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Location: Windhoek, Namibia

Date Of Injury: December 2015

TORMENTED by both the cold and the sun, Metjavi Kamaze spends her days mostly inside her one−room shack in the Havana informal settlement in Windhoek.

Once a social and outgoing young woman, her life was forever changed on 3 December last year when the paraffin stove she was using exploded and engulfed her clothes, body and hair in flames.

The fire also destroyed her home and everything she had. She was six−months pregnant at the time. Just 19−years−old, she now relies on her boyfriend and sisters for support and care while she heals.

“We had settled in for the night, locked the door and I was cooking. Suddenly, the flame from the paraffin stove set my pajamas on fire. While trying to take off the burning clothes, my hair caught fire. I struggled with the lock to escape and put the fire out,” she recounted.

Her second child, two−month−old Precious was born only months after she had spent two weeks in hospital with severe burns to the face, neck, arms and chest.

“I was supposed to have stayed longer, but I discharged myself,” she said. “Luckily, the doctors and nurses were not mad at me. They always help when I have pain or go for physiotherapy. I still cannot use my arms fully,” she added.

Although the physio is painful, whenever there’s a way to get to hospital, she goes because she wants to get better.

After the incident, Kamaze developed pyrophobia – fear of fires. She is even afraid of the heat from the sun. As a result, she steers clear of both as much as possible to avoid what she calls “unimaginable pain”.

“It feels like a fresh burn every time I get near a fire or go out in the sun. It is so bad that if there’s no one around, I may just stay inside here, hungry,” she stated.

The cold causes her wounds to itch. This is compounded by the cruel fire which destroyed all the family’s belongings, among them clothes, furnishings, documents, crockery, cutlery and mementos.

“I’ve never liked using candles, paraffin or gas because I always felt they were dangerous. But we live in Havana with no electricity, so we have no choice”, she lamented, her mind seemingly drifting off in thoughts of “what if”.

“I always wanted to be educated, and thought that I may do well in crafts. If I could get some training and some help, I would like to work and make money so that my children can go to school, and not be like me. When I was going to school, sometimes I didn’t have a school uniform or money for food, so I decided to leave school in Grade 8 and work for myself,” she explained.

She thus appealed for help with milk and nappies for her baby and some old furnishings like a bed, wardrobe, cupboard or zinc and poles.

“She’s not the same anymore,” her sister, Jatunguaijani Kamaze (22) said.

Her plight was brought to the attention of The Namibian by the Kahengava Foundation, who after assisting Kamaze, recognised the need to get more support for her from the broader public.

“For the entire Kahengava Investment cc Group of Companies, corporate social responsibility is a priority. So once we were made aware of Kamaze’s situation, we wanted to get involved and assist where we could.

However, after assessing her situation, we realised she’s in need of much more help, and thus appeal to other corporate entities and the general public to come to this young woman’s aid and help her rebuild her life”, said Hoze Kaoti, acting managing director of the Kahengava Investment Group.

If anyone would like to get in contact with Kamaze and her family, kindly contact her on 081 7506146 or her sister at 081 8068973.