The road to recovery has been and still is treacherous. I wake up every day with raging battles in my mind. Battles against negative thoughts, attitudes, fear, and paranoia. As the Co-CEO & Co-Founder Ken Njoroge aptly put it, “sometimes I am winning, other times I am taking a beating.”
On the afternoon of 15th January 2019, our lives were turned upside down and flipped inside out. Terrorists attacked our office complex at 14 Riverside, thought to have been one of the safest places in the city. Four hours, we were trapped in our office building as police tried to get us to safety. We were rescued at last, but 6 of our brave colleagues did not make it out alive.
A dark cloud looming over our heads
The next few days and weeks were filled with darkness; cynicism, bitterness, anger, and utter despair. There seemed to be no way to recover. This dark cloud looming over my head was not going to clear. The trauma seemed too heavy to bear and thoughts of the day seemed to never get off my mind. I thought I would remain in a perpetual state of hopelessness.
But occasionally, a glimmer of hope seemed to pop up. From a beautiful sunrise to the amazing view from the West End offices; from a deep conversation with a friend about life’s meaning to a laugh shared with a workmate; from sharing a meal with family to playing a game of foosball with colleagues, life’s joys always find a way of reminding me that indeed, there’s something to live for. That there’s much left to accomplish, and lots more left to experience.
Memories We Share
On this road, I’ve learned that death, no matter how cruel, must not rob us of the memories we shared with our loved ones and colleagues. That in their memory, we owe it to them and ourselves not just to live, but to live fiercely, to blaze every trail we come across, to pursue what makes us feel alive and live every moment with passion, face challenges with grit, and seek to impact those around us, just like the brave 6 did.
I do not know if the road to recovery comes to an end, but the more I continue to journey through it, the more I draw hope and courage to face the next day from loved ones, friends and this close-knit Cellulant family.
Kenneth Kirumba is one of the 11 survivors who was rescued at the Cellulant Headquarters following the 14 Riverside terror attack. He is a student of Strathmore University currently on work experience at Cellulant Kenya.