Saturday, 26 August 2017

Exclusive: Man Who Survived Fire from Kerosene Explosion Speaks to The Journalist Blog, says “I Saw My Bones”

For a man whose flesh was stripped bare by fire, a man who saw his bones and flesh ripped apart, a man who spent an entire year in hospital bed going from one surgery to another, suffering rejections in schools; there is much story to be told and much to be learnt from him. His name is Kay Obum and he survived 3rd degree burn and has gone ahead to bag a degree in Psychology from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.
It all started in Ogidi, an ancient farming community in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State. One night in 2003, in one of the compounds in Ogidi, 9-year-old Kay Obum was asked to refill a kerosene lantern, a popular source of light in Nigerian villages. The boy had innocently gone about the duty, picking up the lamp and kerosene container with passion. Unknown to Kay, that would mark a significant turning point in his life.
The kerosene was adulterated and nobody knew  it. As Kay made to refill the tank of the lantern, the kerosene went boom boom, exploding right in his face and making its way throughout his body. Before anyone could say Jack Robinson, his body was almost dismembered by fire. His bones were ripped and his flesh left hanging loosely from his body. That marked a tragic point in Kay’s life and kept him in the hospital for a whole year.
Narrating what happened that night, Kay, who spoke exclusively to The Journalist Blog said: “It was adulterated kerosene that caused lamp explosion when I wanted to refill. My pyjamas caught fire. As a novice, I tried to dab it off, but the more I dabbed, the more it gummed to my flesh. So I got 3rd degree burns and I saw my bones that night”
He described the incident that almost ended his life as “tragic, terrible, and terrifying”.
Shockingly, he said “I didn’t cry. As a boy, I was tough. So tough that I didn’t cry at anything. It’s not psychological; it was how I was brought up”

Kay’s parents, Sir Sam Obumneke and Dr Mrs Ifeoma Obumneke Okeke rushed him to Iyienu Hospital Ogidi where he spent one year. According to him, no help came from the government or anybody. The bill was much but thanks to his father and mother, who were able to foot the bill. Kay’s mother, Dr Mrs Ifeoma Okeke is a lecturer at UNIZIK while his father is retired.
At the hospital, Kay told The Journalist Blog that he went through a lot of hell “from one surgery to another”
According to him: “I was in bed 12. People died every day. I had to change bed when it got to the 11th bed. That night, the new occupant of bed 12 died. It was tragic!”
After one year of hell in the hospital, Kay was lucky to come out alive. But it was another round of hell when he tried to go back to his former self. The scars on his body were terrifying and even bleeding such that he couldn’t sit down without leaving a stain of blood even in buses.
Hear him: “I came back from the hospital and wanted to go back to being me. Some kids saw me and were crying because I looked like what they didn’t understand. It killed me inside”
Back to his school, Kay faced a lot stigmatization from fellow kids and classmates who now saw him in different light.
“I came back to school. When I saw my classmates playing football and if I wanted to go and follow them play, they will pick the ball and say they are done. So I noticed they didn’t want me”
It was not only in school that Kay faced discrimination because of his condition. It happened even when he boarded buses where he was always forced to pay for two seats. “When I tried to board a bus, my white was filled with blood stains, they made me pay for two seats. But in Unizik, a lot changed psychologically. I was able to adjust to it, being a psychology student” he said.
Kay as a kid
Asked if he had a girlfriend, Kay who said he wanted to be an engineer but ended up a psychologist, said he is still searching.
But all is not lost as Kay, a native of Abatete said he wants to use the remaining days of his life to serve God and humanity, motivate young people, work for burn victims, and to be a great husband and dad.
Accordingly, Kay is always ready to answer to any call and could be invited for seminars. He is always ready to teach and motivate others from his experience as a burn survivor. He can be contacted through Facebook or WhatsApp via 07031810349.

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