Lucky to be alive

Lesotho Times - - News - ‘Man­toetse Maama

TWO teenagers from Sem­pheteyanne vil­lage who were left fight­ing for their lives af­ter a sus­pected grenade ex­ploded as they played with it on 16 May this year, are now both out of hos­pi­tal and al­most fully re­cov­ered.

Kopar­ala Mothae (12) and Te­boho Leuta (15) picked up the me­tal­lic ob­ject at a dump­site in their vil­lage and were fid­dling with the de­vice when it det­o­nated, leav­ing the two friends crit­i­cally in­jured.

While Te­boho was de­tained in hos­pi­tal for two days, Kopar­ala stayed much longer due to the sever­ity of the in­juries.

How­ever, the Le­sotho Times has since es­tab­lished the 12-year-old has also left hos­pi­tal and is on the road to re­cov­ery — much to the re­lief of his loved ones.

“When we rushed the kids to Maseru Pri­vate Hos­pi­tal, i was cer­tain my child was al­ready dead be­cause he was not mov­ing at all. Doc­tors later told us that the shrap­nel from the ex­ploded de­vice had pierced Ko­po­rala’s heart, lungs and liver, mak­ing us lose that he would ever re­cover,” said Mr Tsepiso Mothae said.

But the re­lieved fa­ther last week said his son was now out of dan­ger. The boy was play­ing with his friends when the Le­sotho Times crew vis­ited Sem­phetenyane last Fri­day.

“My son stayed un­con­scious in hos­pi­tal for four days and the fam­ily was wor­ried that he would not make it.

“Watch­ing him ly­ing on the hos­pi­tal bed fight­ing for his life was the worst ex­pe­ri­ence of my life. This ac­ci­dent was the most ter­ri­ble thing that could ever hap­pen to any­one; one minute the chil­dren are play­ing hap­pily and the next, fight­ing for their lives,” Mr Mothae said.

“The other painful thing is i was watch­ing them play near a neigh­bour’s home when the ac­ci­dent hap­pened. Sud­denly, i heard this huge bang and the next thing the boys were badly in­jured. i still re­mem­ber that day as though it’s yesterday.

“When my son got to Bloem­fontein af­ter be­ing re­ferred to the South African hos­pi­tal by lo­cal doc­tors be­cause of the se­ri­ous­ness of the in­jury, we were told the op­er­a­tion he needed to un­dergo could cre­ate more com­pli­ca­tions as the shrap­nel had gone deep into the or­gans. But we prayed and he has since re­turned home, and look­ing lively. He left hos­pi­tal on 12 June and right now, has gone to Te­boho’s home where the in­ci­dent oc­curred. He told me that he just wants to see the place where he nearly lost his life once again, and maybe see if he can re­mem­ber what re­ally hap­pened on that day.”

Te­boho, who ap­peared to re­mem­ber more of the det­o­na­tion, nar­rated how they hap­pened to pick up the ex­plo­sive.

“We were at the dump­site and we saw this de­vice. Kopar­ala told me that he first saw it in De­cem­ber last year and that one of our friends had told him it was a bomb, so they left it there. But we wanted to sell it to me­tal-deal­ers and did not be­lieve it was a bomb, hence we brought it home that day.

“When we got here, we de­cided to in­spect the de­vice more closely with my friend. We thought it had a wire in­side so i pulled it and it made a strange sound and then another. And all of a sud­den, it ex­ploded, and the world went blank,” Te­boho said.

On his part, Kopar­ala said he did not re­mem­ber much from the in­ci­dent.

“i can­not re­mem­ber much, ex­cept that one minute we are play­ing and the next i am in hos­pi­tal, in pain and with ev­ery­thing look­ing blurry. i feel okay now ex­cept for my hand which is still very painful; the heal­ing wounds are not that much of a prob­lem now. i am de­ter­mined that af­ter the win­ter hol­i­day, i will be back at school.”

A neigh­bour, ‘Manye­folo Liau, said she thought the roar out­side was a car-crash.

“i ran out of my house to look down the road but there was noth­ing there. i then saw smoke com­ing from Leuta’s home and peo­ple scream­ing. it was sad but we thank god the boys are alive,” Ms Liau said.

Mean­while, the po­lice are yet to de­ter­mine what the de­vice was.

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