Nairobi, Kenya (CNN) — The tin shack looks like any other in a patch of small plots on the dusty outskirts of Nairobi. It’s the haunting sound that grabs you, the awful moaning and cries coming from within.
It’s Thomas Matoke’s home. But it’s more like a cell. Matoke, 33, is tied to a steel bedframe with a piece of blue rope. He’s surrounded by pools of his urine, his mattress soiled and ripped to shreds.
His moans are interrupted when he chews his hand or the bedframe. He can’t speak to tell his mother what he wants or feels. He’s alone in his world of screams and agony.
He’s been like this for 30 years.
Matoke got ill when he was a toddler and lost much of his high-level functioning. So his mother ties him up to prevent him from running away or hurting himself.
Countless trips to doctors and hospitals haven’t helped him. And poverty means there isn’t much medical help his family can afford.
“His siblings ask whether we wronged God, because we are really suffering,” said his mom, Milkah Moraa. “I can’t even hang his clothes outside because of the stink. The neighbors complain.”
Shunned by the community, Moraa does what little she can to ease his agony. Her life is consumed by trying to take care of her sick son.
But Matoke is not alone.
There are an estimated 3 million, mostly poor, Kenyans living with intellectual and mental disabilities, according to NGO and United Nations figures.
As part of a special investigation, CNN found that families are struggling to cope with their loved ones, receiving little help from the state and facing massive stigma from society.
Excerpt, read more: Kenya’s Mentally Ill Locked Up & Forgotten –By David McKenzie | CNN