Journey to Africa, Part 3: Victim Of Hippo Attack Walks In LeTourneau Leg - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/28/05-Kijabe, Kenya

Journey to Africa, Part 3: Victim Of Hippo Attack Walks In LeTourneau Leg

Kenneth Kiptanui is doing something he has never remembered doing before...walking on two feet. When he was 3 years old, his infant body rolled into a fire.

His left leg was amputated. And for the next 18 years, Kenneth would use a stick that he slid through his pant leg to get around. He would never have a prosthetic of his own... until now.

"He's never had anything on it and now he has the bare weight on there so it's going to be a little sore just for little while," says LeTourneau Junior Shannon Toews in charge of physical therapy.

But Peter Mbuvi has a very clear memory of walking on his own biological feet. The 27-year-old was amputated just 6 months ago.

"His story is amazing. Just the struggle that he's been through," says L.E.G.S. team member Yong-Jun Chun. "You were out here during the day right?," asks KLTV 7 Reporter Christine Nelson about the day Peter was attacked. "Yeah, yeah. At around 10 in the morning," replies Peter.

 We were walking along Lake Navaisha. A public lake where locals aren't the only ones seen in the water. Hippos are regularly seen in the water, mere yards from the shore. Peter takes us to the spot where he was brutally attacked when one of these hippos came rushing out of the water. "It bite me on my leg, my left leg. Then after that, pushed me all the way to the bush there, then swung me, threw me back. In the process it left me." But the attack wouldn't be over. The hippo came back three more times, leaving bystanders on the lake to guess he would not survive. "They just wanted to leave me so that the cops, the police, they come and take me when I am dead," recalls Peter.

He was eventually taken to the hospital, but he says, he wasn't treated until 24 hours after the attack. The wounds in his left leg became infected. To save his life, it had to be amputated. "I thought that was the end. I thought I would use the crutches for the rest of my life." Little did he know his miracle would come thousands of miles away from East Texas. He was fitted with a LeTourneau leg and walking within days.

What do these 5 students want out of this project? The smiles on all the faces of these Kenyan amputees are enough. "They can work, they can walk, they can stand up and look people in the faceL," says L.E.G.S. team member Caleb Roepke. "It makes it all worthwhile the hours we've been working," says L.E.G.S. Project Manager Kristin Ness smiling. "That's kind of what does it to me, being able to be involved in people's lives," says L.E.G.S. team member Eric Minelga. "I feel this is the most loving, most adventurous, the best use of time that I could ever be doing right now," says L.E.G.S. team member David Eaton. "This is not possible without the students. I mean this is the student's work," says Faculty Director Dr. Roger Gonzalez, praising the students' work.

"I thank God for granting them that chance to come to us to help us. I thank the crew for the hospitality they give to us. The care and courage that they give to us so that we may feel as if we are just normal human beings," says a grateful Peter, who can now go back to work.

Tune in Friday, August 19 at 8:30 p.m. as KLTV 7's Christine Nelson hosts a 30-minute prime time special from Kijabe, Kenya!

Christine Nelson reporting

For more Journey To Africa stories and pictures click here.


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