Lightning Strike Survivors Languish as School Reopens

2513 Views Bukomansimbi District, Uganda

In short
The school has re-opened without installing the necessary lightening arresters because it can not afford them. Pupils have also returned to study.

Two survivors of the Kyabagoma Primary School lightning strike, Bukomansimbi, are languishing in their homes after discharge.
Kyabagoma Primary School was struck by lightning on Thursday, March 7th. The lightening killed the school's head teacher Kalim Kiseka, injured eight pupils and two teachers.
All the eight pupils who were admitted to Masaka Hospital were discharged the following day after getting treatment.
The two teachers were discharged on Saturday but complain that they have been abandoned by the school and Ministry of Education.
Joseph Ssegawa, an English teacher, suffered a bad broken leg in the lightning strike. The teacher says he was advised by the doctors to take a lot of fluids and fresh fruit to aid his recovery.
However, the teacher says he cannot afford to buy fruits regularly because he sometimes goes 15 months without pay yet he is on the payroll.
// Cue in: “The problem is…
Cue out: …not have money.”//
Trinity Musoke, primary four classroom teacher, suffered head trauma during the lightning strike. He says though he was discharged, he still suffers crippling headaches. He also feels body aches.
He says he does not know what he is going to do because he does not want to go back to the school which has re-opened its doors without installing lightening conductors to safeguard all the pupils and teachers.
Musoke would like to go back to hospital for a cautionary check-up but cannot afford to.
// Cue in: “ Am going for…
Cue out: …medical help at least.”//
Isah Butamanya, the head teacher of the affected school, says the school re-opened without installing the lightening arresters because they cannot afford them yet the closure was affecting the school calendar. He says they expected government to install them last year but it has not done so yet. The school is under Universal Primary Education scheme.
Butamanya explains that the 500,000 shillings financial contribution the school received Bayport financial institution was meant for the victims.
David Mutebi and Jennifer Namukwata are primary seven pupils of Kyabagoma primary school who survived the deadly lightning. They say they have returned to school but they feel insecure. They say they are afraid of being killed by a lightning strike like their Social Studies teacher.
Elizabeth Mbatudde, the Bukomansimbi district Schools Inspector, reveals that none of the more than 180 schools operating in the district have lightening conductors.
She says they failed to implement the Ministry of Education Directive asking them to install them because they don’t have money.
// Cue in: “Even the access…
Cue out: …distract their learning.”//
Recently, the Weather Department issued an alert warning the general public of impending heavy rains and thunderstorms starting March. The Meteorology Centre warned that the starting March to May, Uganda should brace for heavy rains which would trigger floods in prone areas.


About the author

Edward Bindhe
Bindhe prides himself on being a part of the society he writes about. He believes there is no way a journalist can understand his society unless it considers him a part of it. This is why he is dedicated to investigating the challenges of the "little person."

Bindhe says, "My work reflects the Uganda Radio Network unique approach to news." Not many Ugandan journalists would consider or even notice the re-emergence of Water Hyacinth on a lake. Bindhe does.

Truant children will attract Bindhe's attention until he gets to the bottom of their truancy: poverty and the need to work to earn bread for their families. These are the kinds of stories Bindhe is often after.

Edward Bindhe is the Masaka URN bureau chief. Rakai, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Kalangala, Mpigi, Kalungu, Bukomansimbi and Sembabule districts fall under his docket. He has been a URN staff member since 2009.

A Mass Communication graduate from Uganda Christian University, Bindhe started practising journalism in 2008 as a reporter for Radio Buddu in Masaka district.