Samson Suko Muteti survived an elephant attack nearly two decades ago but his life has never been the same again. He spoke to the Standard about his ordeal and his frustrating search for justice from the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS).
What exactly happened on a fateful day?
It was 2005; I was tending my farm at the Taita-Taveta irrigation scheme and interestingly I saw an elephant on the farm. I suppose it’s one of those that were wandering from the nearby Tsavo national park.
What was your immediate reaction?
The elephant did not see me at first; so I took my phone and dialed the wildlife officers who failed to turn up.
What happened next?
Unfortunately; the elephant saw me; I was alone; it began charging towards me; I tried to run away as fast as I could. It caught up with me, and using its trunk, trampled on me several times; I felt intense pain, then my limbs went numb and I can’t remember what happened after that because I passed out
And when you regained consciousness?
I just found myself at the hospital; Taita-Taveta district hospital. I found out I was taken there by my neighbour. They had seen what transpired at the farm but they could not do anything at that time.
According to them, the said elephant had thought that I had died, because when I passed out, it placed twigs and tree branches, leaves all over me and went away. I was later transferred to Kenyatta National Hospital and later another private hospital for specialized treatment.
Which part of the body was affected by this incident?
My main body organs include the kidney, backbone, spinal code, manhood, and pancreas. The doctors informed me that my health condition was at risk and that survival was not going to be easy.
How long did you stay at the hospital before being discharged?
I stayed at the hospital for close to 9 years, accumulating huge bills which were cleared by well-wishers. However, I am still taking medications to date and some of them I can not afford so I have to keep it that way. I am praying for well-wishers to chip in so that I continue with my medication for complete healing.
How did this experience affect your life overall?
Most of my essential body organs are not functioning which means that I can not do any job. I am reduced to a pauper and I now depend on well-wishers for survival.
Have you ever sought help?
Yes, I have tried but the challenge is money; every lawyer I have tried to engage with needs some money which I don’t have. However, I have taken my case to my senator and I am hopeful that he will follow through with the situation and gets things sorted. All I want for now is compensation for the medical expenses and the loss I have gone through all these years.