Mixed feelings for mother of quadruplets

God, sometimes, is too generous that He answers prayers in numbers. Yes, the Christian faith teaches against using swear words and God’s name in the same sentence, but Francoise Nyirakanyana will not hesitate to do so.
Nyirakanyana (2nd R) and her husband together with their older daughters hold the quadruplets. The New Times/ Courtesy.
Nyirakanyana (2nd R) and her husband together with their older daughters hold the quadruplets. The New Times/ Courtesy.

God, sometimes, is too generous that He answers prayers in numbers. Yes, the Christian faith teaches against using swear words and God’s name in the same sentence, but Francoise Nyirakanyana will not hesitate to do so.

The 36-year-old, now a mother of six, had fervently prayed to beget a child of his new husband, who was past his prime, or so one would say.

The resident of Cyuve sector, Musanze district, married Mathias Ntawuruhunga, an octogenarian widower. She already had two children from her previous marriage, and add that to the Ntawuruhunga’s seven children from his previous marriage, and the number swells. Yet the couple longed for a child that would cement their bondage.

But when the longing was answered, it came with shock. Nyirakanyana, during antenatal visit, received the news that she would give birth to quadruplets. Speaking to this paper, last week, while receiving a house donated to the family by a well-wisher, Nyirakanyana reflects on how the yearning and good news of finally conceiving was smothered by doubts as to whether the peasant family would be able to fend for all the children, let alone the two sets of twins, once they are born. And upon delivering, a desperate life set in.

Shocking news

She says she went for antenatal care two months before delivery and she was surprised when she was told she will deliver four babies.

“There I was surprised and thought it will not be possible for me and my poor husband to raise them to the maturity,” Nyirakanyana said. “When I was pregnant I felt I will deliver twins but when I went for antenatal care the nurses told me that I will deliver four, it was unbelievable and unbearable, I remained hopeless and prayed to God only.”

Nyirakanyana’s quadruplets are evenly shared sets of baby boys and girls.

She says she felt hopeless due to the fact that the family had no income generating project yet it was a large family.

“We are all jobless, we depend on subsistence farming; people used to tell me that in order to breast feed babies a parent should drink well and I failed to get where to get such food and drinks, I was desperate as I didn’t believe I will get milk. For me, it was impossible,” she recalls.

“What I can say honestly is that I was not happy when I delivered, I was always angry and nobody could see me smiling as other parents do with new born. I thought their life on earth was impossible,” she says.

She is the mother of six now and Ntawuruhunga’s first wife who died left seven children for the couple to look after.

The other challenge Nyirakanyana and her babies faced is that despite the support by local leaders and neighbours, the whole family occupied a very small house with three rooms which they felt was uncomfortable.

“You see this small house in which all of us stay, it was for the former wife and ought to have been owned by her children. We stay in it, but it’s not enough for us,” she says.

Hope after delivering

Fortunately, after she delivered, local authorities gave the family a cow which gives children milk. “It was like God’s miracle, though I was desperate I have seen that people also recognised my problem and provided a quick support, the cow now gives us milk,” she says.

 “I now breast feed simply because children need breast milk to grow up well but the cow also provides enough milk for them,” she adds.

At the moment she was given the cow, local authorities and neighbours also kept supporting the family. She was also given food to eat and a mattress.

 “Whatever support I received, it is difficult to satisfy the whole family. Though I need to feed my babies first, still other children need care,” she says.

“The milk I was supposed to drink and get breast milk was shared with other family members. It was not sufficient as a parent, it is not easy to consume everything alone,” she says.

But the lucky mother last weekend was given a moderate house by Mothers’ Union of Shyira Diocese in Northern Province.

The four-room, house worth more than Rwf4 million, has offered decent accommodation to the mother and her children.

“This house is a surprise; I didn’t know it was built for me. Well wishers surprised me with it. I am now hopeful that the future for my children and I is better. It is beyond my understanding,” Nyirakanyana said with a smile.

The house, which also has a small piece of land for her to cultivate, comes fully-furnished.

Chantal Mbanda, representing Mothers’ Union, said the group supports vulnerable people. She said it was due to God’s will for them to manage building that house for Nyirakanyana.

“She has lived bad life and we prayed to God to relieve her, so that’s what God did. She now has a good house. As Mother’s Union, we couldn’t have done it if God hadn’t been on our side,” she said.

The Mayor of Musanze district, Winfrida Mpembyemungu, commended the support from Mother’s Union, adding that the family needed the house and appealed residents to keep supporting one another.

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