Former Police Officer Dan Matakaya has recounted the shocking acid attack by his wife that left him blind.
Matakaya, who was based in Kisii at the time of the incident, was fast asleep when his wife poured sulphuric acid solution on his face on the morning of September 21, 2013.
“After she poured acid on me, I tried to reach out for water but she had poured water on the floor and connected power. She wanted me to be electrocuted. I screamed for help and my neighbors took me to hospital,” he recalled.
At Hema hospital in Kisii, “I was given First Aid. My face was washed and I began seeing. The pain was so severe in my legs I struggled to walk. They tried to give me painkillers but there was no change,” Matakaya told BBC on Monday.
Two days later he was transferred to Kakamega County Hospital before being referred to Kenyatta National Hospital for advanced treatment.
It is during the process of hospital transfers that Matakaya lost his sight.
“Apparently, the acid continued to work on my eyes even after and it made me go blind. If we had known better we would have kept pouring water into my eyes to dilute the acid and I wouldn’t have lost my sight.”
At KNH, he was admitted from September 2013 to February 2014 where he underwent 15 surgeries. Doctors did grafting, removed tissues from other parts of the body for the burns to heal from inside.
The surgeries stabilized his condition but he was not fully healed.
After he was discharged, a nurse was assigned to tend to Matakaya for six months while he was at home.
Thinking the wounds had healed, he went to the clinic but was admitted again at Nairobi West Hospital for further surgeries.
“Although the burns were healing, there were contractures. My hands had healed but they were stiff. The neck had also healed but it was stiff and bent to one side,” he told the British broadcaster.
Doctors also tried to open up his nostrils but they closed again a few days towards the end of 2014.
In 2015, he went back to Kenyatta hospital where he had surgery on the nose because the previous one had not been successful.
“After a second unsuccessful surgery to open up my nostrils, the doctor lost hope in me,” he said, adding that he started contemplating suicide.
“I started thinking about committing suicide. I was on the 9th floor ward of the hospital and I thought about throwing myself off the building.”
But his conscience told him, “what if you throw yourself down and you don’t die?”
“I reconciled my mind to the idea of living. I was counselled and began to understand the value of life,” he said.
In 2016, he founded Dan Shieshie Foundation to help men who have been victims of domestic violence.
“I understand that men have been labelled as the perpetrators when it comes to domestic violence. When it happens the other way round, the society is not ready to listen to you,”he said.
On August 25, 2019, Dan Matakaya appealed to Kenyans on social media for financial aid through the hashtag # TembeaNaDan. He was reportedly able to raise Sh120,000 of the Sh600,000 he was seeking.
His silver lining however came on September 10 after he received full medical sponsorship by Face Forward International.
He is now set to undergo special surgery to open up his nostrils in Beverly Hills, California.
“God answered my prayers for a fully funded plastic surgery and I am in the States awaiting my surgery on Friday. I’m hopeful this one will go well,” he said.