What you need to know:
- We were roundly criticised for not following the rules and told that we would have to finish the extended 14 days after which we would go for another test.
- Those over 60 years and pregnant had packed and were ready to go home. However, on getting to the exit gate, they were to part with Sh28,000.
After some time, the committee that we had selected to be representing us turned against us.
We don’t know what happened. They would meet for several hours in secrecy. We later realised that power had got to their heads.
Instead of airing our grievances, they resorted to reporting our misdeeds. And instead of coming back with the long-awaited news of if and when we would be able to go home, they came with their own typed rules which they pinned on walls and trees. The “dos and don'ts” were 12 in number.
The doctors in charge would walk into the camp and have a closed-door meeting with the committee and we later had to beg and cajole the information out of them.
They would walk hurriedly in and out of the study room like demigods.
One day, we were summoned for a meeting by our chairman - who informed us that officials from the Ministry of Health, the Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC), among others, were coming for a briefing later that day. We waited anxiously, hoping for good news.
Shock on us! We were roundly criticised for not following the rules and told that we would have to finish the extended 14 days after which we would go for another test. The results of that test would determine whether we would be released.
However, those over 60 years, expectant mothers and patients with co-morbidities would be exempted. For a while, I had been feeling dizzy. I would feel nauseated at times.
I remembered during the first days of testing the doctor asking loudly if I was pregnant. Everyone turned and looked at me.
Then it hit me! I had all this time, in confusion, forgotten my medical condition. For over one year, I had been suffering from vertigo.
While in Spain, I was taking the usual ginger treatment and I had not carried my medication since managing it naturally had worked for so long.
I had not reported my condition to the medics. The clinical officer-in-charge told me to call someone to bring my medicine. This confirmed to me that quarantine is a punishment.
From that moment, I stopped bothering about the problems in the camp. I now concentrated on my health.
Every day, as the clinical officers took our temperature, I would explain my medical issue. No one cared.
Finally, I opted to call the ENT specialist who had briefed us on arrival. I explained my situation and for the first time, somebody understood what vertigo was.
He assured me that he would have me released based on my medical issue. He understood that anxiety had taken a toll on me and accelerated my dizziness.
By now, I couldn't sleep. The fear of fainting or suffocating in my sleep drove me crazy. It was a living hell.
Finally, I stopped talking to family and friends because I didn't want to lie that I was all right.
The medical personnel called us for a meeting and informed us that our representatives had pushed for an early test. It would be done the following day.
We were happy that we would finally go home. We took the uncomfortable test and waited for 24 hours. Still, we didn't know what would happen if one of us turned out positive.
No one addressed the issue inasmuch as we raised the question.
Those over 60 years and pregnant had packed and were ready to go home. However, on getting to the exit gate, they were to part with Sh28,000 — Sh2,000 for every day they spent in the quarantine facility!
They had to return to their rooms because they had no money. We had all along been assured that this would be free.
Days passed and the discharged patients were still held in the camp! One man had his employer's vehicle parked at the gate.
His boss had paid the Sh28,000 but he was now being asked to pay an extra Sh12,000 for the additional six days that had passed since his release.
In desperation, he called all the people in charge of KMTC and the medical personnel who had released him, but they were so rude. Instead, they sent social workers to speak to us individually.