Jessica’s Act of Valor
Jessica, a young teenager in her early twenties will live to tell the story of that fateful event that has left her life with uncertainty about nature. Jessica was busy carrying out her daily chores outside their house when all of a sudden she felt the ground underneath her shake and a loud sound move towards where she was. Jessica stood transfixed as she could hardly understand what was going on around her. She had never experienced anything like this before. She watched in horror as their house shook and in split seconds’crumble down into a pile of rocks. She immediately took off screaming while at the same time looking for safer grounds. People in the village were screaming and wailing hysterically. There was so much noise and confusion.
It is then; that she remembered she had left her mum outside their house and possibly her mum may have entered the house that was crumbling down. She immediately runs back to check on her and from where she was, she saw that it was a part of their house that had crumbled down. However, before she could get to her house, she heard the little children from her neighbor crying uncontrollably calling on their mother. Their mother was eight months pregnant and was asleep when the earthquake hit. Jessica noticed that one side of the neighbor’s house had already been brought down. Unfortunately, when shegot there, she saw a huge rock roll down towardsthe other side of the house that was still standing and flatten it immediately. Sadly, that was where the pregnant mother was sleeping. Jessica shouted to raise the alarm and within seconds, villagers answered her distress call and she mobilized themto help roll away the rock to save her neighbor. They soon realized it was a very difficult task as they did not have any machinery given its size. Luckily, the military arrived and helped to roll the rockaway but unfortunately, the pregnant mother was already dead.
In the midst of all the confusion and cries, Jessica sought out to go find her mother. Luckily, Jessica’s mum had been able to escape from the crumbling house but had got a minor head injury.By the time Jessica reunited with her mother, she had received first aid assistance. She is now recuperating. When interviewing Jessica, she conveyed her gratitude to the government and applauded their quick response because 30 minutes after the earthquake, the police and military had already arrived to carry out rescue operations. They managed to roll away the rock and retrieved the body of her neighbor.
Story interviewer: Ellam Bunde, Director Projects and Programs,
Story compiled by: Hannah Ndungu, ERC Africa Region