Reuben Mwambingu @reubenmwambingu Hassan Deri Majimbo cuts a lonely figure as he sits in a corridor between two makeshift houses near his home in Jaribuni area, Kilifi county. Deri is supposed to be in Form Two, but he dropped out five years ago after a device he was fiddling with blew off part of his face. He was only 12 years old at the time when his fascination with a ball-like object got the best of him and he tried to open it up to see what was inside. The blast that followed tore Deri\u2019s mouth to shreds. It blew apart part of his jaws and dismantled his dental structure, thereby completely changing his life. With body fluids oozing out of his mouth uncontrollably, Deri is forced to live with a polythene cover across his chest. How it happened He is unable to communicate normally and now spends the better part of his life in isolation. A tinge of bitterness covers his father Karisa Mitsanze Majimbo\u2019s face whenever he recalls the Friday of January 9, 2015. He points to a shady cashew nut tree where he says his son was seated as he fumbled with the object before the deafening blast went off. \u201cAfter coming back from the farm where they had gone to harvest maize, my son had sat under this tree here. He had collected the gadget from a nearby bush sometime back and he thought maybe the gadget was a light bulb. Oblivious of the dangers, he tried to connect the wires of the gadget with some expired dry cells and tried to recharge it to see whether it could produce light. On failing to see the light, he used his tongue to test the strength of the charge and that\u2019s when the explosion occurred, rupturing his mouth,\u201d he says. Five years down the line, the now 17-year-old is yet to recover, as his body bears gaping scars around his mouth and other parts. Further, the boy who was to join Class Five that January when the incident occurred, has never set foot in school since then. While the rest of family members are busy with daily chores, Deri spends most of his time seated in a narrow corridor in between two makeshift structures enduring painful and lonely days. Since the accident, he has been in and out of several hospitals yet his recovery seems to be a mirage. The boy\u2019s hardships When the blast occurred, he was immediately rushed to Kilifi Sub-county Hospital for treatment, before he was referred to Coast Provincial General Hospital where he was admitted in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for four days. He was later admitted in the normal ward for six months. \u201cWithin those six months, it was a tough task taking care of the boy because he couldn\u2019t feed properly in that he had challenges chewing and could hardly swallow any solid food,\u201d says Majimbo. A report from Coast Provincial General Hospital indicates that the patient had a blast injury of the Maxilla and Mandible, which was managed surgically in theatre. He was put on hydrogen peroxide mouthwash, paracetamol and dulcolax drugs to minimise pain and infection and was to be reviewed at the dental clinic while awaiting plastic surgery. Injuries sustained According to Majimbo, his son was taken to Tawfiq Hospital, a private hospital in Malindi, where he was treated by a team of foreign doctors who performed first stage reconstruction of the oral cavity with fibula free flap. This involved removing a bone from the fibula, a bone in the lower limb. An artery, vein and soft tissue were also harvested alongside the bone, which were then used to reconstruct the damaged oral cavity. Besides the fibula bone, chunks of tissues were hived off from parts of his body including the breast, waist, and legs for use in the reconstruction process. But while the teen\u2019s pain and suffering lasts, the family claims zero action has been taken against the companies carrying out excavation of construction materials in Jaribuni area, whose negligence has largely been blamed for the incident. Majimbo says it has been difficult to seek justice for his son because none of the owners of quarries operating in the area has ever taken responsibility. \u201cWhenever you approach them, they say they cannot be involved in the matter because the stray explosive did not belong to them. They say they are ready for investigations and if findings prove that indeed the explosive belonged to them, then they will be ready to take responsibility,\u201d he says. Area MP Teddy Mwambire said out of 22 companies that operate quarries in the area, only one uses silent explosives, while two of the companies, China Civil and China Communication allegedly operate illegally. No action taken \u201cComplaints about the quarries have been mounting. We have written letters to various departments requesting action against the companies but there have been almost zero changes. Some companies were earmarked for closure for failing to comply with standard regulations but they are still operational,\u201d Mwambire says. The frequent blasts in the area have even affected learning and caused erosion and cracks on land. \u201cWe want the County Government of Kilifi to take action against these companies. We cannot live with companies which cannot help us in anyway,\u201d he says. Kombe Nzai, a local secondary school teacher, says vibrations caused by continuous blasts from the quarry have resulted in sudden gaping holes around the area. \u201cThe holes are increasing and have made some roads impassable. This is risky because you never know at which point the land could sink,\u201d says Nzai. When People Daily toured one of the Jaribuni quarries last week, none of the officials was willing to comment on the issue.