Wearing a cheerful face, Manzi Rucamukibatsi immediately requests for my phone and starts playing a game as soon as I arrived at his home in Kicukiro. He keeps his left leg still while his right is full of energy. From an earlier meeting, games on phone are his greatest source of relaxation.
The 11 year old was knocked down by a speeding vehicle at Kicukiro market on December 6 last year. I had previously visited him at the hospital several times before he had fully gained his consciousness.
“Mum, is he the one who knocked me?” he had asked in a sturdy voice directing his eyes towards me.
“No, he has just come to visit you,” his mum’s words put the boy at ease.
Incidentally, I was there at the time of Manzi’s accident and can’t forget how it all started. It was at around 5pm when I was on my way home. I eye witnessed this tragic misfortune that ended this innocent boy onto hospital beds for over four weeks.
Manzi was naively crossing the road when the unfortunate hand of death almost snatched his life in a tragic mishap. The black salon car registration number RAA 331J, which belongs to a Vitali Nsanzineza knocked him down and he instantly rushed him to hospital.
“It was a sudden incident that broke me down in tears. I felt so sorry for him and I had to take him to hospital immediately. I regularly visit him when I get time and am looking forward to his recovery,” recounts Nsanzineza referring to this fateful day as he was heading for work.
Born on 6th February 1996 to Teophil Niyitegeka and Immaculate Karwera, Manzi is the first born in a family of four. He has two sisters and one brother. He was reportedly going to visit doctor Gatera on the other side of the road when he got the accident.
With the left leg forward, the front part of the car hit his head and leg simultaneously leaving him lying still and crippled at the side of the road. He also hit the other side of his head on the hard tarmac injuring his skull.
“The skull is prone to fracture at certain weaker including the thin and inner parts of soft cartilage at the skull base. Other places prone to fracture include the roof of the orbits,” explains Doctor Kalimba Edgar at King Faysal hospital.
Although skull fractures carry a significant potential risk, most skull fractures are linear and do not require surgery. It wasn’t the case with Manzi because immediately blood started oozing out through the eyes, ears, nose and mouth.
A simple glance at this scenario to me suggested that he was either already dead or a few minutes away from demise. On both occasions, I should have known that I was wrong.
Worried about Manzi’s destiny and how his parents would come to know about it, 10 minutes later, I was at Manzi’s home.
My first impression of his state after the accident is that he has lost his life and this is what I boldly told his father. I was shocked by what he answered.
“Since it run over him, it’s possible that he did not die immediately,” he courageously said clinging to the hope that God would come to his son’s rescue.
The battle to save Manzi’s life had just began and as fate would have it, he was later operated by doctor Pedro Dominguez Jimenez, a neural surgeon at King Faisal and his life since then took another twist.
Manzi went through all the hurdles that third world countries go through in treating such casualty patients. His face had completely lost shape.
He could move his lips freely like he used to and needed constant massage, if the condition was to change. His leg is still broken and the head injuries could affect his brain potential in future as the doctors explained.
“Such injuries don’t just heal immediately. They can even surface again at a later age. Our only wish is that Manzi’s sickness doesn’t recap in future since his injury ware not so severe,” says doctor Kalimba.
I therefore call for your attention most especially children who have resumed school. These days every one is busy and accidents are increasing day by day. A day hardly goes without a testimony of accidents.
“Every day, we receive at least one case of an accident. It’s a very common thing these days,” confirms Dr Senoga James, a radiologist at King Faisal hospital.
As we treat accident victims like Manzi, we strongly advocate for increased government attention on road traffic to reduce accidents.
“I thank God that I am alive,”says Manzi with hopes that he will fully recover.