, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 27 – The day I will never forget… I remember writing a composition that started like this in Primary school. I made something up, and proudly appended my name Jane Mwangi to it.
Ask me now to write it again and I wouldn’t need to. The day my life changed – by faith, not forever -was May 28, 2015.
I can even tell you what time it was, 9.30 pm.
In what seemed like two minutes, my world changed.
Up until then, the world was my oyster. I’d just come from China the year before, a Masters degree in Communication in my pocket.
Ok, more likely in the exquisite bag I brought back with me and that I had slung over my arm on that ‘fateful’ day.
I may have been tarmacking, Kenyan for job hunting, but Iife was good. I was after all, living with my parents.
But that all changed in an instant; in the 300 metres between the matatu stage and our Kariobangi South home.
I didn’t even see it coming. I suppose my head was in the clouds. Isn’t it funny that the day I got shot I was coming from an evening prayer meeting at the 680 Hotel whose theme was divine protection?
God sure has a sense of humor.
There were two of them. Later I was told there was a third lurking in the shadows.
After he heard the gun shot ring out, Nelly, our neighbour, came running out of his house to see three figures flee into the darkness. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
It was particularly dark that night because there was a blackout but the more dominant of my assailants appeared darker against his grey jersey.
But it wasn’t his complexion that immediately struck me. It was his anger. It was, I imagine, like ramming into a brick wall.
“Lete simu (hand over your phone),” he barked.
I remember shaking but somehow I managed to take it out of my bag and hand them both over to him.
Then he wanted my M-Pesa pin and that’s when it all went horribly wrong. In that moment my mind went blank and I just couldn’t remember it.
He wasn’t a patient man and so he fired the gun he had pressed against my chest. It went clean through my chest and out the other side, getting caught in the tight black sweater I had on but not before puncturing my spine.
I’d never seen a gun before. In fact, before he shot me, it’d looked like a toy.
Now I can tell you, as I lie in this bed paralysed, that it wasn’t.
As the bullet ripped through my body, it felt as though I was under water, everything moved in slow motion.
I remember reeling from the impact; lifted from the ground before landing in a thud on my back.
You would think that would be the end of it. That this man who’d shot me and his quiet sidekick, having made good on their threat, would then turn and leave.
They did. Eventually. But not before my shooter stepped on my wound and again demanded that I divulge my M-Pesa pin. I passed out then.
They shot me for the Sh484 I had in my M-Pesa.
I woke up 16 hours later; when a doctor at the Kenyatta National Hospital drilled into my side to make a way for the blood pooling inside me, to get out.
Three days later, having been transferred to the Coptic hospital because there were no vacant ICU beds at Kenyatta, I was informed I’d never walk again.
Again, I hadn’t seen it coming. Confined to an ICU bed, I hadn’t tried to really move.
I was alone when they told me; a doctor with a nurse by his side.
I remember looking into her face and seeing nothing. No emotion. Perhaps it was news they were accustomed to delivering.
I didn’t want to believe it. I still don’t. I believe that with God anything is possible and all He needs to say is, “rise up and walk.”
A month later I was sent home but I again find myself in a hospital bed because of a bedsore. I can’t feel it but the doctors say it needs grafting.
I expect it’s not the last time I’ll find myself here.
But these three things remain: faith, hope and love.
The love and support of those around me keeps me strong. My faith keeps me going and hope that I shall walk again has me sharing this story.
With your help I can again feel the chill when my feet hit the floor. I’ll have a shot at realising my dream of working for the Presidency to effect change.
I long for the day when I’ll no longer have to wear a catheter which has so far given me a urinary tract infection three times.
The glorious day when I can control my bowel movements.
You see, I’m not content to lay powerless for the rest of my life on the word of one doctor.
I believe that there’s more that can be done for me; that there are technological advancements out there that can give my legs and my life back.
I’ve already reached out to TIRR Memorial Hermann, a leading rehabilitation centre in Houston, Texas and it would cost about Sh10 million for me to seek treatment there.
It looks like a lot but just Sh100 from 100,000 people can get me there and I’m a woman of faith.
Help Jane raise the funds to walk again by sending an M-Pesa contribution 596018, account number: Jane medical fund. You can also deposit into the Equity Bank Jane Mwangi Medical Fund account 1450164274483, Kilimani branch.