OFF-SCREEN BLUES

When acting covers up struggles in life

Medical woes have haunted Aisha Abushiri's family

In Summary

• She has featured in 'Aziza', 'Moyo' and 'Miliki', casting the image of success in acting

• But away from the screen, she looks after her ailing mother, who was diagnosed with breast cancer

When you see her smiles while acting in different local series, you would think she is living a life with no stress, quite comfortable.

Aisha Abushiri is famously known as Mama Madikodiko and also featured in the ‘Aziza’ series, where she was known as Mosi or Mamake Chiku.

She has also featured in 'Moyo', 'Miliki' and 'Mahaba Haba', and is still preparing for other series to come.

However, away from the screen, she is looking after her ailing mother, Mwanambeyu Kibwana, who was diagnosed with breast cancer.

 
 
 

This is one of the greatest challenges she faces in real life. She lives with her mother in Nyali, Mombasa.

Kibwana was diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2016. She had to undergo surgery to cut off her right breast, which was affected.

Abushiri told the Star her mother took her condition positively and accepted to undergo surgery and also attend chemotherapy sessions.

A surgery was done to her and her recovery process took two months, where the wound was being dressed.

“After the surgery, she was responding very well and she was okay,” Abushiri said.

She was later diagnosed with a heart problem and was told it would affect her chemotherapy sessions, so she had to be treated for the heart condition first before she starts her chemotherapy session.

In a span of three months after she had been treated from the heart condition, she started her chemotherapy sessions and they had to travel all the way to Nairobi for them.

 
 
 

She managed to go for four sessions and one day she just collapsed. She suffered a stroke and this was a very big blow to her.

“She got paralysed on one side and she could not speak. I would not recommend anyone to go for chemotherapy because I believe it is a process that gave my mother the stroke,” she said.

To make things worse, she lost her last-born sister, who was very close to her mother and died after suffering from tuberculosis.

“The doctor told us when our mother hears the sad news in her condition, she would die or the stroke would shoot,” Abushiri said.

They, therefore, decided to hide it from her for a whole year and after that, they asked their mother’s sister to break the news to her in a way she would not get too shocked. But after she was told, she took it positively.

BETTER DAYS

Despite the stormy past, Abushiri is grateful as her mother is currently responding well to treatment.

"It was hard for her to move at all but we thank God she can move a little bit now. Her mouth had dislocated and had moved to one side, but now it is back to normal and she can utter some small words,” she said.

Her mother uses signs if she wants to say something and communicate with her children.

Abushiri was born in a family of 10 girls. While others are holed up in different places of the earth, searching for their daily bread, Abushiri remains with her two sisters at her place, where they work in shifts to look after their mother, like bathing her and changing her beddings.

“Koki attends to her in the morning, Dhambii in the afternoon and me in the evening,” Abushiri said, mentioning the two sisters she lives with.

Even though her other siblings are far from home, she is grateful that whenever they come to Mombasa, they do their best to visit and help in attending to their mother.

Abushiri also lives with her eldest daughter Fatma, who has a strong bond with the mother; she only wants her to feed her.

COSTLY AFFAIR

Challenges faced are the expenses to look after their mother.

They have to buy medication for her, ensure the physiotherapist checks on her time and again, and buy adult pampers for her, which are quite expensive.

“A packet of pampers for adults is Sh1,000, and they are 10 pieces inside, and we usually change her four times a day and even more,” Abushiri said.

Another challenge is that her place of work is very far and she has to travel for 36km every day.

She cannot look for a place close to her place of work, so she has to commute on a daily basis just so she could come tend to her mother.

She has to use Sh700 per day for her fare to work, and sometimes she has to skip lunch and when she is very hungry, she uses Sh200 for food a day.

“It is quite challenging, but I am leaving all that to God. When I get my salary I realise that it is already finished,” she said.

Abushiri, however, hopes her mother could fully recover so she could be the tough and strong mother she always used to be and things can go back to normal again.