November 5, 2020 is a day Pablo Bashir will never forget. It has become a sort of anniversary for him. This is the day he nearly lost his life in a nasty car accident on the Kampala-Mbarara highway. That accident claimed the life of his friend Badru Mohammad Katongole and has left Pablo nursing serious injuries.
Five months later, Pablo Bashir is yet to fully recover. After the accident that left him with head and chest injuries, Pablo was in Nakasero hospital for nearly a month and a half. At some point, even the doctors were unsure if he would recover, so severe were his head injuries.
The doctors had to inform Pablo’s family that they could not tell the extent of his head trauma until he recovered his consciousness. They were also concerned that Pablo was likely to lose sight in his right eye because of the impact of the accident on his head.
But there was one thing no one, except those who know Pablo, had not counted on: the sheer resilience and determination of the man. Pablo did not just wake up from his coma after several hours of inactivity, he wanted to rise from the bed immediately to get on with the job he had started before the deadly crash. The job was to help his mentor and boss Mr Kin Kariisa arrange the burial of his older brother Dr Anas Kaliisa who had died suddenly.
Pablo’s alertness and awareness of what had preceded the accident gave the doctors great hope that his brain had not been adversely affected by the accident. They were right, though, to worry about his eye sight. The traumatic knock to Pablo’s head in the accident had impaired his eye sight and still needs more urgent surgery. Unfortunately, no Ugandan medical facility is staffed and equipped enough to carry out these operations.
The Next Media chief of protocol officer would not be able to attend the burial of Dr Kaliisa who had been a pillar in his life and the Muslim community in Uganda for decades. Pablo would also not be able to see off his great friend Badru Katongole who had been decapitated in the accident.
Badru Katongole, a young politician affiliated to the National Unity Platform (NUP), had been in the process of running for the MP seat of Bukoto Central. As a key mobiliser for the young party, a vibrant politician in his own right, Katongole had a real chance to win and become a member of parliament in the 2021 House. Pablo, who for weeks could barely sit up in his hospital bed, would not be able to bury this peer.
Since his emergency from hospital, Pablo has resumed his chief of protocol duties at Next Media Services. His employer had recommended a longer convalescence but his sense of duty will not let Pablo remain still for long. Since his return to work, he has overseen the visits of important guests like American musician Akon to Uganda, the KCCA Executive Director Dorothy Kisaka, guests who feature on Spotlight UG special programme on NBS TV all go through his handling and many others.
Pablo hardly ever complains about the crippling headaches he suffers from time to time when in the bright glare of sunlight. Nor does he talk about the recommended surgeries that await him this year and the next on his way to full healing. He wants to work and continue to make an impact, a positive one at that.