Kenya: How Visually Impaired Acid Attack Survivor Rediscovered Himself

Over the years, technology has revolutionized our world; technology has created amazing tools and resources.

Modern technology has made it possible for the discovery of many multi-functional devices like the smartphone.

ACID ATTACK

With all of these revolutions, technology has also made our lives easier, faster, better and more fun.

Dan Matakayia knows this very well after cruel circumstances made him learn how to use technology in his day to day life.

Matakayia is a visually impaired police officer attached to Industrial Police Station in Nairobi.

Surprisingly, he is very active on social media, and goes about his work at the station, all thanks to apps he has installed on all his devices.

Using Siri, an inbuilt app on his phone, Matakayia reads tweets under the hashtag #TembeaNaDan which was started by his friends to help him raise about Sh600,000.

He is scheduled to travel to the US from August 25, 2019 to undergo surgeries to open up his nostril and all his expenses have been catered for by Alessi Institute for Facial Plastic Surgery.

But Matakayia cannot travel alone; he needs his guide with him in the one or so month he will be in California and the money being raised is meant to cater for the travel, accommodation and other expenses for his guide.

Matakayia was not born blind. It all started on September 21, 2013 when he got home after his overnight shift in Kisii town. On that day, the police constable went straight to bed having had a tiresome night at work.

A few minutes later, his wife woke up and poured something on his face. The burning sensation made him realize that he might have suffered an acid attack and had to act quickly.

DISFIGURED

Matakayia quickly jumped out of his bed to try and rinse off the acid but to his surprise, he was electrocuted.

Apparently, his wife had connected naked wires and poured water on the floor. It's here that he screamed for help and his neighbors came to his rescue.

He was immediately rushed to hospital but his face was already disfigured from the acid burns he sustained.

All this was done by a woman he had lived with as a wife for more than three years.

The two shared a child but as fate would have it, the child died in May of 2013. That was the reason behind the heinous attack from a woman he once called his wife.

After committing the act, Matakayia's wife fled but later surrendered to the police. She was charged with attempted murder at the Ksii Law Courts and the case is ongoing.

Matakayia was airlifted to Kenyatta National Hospital two days after the acid incident and his process of healing began.

As he was undergoing his treatment, suicidal thoughts kept crossing his mind but doctors and fellow patients encouraged him to accept and live on.

"I had thought of throwing myself from the 9th floor of KNH but my friends at the hospital kept the hope in me alive. One of them once told he wished he was in my condition, because his was worse. That really changed how I look at life," Matakayia told Nairobi News this week in an exclusive interview.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

After spending 6 months at the hospital, he was discharged but was assigned a nurse to take care of him.

Out of the hospital he had to learn everything all over again. He also leant Braille and basic skills for routine task he has to do at home.

Matakayia also undertook a course in Counselling Psychology, first for himself, and secondly to help other victims of domestic violence.

"At the hospital I learnt that a lot of people are victims of domestic violence, but men suffer in silence because of fear to come out and admit they have suffered as a result of domestic violence," he said.

After his course, he started Dan Shieshie Organization to prevent over the counter sale of acids as well as fight for victims of domestic violence.

"After going through this, I felt there is need for me to prevent this from happening again and prevent other people from going through my experience. We need to prevent people from accessing such corrosive chemicals and acids to go and destroy other people's lives."

Matakayia lives by the hope that he will one day see again but the amazing thing is that he has accepted his current situation and decided to live each day at a time.

For his dream to come true he will need your help, join the conversation on #TembeaNaDan and help him raise the money for his guide.

Contributions can be made through the M-Pesa PayBill: 331757 (Account Number: Your Name).

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