It is an episode that a vendor at Bweyogerere Market in Kampala will struggle to erase off her memory.
PIC: Hawa Namukose stayed by her son's bed until his death. (Credit: Agnes Nantambi)
Badru Bamwesi returned home from school feeling weak and uneasy. The following day, he failed to go to school due to intensified pain. He was feverish too.
"When I probed him, he said a classmate had kicked him in the stomach," the 12-year-old's mother narrated.
Apparently, Bamwesi's colleague had accused him of copying his work in class.
That Friday in October would be the beginning of weeks of agony - and sadly, ultimately the end of a young life.
Bamwesi, after being moved from one hospital to another, succumbed to injuries sustained from the said kick.
It is an episode that his mother, a vendor at Bweyogerere Market in Kampala, will struggle to forget. Her son's death will remain a painful reminder of the fragility of life.
When his condition worsened, Hawa Namukose took her son to hospital. "I took him to Ggwatiro Hospital in Bweyogerere, where a scan was recommended."
The news that emerged later was bad.
"The scan revealed that the intenstines had ruptured. An operation was required."
An operation meant money - and a lot of it for a struggling mother. Worse, the internal injuries were taking a toll on the boy's physical state.
"At that time, my son could not sit or stand upright any more. After realising that I could not afford the bills, I decided to take him to Kawolo Hospital, which is located on my village access road."
At Kawolo, doctors scanned the boy and found that his intenstines were rotting. He urgently needed surgery "before the close of day".
"But the hospital did not have the capacity to conduct an operation of such a nature," said Namukose while at her son's hospital bed days before he died.
"That very day, I was given an ambulance from Kawolo Hospital to Mulago Hospital to make sure that the operation is conducted immediately."
Upon arrival at Mulago, the young patient was admitted at the Intensive Care Unit and the first operation was conducted.
"From the theatre, I expected to talk to my son thinking he would improve, but throughout that time, even after the third operation, he remained on life support.
"He could not speak to me."
Shantel Patel, founder of Apar Foundation, visited Bamwesi in hospital and brought stuff to him. Standing left is the boy's mother Hawa Namukose looking on. (Credit: Agnes Nantambi)
Meanwhile, as her son was battling for his life in hospital, Namukose informed the school administration and the parents of the boy who allegedly kicked Bamwesi.
The response was unsatisfactory.
"The father of the boy who kicked my son came here once, but when we spoke to the school administration, they were just rude to us," she said at the time.
When contacted, Betty Nakabiri, the Alliance Primary School director, said the victim was kicked from outside of the school premises. She added that Bamwesi's subsequent absence from school caught their attention and so they sought to find out what could have been the matter.
"I asked why Badru Bamwesi was not studying and I was informed that he had been kicked by a one Brian Gwamba and had gone home not able to stand upright," said Nakibiri.
But the school head disputed claims that they had not responded, saying that the school and Gwamba's parent had to cater for the boy's medication.
She said that but since the school is struggling with debts, it was difficult for the institution to contribute towards Bamwesi's entire treatment.
Before Bamwesi's death, Margaret Adokorach, the in-charge of the acute care unit inside Mulago Hospital's Paediatric Emergency Ward, said the health facility was doing the best it possibly could to save the boy's life.
"Children are bound to play and they have a right to play, but since accidents are inevitable, they are also bound to face accidents. They kick themselves anywhere not knowing the repercussions,” she said then.
After the passing of her son, Namukose remains a desperate woman.
Her grief was worsened when the man she said was the father of her son disowned the family.
"When I announced the sad news of my son’s death, his father told me to look for his real father to take up the responsibility of burying him," she said.
Bamwesi was laid to rest on Sunday, a day after breathing his last at Mulago.