One child dies, 10 narrowly survive poisoning

SURVIVORS: Zet with her grandchildren

A- seven- year-old child died while 10 others narrowly escaped death after eating poisonous plants they had mistaken for wild fruit.

The 11 children whose ages ranged between three and eight lived on the same street in Francistown’s Gerald Estate. They were rushed to Nyangabgwe Referral hospital last week after suffering the effects of excessive vomiting and diahorrea.

The group of curious children dug up the plants which had sprung up because of the recent rains and ate them. Later in the evening the children complained of stomach aches and before long they were vomiting a green substance.

Narrating the horrific experience three of  the children’s grandmother Lahliwe Zet said that she received a call back message from the grandchildren’s aunt on Wednesday evening.

“When I called her she told me that Segolame(8) and Bose(5) were vomiting. Because I was away from home attending prayers at a bereaved family, I asked a neighbour to check on the children and buy them milk to dilute the poison.

By the time I arrived back home the children were rolling on the floor, complaining of stomach ache and still vomiting.

While I was still attending to the two children, the third and youngest grandson also started to throw up. I became more confused.  In no time my other neighbour came over and gave the children charcoal to swallow in order to ease the pain and the vomiting, but there was no change.”

With her grandchildren’s condition rapidly deteriorating and afraid she might loose the lives of the little ones, Zet rushed them to Area W clinic. “This was around 8pm and Segolame was weak.  I thought I was going to lose them.   At the clinic we were immediately referred to Nyangabgwe hospital where they were admitted,” said the granny.

The following morning her eldest grandchild and the boy who died’s condition had become worse as they started passing stools stained with blood.

Zet said the whole experience shook the whole village to its core and united the community in prayer for the children. “It hasn’t been easy.  This is my first day since last week that I have been able to eat food. I almost lost all my grandchildren, this home would be empty by now. Since 2002 when I started living here none of the children have ever eaten this plant.”

DEADLY: Nkomo off the plant

“Our prayers have been answered, God heard us. This morning (Wednesday) I found Segolame sitting up in his bed and by the time we left he was playing some game. He even asked for KFC and Nandos! His father was so relieved, that he immediately rushed off to buy the take away for him.

Despite their relief, Zet said the parents will always live in fear that the children may eat the poisonous plant again. Normally when I am around I always want to know where the children are, every 10 minutes or so I check on them.

I am not saying it’s anybody’s fault that this misfortune befell us or that it wouldn’t have happened if I was around. I am simply saying children need to be minded.”  said Zet

At the time of going to press only three of the children were still admitted and their condition was described as stable by the hospital.

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