Story by Tony Karanja
DALLAS, TX- Hundreds of family members, friends and colleagues gathered to bid farewell and remember the life of Gardson Mainge Kamau on Sunday afternoon at the Upendo Baptist Church. Gardson Kamau was found dead in his apartment in Plano, TX a weekend ago.
The service began shortly after 3 pm. The Master of Ceremony Mr. Daniel Ndogo kicked off the proceedings giving a rundown of the program. Shortly thereafter, the opening scripture was read by Alice Wanjiru, a friend to Gardson and a neighbor to the deceased. The Eulogy was read by Peter Mwaniki a friend to Gardson. Mwaniki recalled the good times they shared with the deceased as well as Gardson’s signature dishes that he used to lavish them with. He remembered Gardson’s hearty laugh and numerous jokes. Dorothy Manyara, a cousin to the deceased recounted to the mourners the moments leading up to the finding of Gardson’s body. Although this account had been recounted before to mourners who had visited the family earlier on, it continued to strike a chord as it provided a reminder of how important it is to always check up on each other especially when one is living alone. Silence gripped the mourners as they took in every word as she provided this chilling timeline. This story reminded this writer of the similarly eerie circumstances a couple of months ago which led to the finding of a Kenyan lady, Gloria Kathurima in Manchester, UK. Gloria was also found dead in her apartment and Greater Manchester Police had to issue a plea to the public to help them locate her family. Her family has since been contacted.
There was an emotional moment when nieces and nephews to Gardson rose to speak and pay tribute to their uncle in a special presentation. After introductions by Miriam Manyara, they gave way to young Sheillane Murigi. A smiling Sheilanne remembered how Uncle Kamau used to take charge when they were in his presence and how “cool” of an uncle he was. After going through the happy moments with the deceased, Sheilanne then tearfully paid tribute to Uncle Kamau. “We miss you Uncle Kamau”, she said tears rolling down her eyes prompting audible gasps as some mourners were unable to hold back their emotions. Watching Sheilanne’s tribute gave a clear indication of the bond they had and it was all too clear of the gap he had left in the kids’ lives.
Other speakers who spoke about his life included Dr. Joseph H. Parker (1st Presbyterian Church of Plano) and Esther Manyara who is the deceased’s auntie. Mrs Manyara had travelled from California to see off her nephew. Also speaking at the event was Alex Ndirangu who was also a member of the committee and a representative of Trinity Ushindi Ministry. Mr. Ndirangu pointed out that it was important for friends to check up on each other and make sure they follow up even when they do not respond to our phonecalls. He said it was important not to assume that they are just ignoring our calls as something may be amiss and unless we follow up, it may be too late. He reminded the mourners that, had Dorothy not make an extra effort to look for Gardson when he did not return her phone calls, he may not have been found as soon as he was and would probably have spent a much longer time in the apartment. Pastor Jackson Kingori of Neema Gospel Church, in Richardson, spoke on behalf of the Church and the sermon was delivered by Pastor Muniu who is the Associate Pastor at Upendo Baptist Church in Garland, TX and the hosting church for the memorial service.
As the close of the ceremony approached, prayers were said for the family. Pastor John Mugo of St. Matthews Anglican Church, in Irving, led the session as he prayed for God’s Grace over the family and also prayed for the family’s strength. A fundraiser followed shortly after Mr. Maina Kaigi gave a recap of what is needed to send Gardson home to his final resting place. Just before the fundraiser, one of the speakers, Alex Ndirangu provided a light moment when he “asked” anyone who owed Gardson some money to “pay up now”. “Our traditions are different, but anyone who owes Gardson some money can pay up now (at this fundraiser),” Alex quipped prompting a burst of laughter from the mourners. “…and anyone who is owed by Gardson can claim a repayment only if they showed documentary evidence of the existence of the debt,” he added to more laughter.
Mr. Charles Koinange, a cousin to the deceased gave a vote of thanks and thanked friends, the Pastors of the various churches that were involved in the funeral arrangements as well as prayers, and well wishers who have consoled the family since the past weekend. The viewing of the body followed shortly afterwards and after the viewing, the body was taken back to Rahma Funeral Home for preparation for the final journey to Kenya.
Mr. Kamau’s body left for Kenya on Monday September 28th, 2009 and his funeral is scheduled for Friday October 2nd 2009 at his home in Nakuru District. May God rest his Soul in Eternal Peace.
APPRECIATION NOTE FROM THE FAMILY
Thank you so much for your out pouring of love and kindness as we grieve our beloved Gardson Kamau. It is because of all your prayers and support that Gardson will be laid to rest this Friday at his home in Nakuru, Kenya.
Celebrating a life well lived:
Details of the Memorial Service: http://www.jambonewspot.com/Gardson_Kamau_Memorial.htm
TO VIEW MORE PICTURES OF THE MEMORIAL SERVICE, VISIT http://www.gardsonkamau.us
It has been a somber couple of months or so for Kenyans in the Diaspora and I take this opportunity to convey my heartfelt condolences and urge you to take heart. Kenyans in the diaspora have lost sisters, brothers, friends, parents,sons and daughters and it has been a difficult and trying period for many in the community. Those that we have lost include:
Gardson Mainge Kamau-Dallas, TX
Moses Muniu Gatere—Dallas, TX
Justice Mbaka- Dallas TX
George Onyango- Yucaipa, CA
Gloria Kathurima- Manchester, UK
Tabitha “Michelle” Wanjiru Njenga- London, UK
Perpetua “Wendy” Muthoni Muchemi- London, UK
Timothy Muraguri Ndegwa- Atlanta, GA
Jack Apollo Awuor- California
And many others that I may have missed.
Many others in the Diaspora have lost their loved ones back home and just to mention a few:
Eva Wangechi Maina (Sister to Eric Maina-Dallas, TX)
Justus Muiruri Marugu (Grandfather to Charles Muiruri Maina-AjabuAfrica.com)
George Njuguna a.k.a Georgie (Brother to Anne Njuguna and Benson Njuguna(DJ Sisqo) of Dallas, TX
For all the above mentioned as well as those other countless ones that I have not mentioned, hope the words from this clip provide you with solace as you remember your loved ones. They all left this earth in different ways but God loved them equally. May God rest their souls in eternal peace