Nairobi woman had a close call—but she survived.
Terry recalled: “The night before the wedding I realised that I had some of Harry’s clothes, including his cravat. He couldn’t show up without a tie, so a friend who had stayed the night offered to take it to him first thing in the morning. We got up at dawn and I walked her to the bus station.
“As I was making my way back home, I walked past a guy sitting on the bonnet of a car – suddenly he grabbed me from behind and dumped me in the back seat. There were two more men inside, and they drove off. It all happened in a fraction of a second.
“A piece of cloth was stuffed in my mouth. I was kicking and hitting out and trying to scream. When I managed to push the gag out, I screamed: ‘It’s my wedding day!’ That was when I got the first blow. One of the men told me to ‘co-operate or you will die’.”
The men took turns to rape her, stabbed her in the stomach, and threw her out of the van into the streets to die. Thankfully, a young child saw her, and told her grandmother about it. Police soon came to the scene, but Terry was no longer breathing and had no pulse.
But on the way to the mortuary, she suddenly choked on the blanket and coughed. The policeman said: “She’s alive?” And he turned the car around and drove her to the biggest government hospital in Kenya. Once they reached the hospital, doctors started contacting churches who were missing a bride. By coincidence, the first church they called at was All Saints Cathedral. “Are you missing a bride?” the nurse asked.
Harry and her family rushed to the hospital to see her, only to hear the next bad news. The doctor said, “The stab wound went deep into your womb, so you won’t be able to carry any children.”
Harry kept saying he still wanted to marry Terry. “I want to take care of her and make sure she comes back to good health in my arms, in our house,” he said.
And finally in July 2005, seven months after their first planned wedding, Harry and Terry got married and went on a honeymoon.
Twenty-nine days later after their honeymoon, tragedy struck once more.
Terry said: “Twenty-nine days later, we were at home on a very cold night. Harry lit a charcoal burner and took it to the bedroom. After dinner, he removed it because the room was really warm. I got under the covers as he locked up the house. When he came to bed he said he was feeling dizzy, but we thought nothing of it.
“It was so cold we couldn’t sleep, so I suggested getting another duvet. But Harry said he couldn’t get it as he didn’t have enough strength. Strangely, I couldn’t stand up either. We realised something was very wrong. He passed out. I passed out. I remember coming to. I would call him. At times he would respond, at other times he wouldn’t. I pushed myself out of bed and threw up, which gave me some strength. I started crawling to the phone. I called my neighbour and said: ‘Something is wrong, Harry is not responding.’”
As soon as she woke up in the hospital after neighbors brought them there, Terry immediately looked for her husband: “I woke up in hospital and asked where my husband was. They said they were working on him in the next room. I said: ‘I’m a pastor, I’ve seen quite a lot in my life, I need you to be very straight with me.’ The doctor looked at me and said: ‘I’m sorry, your husband did not make it.’”
People started pointing fingers at her, saying she has a ‘bad omen’ hanging over her, and that she has been cursed. Parents wouldn’t allow their children to get close to her, and other people started avoiding her too. She became depressed as well, as she started to keep away from people as well. She just lost her husband, and there was no chance that she could have children. Her world started to crumble. But just as she was slowly succumbing to her problems, a man named Tonny Gobanga kept visiting her.
Tonny gave her strength with his words, and always encouraged her to fight back. Terry soon realized that she had fallen for him. She said: “One time he didn’t call for three days and I was so angry. That’s when it hit me that I had fallen for him.”
Tonny soon proposed to marry her, but she was hesitant. She then told him to read magazines and headlines about her, and then decide if still wanted to marry her. But Tonny was already set. He knew she was the only one for him.
But I said: “Listen, there’s another thing – I can’t have children, so I cannot get married to you.”
“Children are a gift from God,” he said. “If we get them, Amen. If not, I will have more time to love you.”
I thought: “Wow, what a line!” So I said Yes.
It was three years after her first wedding, and she was very scared. When they were exchanging vows, she thought: “Here I am again Father, please don’t let him die.”
Months after she got married to Tonny, she fell ill and had to go to the hospital. She soon learned that she was pregnant! However, because of the stab wound to her womb, doctors told her to have complete bed rest. But all went well, and they had a baby girl who they named Tehille. Four years later, they had another baby girl named Towdah.