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“Leopard”

I heard the gunshots before I felt the pain. They were loud and all consuming. I thought I would never hear again. It never occurred to me that the shots had landed on my leg, not until I tried to move and found that I could not- that is when I looked down and saw a mess of flesh and blood where once my leg stood. Time stood still.


This is always how the nightmare begins, with me reliving the shooting and finding out that I can no longer move. The nightmare always starts in this exact same way and ends with me waking up in a pool of sweat,  my wife trying to console me that it is all over. Apparently, I scream in my nightmares and wake up the entire household, they are used to my screaming by now, they relive the nightmare with me every time it happens- it has become a family nightmare, no longer my own.


It all started about five years ago when we received a distress call from villagers who had spotted a leopard in the nearby forest. As can be expected, we contacted the wildlife rangers and quickly rushed to the scene where he had been last spotted. I was the one who saw him first, he was so close to us it was unnerving.


My first response was to aim for a clean shot. There wasn’t even time to alert the two rangers who had accompanied me, it all happened within the blink of an eye. I aimed and pulled the trigger…but nothing came out, my firearm had jammed – of all the times it could have chosen to malfunction, it had chosen a moment when I was at the mercy of a merciless beast. My colleagues spun around just in time to see the big cat preparing to pounce on me and quickly fired shots. Two of those shots landed on the big cat and unfortunately, two of those shots landed on my left leg. The last thing I remember was hearing the shots, trying to move, being unable to move and looking down at my leg.

Before participating in the Muamko Mpya training, I did not understand why I had those recurrent nightmares or even what to do about them. I learned about trauma, the different kinds of trauma and how to deal with them. Mine was a case of a post-traumatic traumatic disorder. I also learned about the triggers to trauma and mine are any loud sounds which take me back to the shots fired in the forest. At this training, I have garnered enough tools to help me deal with this trauma and I am really looking forward to sharing these tools with my family who have been traumatised together with me.
 

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