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A Medevac for Meshack

A Friday night in October 2017, four gunmen killed a security guard and six students while injuring another 18 at Lokichoggio Mixed Secondary School, close to Kenya’s border with South Sudan. A former student, who had been expelled from the school due to indiscipline, led the three other armed men in the deadly revenge mission that lasted three hours.

The attack happened between 1 and 4am—but the police didn’t arrive at the school until 5am. Therefore, the attackers had plenty of time to move from one classroom to another targeting those who were not on good terms with the expelled student.

Eight of the injured students were airlifted to a hospital almost 600 km south of Lokichoggio by road.

One of these students was Meshack Nagete. He was brought to the hospital to be treated for bullet wounds in the legs and stomach. The treatment Meshack received from the local doctors was atrocious and resulted in gangrene and then the amputation of his leg. Before the untrained doctors could amputate his other leg, Meshack's mother and Joseph Ebenyo Alinga said stop!

Joseph Alinga had worked at a Red Cross hospital for many years, where he assisted their doctors in severe cases of injuries, e.g. gunshot wounds. When the government took over the hospital, they wouldn’t give Joseph a job because he had no academic credentials. He took his knowledge with him and the locals prefer his help to that offered at the hospital where there are no doctors or health workers with skills that match Joseph’s—particularly in the area of orthopaedic surgery.

Meshack's mother and Joseph brought Meshack back to Lokichoggio, where Joseph started treating him at his private clinic in a village on the outskirts of Lokichoggio. What Joseph achieved under very miserable conditions was amazing! With his uneducated Turkana wife helping him in a little shack, the local “doctor” scraped dead meat from Meshack’s right leg and transplanted skin from the thighs to patch both legs. The result was far from pretty, but at least one of Meshack’s legs was salvaged.

In November 2018, Children’s Mission, an organization working in Lokichoggio, arranged for MAF to fly Meshack to Nairobi for a prosthesis at Jaipur Foot Trust. Unfortunately, the prosthesis centre could not deliver the prosthesis and Meshack had to wait for months. Finally, they received good news: the prosthetic limbs were back in stock and Meshack and his mother, Hellen boarded a MAF aeroplane to go to Nairobi. 

Both the MAF flight and the prosthesis were free of charge, and Children’s Mission raised funds for Meshack’s stay in Nairobi. Meshack was lifted from the cargo side of the Cessna Caravan into a wheelchair and the next day the taxi driver took Meshack and his mother to Jaipur Foot Trust. A volunteer advised them about getting a free wheelchair in Nanyuki, she ensured Meshack got his access card for disabled and then took them to another centre to get extra support for his right leg. 

Now, after his horrific ordeal, Meshack is back in Lokichoggio, learning how to use crutches…and finally smiling!