“July 11, 2010, began like any normal day. My boyfriend then, now husband, and I went to the launch of a friend’s wedding meeting at Ntinda View Restaurant. Since they were not screening the match [2010 footbal World Cup finals between the Netherlands and Spain], we decided relocate to somewhere else.
I proposed we go to Country Gardens in Kitintale, a Kampala suburb, since it was near home. But my husband’s friends called him, saying they had reserved seats for us at Kyadondo Rugby Grounds on Jinja Road. We went home, picked my young sister and brother and proceeded first to Country Gardens, but found the place packed to capacity. We decided to join our friends at Kyadondo.
We reached Kyadondo a few minutes to the start of the match. At the entrance, security was so lax. I think they were more interested in ensuring that no one enters without paying, than keeping security.
Once inside, we located our friends, and joined in the fun. The first half was fantastic as we cheered our teams, eating mchomo, laughing and generally enjoying ourselves. I was supporting Netherlands, which eventually lost to Spain 1-0.
Then around the 70th minute, the first explosion went off. We thought it was electricity, but the projector was still on. Some people said it was a bomb. In the chaos, the second blast went off, and that was when all hell broke loose.
Realising I am hit
I don’t know how I fell down, but after a few minutes, I looked around and saw my sister. I felt a big hole on my head, around the left ear, before my sister pointed out that there was blood. I touched and felt blood gushing out. I looked around for my younger brother and my boyfriend but they were nowhere to be seen.
I pressed the jumper I had on the wound, before we went to look for my brother, boyfriend and friends.
The search near where we were seated yielded nothing. The sight of broken chairs, body parts and dead people on chairs, is still a fresh memory in my head.
We kept moving around, while saying a hush prayer for them to be well. I breathed a sigh of relief at the entrance when I saw my brother helping a wounded man. We were unable to locate my boyfriend and friends.
A stranger comes to my rescue
Some gentleman at the gate pointed out that I was losing a lot of blood and offered to give me a lift to any hospital. I said Mulago hospital but he objected, and instead said we try International Hospital Kampala (IHK).
At IHK, I was the first victim from Kyadondo to arrive, as many medical personnel arrived, I think having been called in to attend to victims from the Ethiopian Village Restaurant blast.
The gentleman who had taken us tried to get a doctor to attend to me immediately, but the chaos was too much. In the emergency ward, doctors and nurses were all busy stitching wounds.
When a doctor came to me and removed the jumper on my wound, he said a shrapnel was stuck in my head. Other doctors checked to determine how far it was logged but luckily, it was just on the surface.
Part of my head was shaved to have the shrapnel removed, and the wound was stitched.
I was later to learn that the jumper helped me not to lose a lot of blood, which prevented the shrapnel to penetrate further into my head.
I appreciated my situation while in the emergency ward, when they brought in people with missing body parts and broken limbs. The scene of a woman with a wound on the neck where blood was gushing out like boiling water, stuck in my mind and haunted me for a long time. She later died right there in the emergency room.
Meanwhile, I still didn’t know what had befallen my boyfriend and his friends. It wasn’t until later in the morning that we learnt that he had also been hit and he was at Case Clinic. His left jaw bone was broken; he was later to undergo a five-hour operation to have his jaw reconstructed.
The CT scan later revealed I had a small crack on my skull. Fortunately, my brain was not affected.
I still cannot understand how, from a group of about eight people, it was only me and my husband that were hit. But again, I am so thankful to the almighty Lord for sparing our lives.
Three years later, on July 20, 2013, we were joined in Holy matrimony with the love of life, my survivor, my champion. And 10 months later, we were blessed with identical twin boys. I believe God spared us that day for a reason.
May the souls of all those that lost their lives on that day rest in eternal peace. And to the gentleman who took me to hospital, who I only got to know by one name (Hamindu), be blessed always. He was my hero in all this. I only pray that one day I can be able to meet him and thank him in person.