Saturday, March 8, 2008

A Tribute to Nyar Okuyu - Daughter of the Kikuyu

Fidelis Wainaina passed away from cancer as our country's own cancer dug itself deeper into our entrails. Personally, I think she lost her faith - not in her God - but in humanity. She had worked relentlessly for over 15 years in rural Luo land to bring back the rewards of agriculture.
I met Fidelis about 12 years ago when I was writing my MA thesis. We connected so well and over the years, spent many hours battling our own thinking in the hope that we might be able to help somebody improve their own wellbeing. Ayodo's article in the Standard sums up her selfless success in what she set out to do:
"Her humble demeanour also belies her grand ideas that have changed lives. But Ms Fidelis Wainaina can be ranked among the models the world needs to feed the hungry. She has earned the accolades despite running a demonstration farm on a tiny piece of land near the equator in Maseno, Kisumu."
In retrospect, her absence from our lives in the last year makes complete sense. When Nakuru was burning, I called her to find out about here family as they had lived their whole lives there. They were huddled in a town apartment listening to the screams below for their blood from the very people they had once gone to church with as Fidelis said. She told me that two of her Aunts had been burnt to death already. Several of them were planning how to get out of Nakuru as I urged her to get out of there as soon as possible.
I called the next day and she did not pick up here phone. A few days later I received an sms from her which I could not quite understand. Three days ago, my folks told me they heard she had died from cancer. I understand her choice to suffer in silence. I also understand her choice to give up on living as she looked around and relfected on those hills in western Kenya which she loved and dedicated her whole life to.
On the hills,

Between boulders

And thrills,

A silent eruption quivers through


From the echo,

You can just

Make out these words:

If the radiance of a thousand suns

Were to burst at once in the sky,

That would be like the splendor of

The Mighty One…

i am become Death,

The shatterer of worlds.

Those hills,

That lake,

I know she is watching and waiting for her ride