Nightmare in Kenya!
Or how our dream honeymoon ended in the worst possible way…
When things go wrong…
DAY 3. THE ACCIDENT
October 26th was the day we were supposed to leave Maasai Mara and cross the border to Tanzania. And guess what? It’s exactly what happened, although not as we hoped…
We were driven by Kantai and Mike through the Transmara region towards the border. Left our camp early in the morning, as the way was going to be around 3/4 hours (distances are deceiving and may vary a lot given the conditions of most roads). On the way, we saw many Maasai villages, crossed the Mara river, enjoyed beautiful views of both savannah and jungle landscapes…
OCTOBER 26th 2017 will be rememberd as a tumultuous day in Kenyan democratic history. A controversial election took place, but half the country, backed by tribal differences and historic disagreements, wouldn’t accept the outcome. Riots, uprisings and violence were the standard during that day and the following ones.
And amidst that chaos, a couple of spanish tourist on their honeymoon happened to have an accident that pales when compared to what the kenyan people suffer daily, but that was surely the scariest moment of their lives.
Around 10:30am, while I was taking a quick nap, and we were driving on a dirt track (a standard road in Kenya) with a slight slope down and at a much higher speed than any normal person would drive, our driver lost control of the car on a corner right befor a bridge and a river crossing.
The car started drifting as I opened my eyes and had a split second to realise that we weren’t going to be able to keep the wheels on the bridge. From here everything happens so fast, and hours go by as if they were minutes… The car fell down onto the rocks on the side of the river, and the crash was so loud that for a momentall I could hear were my ears ringing.
Next thing I heard was Irene’s scream, as loud as she’s ever screamed, and then she stopped…
When I managed to turn and face her, I realized that she couldn’t scream anymore as she was gasping for air. She couldn’t breathe. Apart from her tears, the second thing I saw was a huge wound on her left thigh. I’m no doctor, but some kind of instict told me that despite the blood all over her leg, the cut was not what I should be worried about. Somehow I knew there was not enough blood there to make that my first concern. And that concern was that she was holding her chest, and whenever she had enough air to speak, all she could say between tears was that she would die there and the pain was so strong she thought she had broken her ribs and perforated her lung… The blood staining her shirt was enough to think that could be the case.
Luckily, that blood was also coming from her leg, and there were no visible wounds on her torax.
In what seemed like just a couple minutes, ten or twelve locals had climbed down the bridge and were thrying to help us. Kantai and Mike were fine, and I had no interest at all in my own health given Irene’s condition. People started pulling her arms and legs to get her out of the car windows, thus increasing her pain enormously… and I had to stop their efforts and hold her tight to make sure that she could breathe again. Once she looked more stable, we opened the car roof as much as we could (awesome feature to take pictures of lions, but also to take people out of awrecked jeep) and took her out between five or six people trying to move her as slowly as possible.
THANKS. We will never be able to personally thank the people who helped us get out of that car and drove us to Kehancha.
However, we are doing all we can to transform our huge gratitude into an amazing project that will help them and their whole communities. Please follow this link to learn more about what has become our passion project, and get involved if you also want to help!
The pain in my back and neck kicked in when we got Irene out of the car and back up to the «road», and then I realised something wasn’t right with me either.
Someone had stopped a car and they got us into the back seat, while our luggage was retrieved from the wrecked jeep and brought also into the same car with us. Both our driver and guide jumped in the trunk and we were taken to the closest village.
* During the ride, Irene saw the leg wound for the first time. The pain from the chest was so strong that she couldn’t even feel the pain on the leg, but she’s later admitted that she got scared by the size and depth of it. We told her she was being taken to a hospital, but all she could think was that we hadn’t seen anything resembling a hospital in days…
We arrived in the small rural town of Kehancha, with the only clinic in many kilometers around. While we were taken into the clinic, all our stuff was safely stored in a locked room (stupid detail, but pretty important, since our Gopro was stolen from it by our driver, probably following Ratpanat’s instructions, given I had filmed plenty of reckless driving scenes in the last couple days).
There are not enough good things I can say about what the doctors of the clinic did for us. Dr. Enock Odhiambo, the director and now a good friend and partner, put all his efforts into taking the best possible care of us. Irene was sedated, carefully stitched and vaccinated, and I was taken into observation after passing out due to the neck pain.
Our driver dissapeared from the face of earth as soon as we were taken care of, and no one ever found him again. Our apologetic guide Mike managed to contact the guy who was supposed to pick us up at the Tanzanian border and got him to come to Kenya to at least have a car to transport us in case of need.
Dr. Odhiambo recommended that Irene’s chest got x-rayed to make sure there were no serious injuries; but that proved to be a difficult endeavour. With no ambulance available, Dr. Odhiambo and our new driver Jeremiah got us into his jeep and tried to take us to the closest city with a working x-ray machine: Migori. But given the political situation, we found road blocks, barricades and armed agressive protestors before even making it to the closes airstrip.Evacuation was not possible, neither was getting to the hospital…