By Isaiah Lucheli
Justus Odiwuor was awake and whiling away time in bed as he contemplated the busy day ahead when he heard a crushing sound emanating from his neighbourâs house.
What came to Odiwuorâs mind was that the corrugated iron sheet structures that he had regarded as home for the past seven years were being brought down by either the city council or private developers following many years of threats of eviction.
As he got out of the bed to go and confirm what was happening the roof and the walls of his house came caving in burying him and his wife and their two-year-old son who were still asleep.
Odiwuor is one of the people who survived the Mathare 4 tragedy that claimed the lives of nine people and left two other seriously injured and six with minor injuries.
"It never occurred to me that the boulders that have been there since I rented the house in Mradi in Mathare 4 had collapsed on our houses. There had been many rumours that we were supposed to be evicted from the area and when I heard the sound I knew we were being evicted," he said.
The houses had been built in a depression near huge rocks which were hanging precariously. It is suspected that the heavy rains that have been pounding the city and its environs dislodged the rocks, which then rolled into the depression where the houses had been built.
Odiwuor passed out and when he regained consciousness he had been rushed to the Blue House Hospital in the slum where he had received first aid and was then taken to Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH).
At the hospital, he learnt that his wife had sustained serious stomach injuries and had been admitted while their child had escaped unhurt.
Odiwuor, who does manual jobs in the city, said he was lucky to have survived.
"When the house collapsed, I thought I was going to die. When I regained consciousness and enquired about my family and was informed they were alive I knew it was Godâs grace," he said.