Devastating road accident leaves Kenyan mother worried over injured children, 4 million KES ($50,000) hospital bill
As Kenyans in the Diaspora were busy celebrating and sending funds to loved ones back home to spice up their Christmas and New Year holidays, one mother was in extreme sorrow, wondering if her children would make it after a horrifying road accident in Kenya that left 8 people dead and many more seriously injured.
The sad news hit NjokiNjuguna, a single mother living in Boston like a hammer barely 2 weeks before Christmas.
Two of her three children in the accident were left fighting for dear life at various hospitals where they were shifted as doctors struggled to treat them, resulting in mounting treatment bills and raw anxiety among family and friends.
At first, Njoki, who works as a nanny for two special needs Kenyan children in Lawrence, thought it was just a bad dream.
But soon, the reality hit.
I day after schoolsin Kenya closed for the Christmas holiday around November 11 in Kenya, 3 of her teenage children congregated back at their home in Ol Karau in Nyandarwa from various high schools .
They goal was to travel by bus as a family to visit their elder sister in North Kinangop, a 1 hour journey from their home.
The siblings planned tospend the Christmas holiday with the sister and her family since their mother lived far away in USA.
It was then that Lucy Njuguna, a 19 year old student at Elite High School in Nyahururu, Kevin Njuguna of Thika High School (16) and Michael Njuguna of Molo High School (14) boarded a bus operated by the popular Trega Bus Service to North Kinangop.
But since it was the busiest time of the year, bus services were very limited due to high demand for travel during the festive time of the year, therefore the siblings only managed to board the last bus of the day late at night.
“I was told the bus was over packed with passengers and cargo because everyone was trying to get their destination in time for Christmas,” said Monica Njoki as she recalled the incident during an interview with AjabuAfrica.com.
Njokisaid that as the bus took a back route road towards NdunyuNjeru in order join the main highway towards North Kinangop.
According to Njoki, just as the bus reached the junction between to Bushi and NdunyuNjeru, it came face to face with an oncoming lorry packed with harvested onions from the surrounding farms.
The lorry was over-speeding while on the wrong lane.
“The bus driver instantly sensed perilous danger and tried to swerve to avoid a head on collision. But since the bus, just like the oncoming lorry was over packed as well, the instant swerving made the driver lose control. The bus swayed all over the road for several scary moments before overturning and crashing into a ditch,” said the mother of four, occasionally fighting tears while narrating the story.
She said that, when the bus came to a complete stop, it landed on the side where her 3 children were seated, causing passengers from the other aisle to fall on top of them.
“People started scrambling to get out of the bus while screaming all over. My son, Kevin was pinned and trampled by people as they hurried to come out. His ribs got completely broken and had serious head injuries. My daughter also sustained serious head injuries, but the other son was lucky and managed to escape with minor cuts and bruises,” said Njoki.
She added that after being rescued from the mangled wreck, the seriously injured son was brought to the OlKarau General Hospital where he spent 2 nights.
“The doctors there determined they did not have the needed capability to treat his injuries so they referred him to Kijabe hospital where he spent another night. Kijabe hospital also decided to refer himto Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi where advanced equipment was available to treat him.”
Njoki added that her daughter was admitted at the Nyahururu general Hospital for 4 days thenreferred to Kijabe hospital as well due to the complications with head injuries.
Her other son was treated at the Nyahururi hospital and released to recuperate at home.
Due to the critical injuries suffered, her two children have now accumulated a massive hospital bill of about 4 million KES(about $50,000).
With none other to rely on, Njoki has been scrambling the little money she earns as a nanny and donations from a few friends to send home to cater for the bills.
“At one time, one of the hospitals had threatened to cease treatment if money was not sent immediately. I had to borrow from a few friends and send something just to make the treatment continue without pause,” said Njoki.
“The only thing I find good with this whole thing is that my 3 children are still alive. I thank God for that but I am very worried with the hospital bills as they are way beyond my means. As a mother, I still want my children to be treated and get back to their normal life and resume school,” she added with a tone of despair in her voice.
Fortunately for Njoki, she met with a Kenyan at one of the stores in Lawrence and shared her story. The Kenyan, Daniel Mathigi, felt touched by the sad story and immediately called a few friends to inform them of the single mother’s predicament.
The friends then decided to form a fundraising committee in order to help her raise funds from the community.
The committee has started holding weekly meetings at the house where Njoki works in Lawrence for planning.
As a result, a fundraiser has been slated to take place on Sunday February 9 at the St. Stephens community church in Lowell.
“We urge Kenyans and any well-wisher out there to come out and help this poor single mother at her critical moment of need. She is just strugglingto make ends meet even here in the Diaspora.The tragedy with her children back home is haunting her day and night. She is worried that if she does not make the payments to the hospital, her children may not survive the serious injuries,” said Mathigi while talking to AjabuAfrica.com.
“This thing can happen to any of us and it is good we turn out and her now. No one knows what the future can bring without notice,” he added during a committee meeting at the house where Njoki takes care of two Kenyan special needs children in Lawrence.
Of late, road accidents involving passenger service vehicles have become a major killer on Kenyan roads.
In an effort to stem the tide of the rising accidents, the government of Kenya recentlybanned night travel for all passenger transportation vehicles, a move that is being resisted bybus operators who claim the move will negatively impact on their business.
Meanwhile, as the government and operators strive to hash out a solution, victims are struggling to cope with the effects and the massive treatment bills in a country where quality healthcare is still scarce for those with limited means.
According to Njoki, the family has decided to move the seriously injured son from the more expensive Aga Khan Hospital to St. Mary’s Hospital in Nairobi In order to minimize the escalation of the rapidly mounting bill.
The fundraiser for Njoki’schildren at the St. Stephens church will start at 3pm on the February 9.
Well-wishers can also deposit funds in a Bank of America Account specifically opened for the purpose.
Bank of America
Checking Account #: 4647-0030-26
Account Name: Monica Njuguna
For contacts please call:
Njoki Njuguna: 978-319-8394
Daniel Mathigi: 978-835-1619
Catherine Kungu: 508-451-0941
St. Stephens Church
279 W 6th St,
Lowell MA. 01850
Date: Sunday February 9, 2014