, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 18 – Looking at 22-year-old Stanley Maina Kariuki you’d have no idea that less than 48 hours ago he was trapped under the concrete, stone and mortar of a collapsed building.
His blue windbreaker, jeans and loafers show no signs of plaster and dust and he has no visible injuries.
Even he can’t believe it. “That’s part of the reason I came back here today (Thursday); to see what God saved me from. It’s a miracle I survived,” he says as the Kenya Defence Forces behind him work to free those still trapped under the concrete slabs.
The story he tells of how he made it out of the five-storey residential building in Makongeni that came down at about 3am on Wednesday in deed has the hallmarks of a miracle.
An animation student, Kariuki had barely spent a month in the collapsed building before it came down.
“I used to live in Dagoretti but I go to college in town. So I moved here at the start of this month because I can walk to town.”
Kariuki who lived on the third floor says he came to know of the vacant house from an agent whose number he got off a signboard while he was house hunting in Maringo.
“My house showed no signs of a house about to crumble. I hadn’t the slightest fear it would.”
Stanley wouldn’t even have been home when the building came down had a nearby church’s generator not run out of power.
“When I got home from school there was no power but I heard people at a kesha in a nearby church so I grabbed my CD and headed over there for a chance to perform. I love singing.”
But even before the clock struck 12, the church’s generator ran out of fuel and Stanley made his way back home.
“I didn’t immediately go to sleep. My side hustle is photography and I had some photos I needed to edit from a wedding I worked on Saturday. So I decided to make use of the reserve power on my Dell.”
At about 1am, Stanley decided to call it a night. “I was in the restful stage of sleep when the building came down. I hadn’t entered into deep sleep.”
Stanley doesn’t remember much of what happened after that.
“All I remember is that I moved my right hand and I saw a light and I scrambled out of there. But the thing is, it was pitch dark out. Where did that light come from? I don’t even know where I got the strength to push aside boulders with just one hand.”
His very own miracle he calls it.
“All I could do was cry and just sit there. I was happy to be alive but I still don’t understand why me. Why or how I made it out alive from the third floor when I could hear my neighbours cry and call out for help.”