Rachael down but not out after brutal Westgate attack

January 10, 2014 9:56 am
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Rachel Muraya, 28, was on the second floor of the Westgate Mall on September 21, 2013 when gunmen staged an attack, killed 67 people/MIKE KARIUKI
Rachel Muraya, 28, was on the second floor of the Westgate Mall on September 21, 2013 when gunmen staged an attack, killed 67 people/MIKE KARIUKI
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 10 – Beautician Rachel Muraya, 28, was on the second floor of the Westgate Mall on September 21, 2013 when gunmen staged an attack, killed 67 people and injured dozens of others.

While some survivors escaped without injuries but remain terrorised for life, others escaped with lifetime injuries that will forever remind them of their narrow escape from death by the bullet.

Since the attack, Rachel’s life has completely changed.

Apart from being out of work for three months, she cannot stand on her feet.

“I went through several operations; the second operation was when they were doing the grafting, they had to remove the skin on my thighs and donate it on my right leg,” she explains pointing at her right leg.

She lost her right foot and suffered serious shrapnel injuries on the other. To date, her left leg still has shrapnel.

“On my left leg, I underwent another operation, where they removed some shrapnel where possible because some were inside the nerves. They are making for me an artificial foot that I will use on my right leg,” she asserts.

It is on a Thursday afternoon and Rachael is dressed up ready to go for her appointment at the Aga Khan Hospital in Parklands.

When Capital FM News arrives at her home in Zimmerman Estate in Nairobi County, Rachel sits at one corner of a sofa with her two legs resting on the couch.

Despite the permanent injuries inflicted on her by the terrorists, she is confident and her infectious smile is that full of hope and gratitude.

“I am trying to forget, but sometimes the memory comes, then I just try to heal and pray to God to give me the grace. I always thank God that I am alive up to now,” Rachael says.

On the fateful day, Rachael was unusually reluctant to report to work.

“I woke up and prayed to God and asked him to give me a good day. I was not feeling like going to work on that particular day. I woke up very lazy… I left the house at around 10am. My dad had sent me a parcel from Mombasa, I went to pick it in town.”

“After that I went straight to work,” she recalls.

Rachael worked at Ashleys Beauty Parlour which was at the time situated on the second floor of the Westgate Mall.

It was not long after she reported to work that she knew everything was wrong.

“After a short while, I heard some shooting and then I decided to run out of the salon. I ran to the parking area thinking it was a safe place but it wasn’t,” Rachael recalls.

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