"Mountain Magpie" wrote in message news:iq26d9...@mid.individual.net...
On Sat, 11 Sep 2021 08:52:45 +1000, Fran posted:-
>> Read about her this morning. Got a laugh and a head shake out of it.
> The lice fall out?
Try the ghetto method of lice removal: "'We discussed cutting his hair,'
said Nzinga. 'He was in tears, I was in tears. We didn't want to cut his
hair. So we remembered that we had some gas in the car (trunk) for
emergencies. We figured we would clean (the hair) with gas and then use the
medication.'" You KNOW what happened next, buahaha...
Teen's treatment ends in tragedy
They were just trying to save his hair.
But what started as a desire to preserve Koran Akindele Jenkin's dreadlocks,
grown during his 13-year life, ended in tragedy and changed the Berkeley
boy's world forever.
Koran had picked up head lice in his thick, black shoulder-length dreads
during a backyard campout with a group of friends. The eighth grader had
never in his life had a haircut. He loved his hair. His mother loved his
hair. Koran, a member of a hip-hop group, needed the hair to complete his
But as the critters hopped around in Koran's locks, mother and son became
increasingly repulsed and headed for the boy's pediatrician. The doctor was
They drove to Alta Bates hospital, where medical staff covered Koran's head
with a surgical cap and instantly diagnosed him with head lice, his mother
Medical staff talked of a prescription medicine, but because there are
dangers, it was not prescribed. Then the conversation turned to how gasoline
and kerosene are used to clean the hair and kill head lice in some cultures
where dreads are more common, his mother, Ayodele Nzinga, said.
In the end, medical staff told Koran to get a haircut so over-the-counter
treatments could readily attack the lice.
"We discussed cutting his hair," said Nzinga. "He was in tears, I was in
tears. We didn't want to cut his hair. So we remembered that we had some gas
in the car (trunk) for emergencies. We figured we would clean (the hair)
with gas and then use the medication."
That was Sept. 18. At home in Berkeley, mother and son headed to the kitchen
with the gas. Bent over the sink, Nzinga covered her son's eyes and face
with a towel and soaked the hair in gas. It's a compact kitchen and the sink
and the gas stove are tucked in the small space.
Nzinga said nothing was on in the kitchen, but somehow the pilot light on
the stove flared, sending enough of a spark to set Koran's head ablaze.
"One minute I was twisting the gasoline out of his locks and the next minute
my baby was on fire," said Nzinga, a single mother who has seven children
ages 12 to 26.
Nzinga said she couldn't move quick enough. "If I could have remembered what
to do quicker maybe he wouldn't have been burned so bad," she said, tears
streaming down her face.
Water wasn't working to douse the flames so Nzinga grabbed a towel that was
on the nearby washing machine and wrapped his head in it. "I brought him to
my (chest) and smothered the fire out," she said.
From that moment forward Koran's life was forever altered, family and
friends said. He was burned over 23 percent of his body and spent two weeks
at Doctor's Hospital in Pinole and two months at Shriner's Hospital For
Children in Sacramento. He underwent eight surgeries, including many skin
His right hand, which sustained fourth-degree burns, was so badly damaged
doctors had to amputate all his fingers.
Nzinga, with third-degree burns to her left hand and second-degree burns to
her right hand, was also admitted to Doctor's Hospital, she said. Her hand
is still badly discolored and she has some pain.
Looking back, Nzinga said her boy was amazingly strong from the minute the
"He said, 'We are going to be OK, Mama,'" she recalled. "I think he was
possibly in shock too, but there are two ways to deal with extreme trauma --
fight or flight. You can either stay coherent and fight on your own behalf
or you can become hysterical."
The past three months have undoubtedly been the most difficult in Koran's
short life, his mother and brother said. The home-schooled teenager went
from a star on the basketball court who had interests in photography, drama,
poetry and hip-hop music to a boy who sometimes needs his younger brother's
help to get dressed.
"He's just angry right now because some of the stuff he could do before he
can't do anymore," said brother Stanley Hunt, 12.
Adds Koran: "I was very good at basketball. ... I'm not sure I'll be able to
play basketball again."
Still, Nzinga said doctors are pleased with his progress.
"They said he's doing amazingly well ... he's going to have to have a lot
more surgery," she said.
His care is time consuming and has often kept Nzinga from her job as an
artist-in-residence at the Prescott Joseph Center for Community Enhancement
in West Oakland.
In addition to his medications and the twice-daily dressing changes, Koran
must wear a plastic face mask for protection and pressure garments for
healing. He is required to go to Shriners once a month and visits his own
pediatrician at least twice a month.
Nzinga, a community activist, artist and poet, has been working toward a
doctorate degree in transformative education and change to better her life.
She said she is doing her best to make ends meet, but sometimes it's tough.
Thanks to contacts with Camp Winnarainbow, Wavy Gravy's Berkeley-based
performance arts camp, friends will hold a benefit Sunday night to raise
money for the family. Koran has attended the camp since he was 7.
The benefit begins at 7:30 p.m. at Ashkenaz, 1317 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley.
Organizers are asking for a $10 to $20 donation to see many performers. On
stage will be Wavy Gravy, the Original Action Pack improv comedy troupe;
Rashidi Omari of Company of Prophets; Silver; Rudi Mwongozi: the Sounds of
New Afrika; B.U.D. Hi Beats; M.A.C. with Commander Rude Dog; Wadi God; JT
the Bigga Figga; Human Earthquake Marvin X; Citizen Payne; Congo Square 2
Drum Circle; Paradise; Gabriella; Mechell La Chaux; the Blue Jazz Diva,
Wordslanger; Kemrex on the turntables and others.
"I've never done something like this before," said organizer Zappo
Dickinson, who stayed at Koran's bedside when Nzinga couldn't be there. "I'm
just hoping for it to be successful and a fun-filled night."
Nzinga is nearly speechless when she counts the people who have come to her
"When as many people come to your rescue as came to mine, you know someone
is listening," she said.
But she said she is also grateful for the lessons that she and Koran have
learned through the tragedy.
"We learned not to use (gasoline) in a closed space," she said. "And we
truly know the essence of an accident. It's something you didn't think out
because if you did, you wouldn't have done it."
Maybe most importantly, she and Koran have learned acceptance, she said.
"We have learned the ability to accept what the universe gives you and to
fight really hard for that to be enough."