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Kenyan Diaspora mother and two kids who died in suspicious house fire buried

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A Kenyan mother and her two children who perished after their house caught fire under mysterious circumstances in Canberra, Australia, last month were laid to rest on Friday in an emotional sendoff.

The remains of 45-year-old Anne Wachera Muhoro, her son Ezvin (8) and her daughter Furaha (5) were retrieved by firefighters from their house in Bonner on February 19th, after a house fire police say was deliberately lit.

Ezvin and Furaha were fare-welled alongside their mother in a private burial ceremony held at the Norwood Park Crematorium in Gungahlin on Friday morning. The funeral was attended by family and members of the local community.

Ms Muhoro’s estranged husband, who declined to be named, described his two kids as “playful” and “cheerful”, if not a little bit shy.

“Ezvin travelled around the world in 2012. He liked Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. He said he always wanted to go back there.”

It [ceremony] was nice but memories are so strong, They will be greatly missed,” he said.

Some of the family members attending the funeral traveled all the way from Kenya.

Police are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of the three and are waiting for results of autopsy and other tests carried on their remains.

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Detectives handling the case have appealed to anyone with information that might help in the investigations to come forward. Police said a camera footage taken from the estate between midnight of Sunday, February 18th and 8.45 am Monday, could be of great help.

Ms Muhoro had been working as a software engineer in Canberra and was set to attend a child custody hearing on the day of her death at the Family Court, but failed to show up.

Her estranged husband had moved to court seeking custody of their children. One suspect was apprehended the day after the fire, but was later released.

In 2011, a man identified as George Munene filed an online petition on a website (change.org) against Ms Muhoro, accusing her of denying him a 50/50 child custody of their son, Ezvin Munene Mugera.

“Custody battles are rife and allegations of domestic violence have been misused (by a few women) to gain an upper hand in custody and property settlement battles,” George said in the brief petition.

He further lamented about losing his AUD0.6 million (Sh47.7 million) house to Ms Anne Wachera Muhoro.

At the Funeral Friday, friends expressed their deep desire for answers to the many questions left in the wake of the tragedy.

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Ms Muhoro’s best friend, Edith Miuruka, paid tribute to her as a good Christian and a skilled migrant with an “enviable career” in software engineering.

Ms Miuruka expressed her deep grief and confusion over the death.

“There was no sign that our planned lunch would never be,” she said.

There are still many unanswered questions surrounding the Bonner house fire: police have not identified a cause, nor have they ruled out the three were already dead when the fire was set.

Ms Miuruka said her friend had weathered many “tough seasons” as a migrant in Canberra, but that she had said 2018 would be a good year.

“People may not know the true story … may divine intervention intervene to reveal Anne’s true story,” she said.

Police stand near their car while a house damaged by fire is obstructed by screens.

Ms Muhoro’s youngest brother, Peter, said when thinking about the deaths of a five-year-old and an eight-year-old, “you ask a lot of questions”.

“But you know, they had a great life, they had a joyous life,” he said.

Community desperate for answers

The unanswered questions also hung heavy in the speeches from community and church leaders.

Godfrey Munthomi, president of the East African Community Association, expressed thanks to emergency services workers who discovered the Kenyan family.

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“We are grateful, as you try to unravel what may or may not have happened. No pressure,” he said.

Mourners sung in Swahili as the coffins were carried out

The High Commissioner to Kenya also spoke on behalf of the community, and offered the Kenyan Government’s condolences.

“As a community we learned with great shock … and in circumstances we are struggling to come to terms with,” Isaiah Kabira said.

“In God we trust that one day all shall be revealed to us.”

Chaplain Richard Bevan said as a church leader he was often asked “Why?” at a time of death.

Reflecting upon the three deaths, Mr Bevan said he asked himself the same question.

“One thing I am absolutely sure of was this was not God’s will,” he said.

 

-Mwakilishi.com

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VIDEO: Man gives “free” advice to the Kikuyu Community

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A man who introduces himself as  John Ndung’u has recorded a video  – which has gone viral – in which he advises his tribesmen and women to be ‘street smart.’ Mr Ndung’u is emphatic on the need for unity especially in business ventures.

He singles out the Somali community in Nairobi as an example worth emulating,  saying that it has been able to own hundreds of businesses in prime locations due to unity of purpose.He concludes by telling the viewers that he would soon convene a meeting to address pertinent issues facing  members of his community. Watch:

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: How a Kenyan boy raised by a single mom rose to earn a Masters in Nuclear Medicine #DIASPORASTORIES
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UNSUNG DIASPORA HEROES: Mwakilishi, Jambonewspot, Ajabuafrica

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BY MAHUGU NUTHU

“Fake news!” “Fake news!” Sadly, we are now used to waking up to anti-press rhetoric. It’s the new catchphrase. Trump’s old “you’re fired” shtick has lost its mojo. His unrelenting attacks on members of the Fourth Estate is something one would only expect from authoritarian leaders. For us Africans, harassment of media is something that sounds too familiar.

For years we have come to appreciate press freedom as the lifeblood of democracy and ironically looking up to USA as the beacon of these ideals. But that’s another story for another time.  That’s not the subject of this piece, but it makes a good backdrop. Everybody understands the power media outlets, but probably less appreciated is the power of the Mwakilishi, Jambonewspot, Ajabuafrica and dozens other online based newspapers. Today, these are the unsung heroes in our community.  The proof is in the pudding.

In a recent case in my own backyard, a family lost a young son in a road accident out of state. By Gosh, no parent should have to bury a child. We know it is not the natural order of things. That’s pain. Excruciating pain and sorrow. But God giveth and God taketh away.

It’s even worse when this happens abroad. As if death is not enough a blow, its followed by unimaginable bureaucratic tangle of paperwork and logistical nightmare. Consequently, the family needed assistance to move their son hundreds of miles to their state for a memorial service and then send him thousands of miles to his final resting place in Kenya.

Mr Mahugu Nuthu. PHOTO/COURTESY

The committee had to reach out quickly to raise the funds though social media and traditional ways. Unsurprisingly Mwakilishi, Jambonewspot and Ajabuafrica opened their pages. They responded quickly. Cases like this proves the importance of community press and the useful role these websites play in supporting the information needs of the Kenyan in USA.

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When it comes to tragedy, they do things that you won’t get from a monolithic newspaper in terms of turnaround time, reach and cost. Their results are very tangible and observable almost instantly, something you won’t get from the so called mainstream media.

These community websites do not usually charge for death notices and you reach a lot of Kenyans. Consider that one-day listing of four lines in a “national newspaper” will cost you several hundred dollars. And you might end up not reaching the people you are targeting.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not actually about money. It’s comforting to know that you don’t have to deal with the advertising department of a soulless intractable entity.  Mwakilishi, Jambonewspot and Ajabuafrica operators understand our community because they’re a part of it. Nobody is immune to tragedies. For the record I don’t know these people personally. But their actions show that they do not merely serve as information providers. Sometimes “death announcement” means “financial help is needed ASAP”.

Only a Kenyan living in USA would understand that and urgency of the situation. New York Times might not. That’s how we handle things. We scream across the country albeit digitally. We are the ones who discovered the “digits” by sending smoke signals piece by piece across the ridges thousands of years before it became “on” and “off” that computers use today. It was stolen. But I digress. I will leave the “alternative facts” to the “post truth experts!”

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While we are on the “appreciation” subject, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the role of Kenyan Churches in USA. They have become the glue which holds our community together. In times of tragedy, hardship and sorrow, as in the above reference case, the local churches become sanctuaries of hope. Allow me to pull another Kansas City Metro backyard example.

Neema Community Church is rooted deeply in its community, and has its membership operating as de facto public servants. Located in Olathe, Kansas, it’s a huge beautiful sanctuary with classrooms, meeting rooms, offices, recreation areas, a large fellowship hall and huge kitchen attached to it. Well, and lots of parking to boot. Under Pastor, Rev. David Nzioka, it’s a community center dealing with needs that go beyond the mission of a traditional church.

A place of worship where local homeless escaping freezing nights often get free food. In a time of crisis thousands of miles from home you are bound to find fellow compatriots here looking for the elusive answers to their many “whys” and seeking comfort in each other. It’s the iconic sacred tree where Africans worship, meet and greet

.  After a year of polarizing elections that rekindled ethnic tensions, it’s very encouraging see Kenyans remaining united at that level. Tribal lines become effectively blurred.  It takes a dynamic, charismatic and inspirational leader to accomplish this. I hope you find your own fashion of “Dr. David Nzioka” in your neck of the woods.

READ ALSO:   Man deported back to Kenya moments after landing at his destination

Back to my subject as I conclude. I understand there are many diaspora news websites whose primary mission is to cover the important issues that affect the Kenya community in USA. Many showcase community businesses for a fee. Yes, they are businesses themselves. They are not obligated to carry your message, however sad. They choose to do it.  While I did not mention them all by name, my biggest hope is that you will continue to support them.

These media outlets make our community better just because of their dedication to it.  Same case applies to our community churches and pastors. We should let them know that we do appreciate what they do. Although we are spread across this continent-size country, sea to shining sea, they make us a cohesive Kenyan community.

By Mahugu Nuthu | nuthology@gmail.com. Mahugu is the author of the book Nuthology.

 

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VIDEO: Kenyan Woman tried to rob a bank in Texas, use baby as a shield – Police

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A Kenyan woman tried to rob a bank in Murphy, Texas on Wednesday.

Police say Evelyn Misumi, 36, walked into a Bank of America branch armed with a hammer, gasoline and lighter fluid. She poured gasoline and lighter fluid on the bank’s lobby and demanded cash from the tellers while waving the hammer. Bank employees called 911, forcing Evelyn to run outside towards her car, says the police report.

When police arrived at the scene, they tried to use pepper spray to subdue her, but she pulled a 9-month-old baby from her car and “attempted to use the child as a shield,” police say.

Evelyn was taken to Collin County jail. The child was taken to Children’s Medical Center as a precaution.

Evelyn faces robbery and child endangerment charges.

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