A journalist, who was profoundly affected when he reported from Kenya’s Garissa University College after 148 students died, has returned since the college reopened last week to see if life can ever be the same for Garissa.
The BBC’s Bashkas Jugsodaay, from Garissa, describes how what he saw during the April 2015 attack by Al-Shabaab militant Islamists caused him nightmares and an inability to concentrate.
He talks about reporting from the hospital, which, he says, didn’t have a proper mortuary because it served a Muslim population who bury their dead as soon as possible after death. The lengthy identification of bodies caused much distress, as many corpses had to be moved to Nairobi.
Much has changed since his last visit: “Fortunately the buildings have been reconstructed. The dormitories where most of the students were killed have been given new names, and the walls splattered with blood have now been painted over.”
Garissa town suffered too: “In terms of security, and social and economic factors, the town has been affected a lot.” He describes how the loss of 800 students and a few hundred staff meant fewer people spent money on books, property rentals and socialising. “Shops are empty, hotels are empty. Everyone … has lost a lot of money in the last nine months … It affected almost everybody who was a resident of Garissa.”
He went on to say that all students who survived the attack have been transferred to a different campus and will not return to Garissa.