The Kiplagat Family
AGE: Both sisters under 5
BITTEN BY: Cobra
LOCATION: Emsos, Kenya
Quietly sleeping in the same raised bed in their tin-sided home with an open front door. That was all two young sisters were doing. Quiet, until mother Eunice heard her eldest cry loudly. Any parent knows that feeling. A bad nightmare, perhaps an oncoming fever or sickness. Eunice held and consoled her inconsolable child, when seconds later, screams echoed from that same bedroom. Both parents ran in to console Jepchirchir who was trying to say she had a pain in her hand. Immediately, Jackson, the father had a fear come over him. After grabbing a flashlight he carefully looked under the bed to discover the culprit: a cobra, somewhat coiled up in the corner. As Jackson raced to reach a neighbor to arrange motorbike transport to a hospital, the first child, still in her mother’s arms stopped screaming. Her body went limp.
Jepchirchir was rushed by motorbike to a hospital 60 kilometers away. Antivenom was unavailable. The panic continued as they traveled to a second and finally a third hospital, some four hours away. The venom had begun killing tissue and destroying organs. Several months later little Jepchirchir was back home. A deformed hand, blindness, the inability to walk and speak became the new way of life. Dealing with one child receiving lengthy treatment, while another was in the mortuary, was a pain Jackson says can’t be described.
The Ripple Effect: The costs of the two incidents continue to paralyze Jackson and Eunice. At the time of filming, Jackson was trying to get back to work. Jepchirchir requires around the clock care.