“The day was Thursday. Woman’s Guild members from Happy Valley Parish had planned an evangelism trip to Tanzania. From an early morning trek to the pick-up point they all looked forward to this trip.
Two buses started the journey at 4 am. They were on the road all day and all night. In one of the buses, Jane Wangui and her friend Jane Wambui sat on the front seats next to the driver. They were enjoying the beautiful views across towns, villages, and the general landscape along the way. It was a worthy road trip.
Jane cannot recall how the accident happened but there was a head-on collision between the bus she was in and a lorry. It was still dark but the impact sent her flying out of the bus through the front windscreen. She landed on a ditch. Although she was conscious, she could hardly feel the second half of her body. She appeared to have been the most injured as the others suffered not so severe injuries.
The bus was resting upside down with the other members stuck inside. They couldn’t find an escape route. They alerted the second bus which within no time made its way there.
The second bus would however be involved in a more severe accident right after reaching the accident spot. 12 church members died on the spot while the driver would succumb later.
The worst bit of this multiple accidents is that they were in a foreign land. Locals would not dare come in to help. For hours they cried for help.
One of the church members sent a distress call through Kameme Fm who aired the story. The government of Kenya stepped in and shortly after they started receiving ambulances.
While others were being evacuated, it was going to be a difficult task for Jane who had to wrapped with polythene papers. During the rescue, Jane recalls one doctor saying “huyu hawezi kuwa mtu tena”. She remembers those words to date.
The government of Kenya through President Mwai Kibaki ordered and facilitated the evacuation of the accident victims from Tanzania to Kenya. All the injured and those who succumbed were airlifted to Nairobi. All except Jane.
Jane required urgent specialized attention and hence not stable for travel. She was being moved from one hospital to another.
As the airlifting was going on, families would reunite with their injured relatives. Other families were able to find bodies of their departed. But it was not going to be easy for Jane’s family. Her phone which couldn’t go through right after the accident made it even more difficult. Her family had no idea where she was, whether she was alive or dead. It was followed by months of trauma.
However, a church minister, Reverend Florence, decided to remain with her in Tanzania for moral support.
The government also facilitated her airlifting to Nairobi Hospital later on where she was booked for surgery. Little did she know that this surgery would be the first of many others later. She was in Nairobi Hospital for close to 6 weeks. All this time she had not come into contact with her family.
The sudden turn of events had its toll on her young family. Her daughter who had been healthy all through started having seizures and fainting at school. Her firstborn son who was a Christian fell into alcoholism and since then he has been a heavy drinker.
Being at Nairobi Hospital was becoming an expensive affair. She was referred to Kikuyu Mission Hospital which specialized in bone treatment. However, the hospital said they don’t deal with spine treatment and hence her referral to Nairobi Spine Injury Hospital where she was admitted from October till December 17th, 2012.
When she got to the Spine Injury Hospital, the truth started setting in. The doctor told her that she was not admitted at the facility to get healed but rather to be taught how to adjust and live with her new disability.
Upon discharge from the hospital, Jane started a new journey of living with a disability where she could hardly turn on her bed, go to the toilet, or even sit up. She was in a new world.
Before the accident, Jane was happily taking care of her family. She had a ‘Mari Mari’ business that was earning her a decent income every month. Now things had changed. She could hardly get money for adult diapers, some creams to help prevent blisters on her hands, and even physiotherapy.
She had to learn to survive. First, she cut on her eating once a day. At least this would reduce the usage of adult pampers in a day.
Secondly, together with other friends living with disabilities, they learned how to make detergents to make life bearable.
From the venture, she is able to sell 3-4 detergents daily each at Kshs.30. This is what sustains her. She hopes one day she will grow bigger to be able to take care of her family like in the past.
Despite all these, her biggest strength has been her children. As a mother who once fended for her children and provided for them, she believes that she can soon be able to grow her venture to support them but most importantly she hopes to help other persons with spinal issues to gain self-esteem and earn a living.
One of her daughters and son have since 2017 been under sponsorship of her local church. Her daughter recently cleared high school while the son is in Form 1. Her daughter however doesn’t want to go to college as she does not want to leave her mom alone.
Her urgent need? She would love to have the shoes to help her regain her ability to walk again. However, the pair costs 100,000Kes and has been a huge challenge. She would also love a wheelchair since the current one is worn out. A boost to her venture would be a welcome gift as she tries to make things work.
Parting shot? “God has been good to me despite everything. I have seen his hand throughout. Sometimes it gets very hard, with my special needs, that my children have had to be the adults in the house but I hope and pray that one day I will be able to walk again and be a hope to anyone going through anything what doctors say is incurable is actually possible with God”