- Utalii Lepeto was born in 2001 and never spoke until on Saturday, April 10, 2021, when he uttered his first word, to his cousin Paul Letoiye
- Letoiye said that he thought that he was dreaming when he heard Utalii waking him up in the morning with a greeting, "habari yako"
- Letoiye, who had been staying with Utalii, said that on that day, they ended up not even taking tea because of shock and joy
A 20-year-old man, believed to dumb, has left residents of Lorubae in Samburu East with their mouths open after he miraculously spoke for the first time since he was born.
On Saturday, April 10, Utalii Lepeto started talking and his voice was becoming clearer, shocking his family and neighbours who had never heard him utter a word.
His cousin Paul Letoiye, who was the first one to hear him talking, said that he thought he was dreaming as he had not gotten out of bed.
Letoiye was shocked when Utalii woke him up saying “habari”, meaning “hello”.
According to Daily Nation, the elated Utalii walked around their village later in the day while talking, shocking the neighbours and siblings.
“We did not even take breakfast. I was so happy to hear him utter some words,” Letoiye told the Nation.
Jane Lepalsintio was the first neighbour to be greeted by Utalii while heading their village.
“I was shocked when he asked me "habari". I took some time before responding. It is such a great miracle because he used to communicate to us through sign language,” she recalled.
His mother Sabato Lepeto and grandmother Naomi Lepeto shed tears of joy, thanking God for what they termed “a miracle”.
According to his mother Lepeto, the boy was born in 2001, and after seven years of not speaking, he was taken to the Isiolo School for the Deaf.
Before his admission to the school in 2008, and like is the tradition, Utalii’s hearing was screened, and it was established that he could not hear, not even a scream.
In 2015 Utalii, who had already learned to communicate in sign language, started attempting to speak but could only make some sounds until he sat his KCPE exams in the same year.
Amina Ibrahim, who cared for the boy while in school from 2011, told Daily Nation that she later discovered that he could hear although one had to raise their voice.
Before, his parents used to communicate with him through sign language and would, on several occasions, face challenges interpreting his gestures, which threw him into social separation.
“We used to speak to him in a loud voice, and he responded through sign language while he struggled to utter words,” Jamila Lepeto, a sister, recalled.
With his parents being convinced that he was deaf, they him enrolled at a secondary school for the deaf in Nyeri, only to drop out three years later after his sponsor withdrew support while in Form Three.
He joined a group of youth involved in sand harvesting at the nearby River Ewaso Nyiro to assist his mother, the sole breadwinner for the family of eight, to fend for the family.
All this while, his family said, they kept hope high that he would one day speak, and years later, it came to pass.
And yes, years later, Utalii is now able to speak and respond to greetings and other questions though he still struggles to hear.
“Nilianza kuongea juzi. Nasema 'Habari yako'? (“I started to speak the day before yesterday. How are you?" Utalii was quoted as saying.
His sister Jamila said having known how to speak, Utalii should continue his education to achieve his dreams.
Antony Mwangi, the health specialist, said there is a possibility the young man was not accurately assessed while being admitted to the special school.
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Meanwhile, Legit.ng reported that Ayanna Williams, a Texas woman who held the Guinness World Records title for having the longest fingernails on a pair of hands for 30 years, has finally cut her nails.
But, according to Guinness World Records, she managed to break her own record with a new length of 24 feet and 0.07 inches before cutting them off over the weekend.