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6 Kenyans die in metropolitan Atlanta in one month

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BY BMJ MURIITHI

An unprecedented death wave has hit the Kenyan community in Metropolitan Atlanta leaving the immigrant community in utter shock, disbelief and financially exhausted.

In a span of one month, six deaths have been reported. It all began with the demise of a young man named Brian Kabage under suspicious circumstances.

Then followed Mr Timothy Majanja Lukalia, the 71 year old man who passed away at Grady Memorial Hospital in downtown Atlanta after living in North America for an uninterrupted 50 years. Majanja was buried in Lubao Village, Kakamega County on Saturday.

The late Brian Kabage

Then came the death of Sarah Njeri, a young lady who left behind two beautiful girls.  Sarah was a daughter to Salome Kirega and had been hospitalized at Kennestone Hospital for several months.

The late Sarah Njeri.

Just as the community was trying to come to terms with the sad news of the death of Ms Njeri, another young woman, Loise Mumbi Mukundi , who had been ill, passed on. She had lived in Georgia for 5 years before relocating to Huntsville, Alabama but still called Georgia her home.

 

The late Loise Mumbi Mukundi.

And even before both Sarah and Mumbi were buried, the shocking news of the death of 44 year old Margaret Nga’ng’a, a Kenyan born nurse whose body was found in her parked car at Northside Hospital-Cherokee in Canton, Georgia broke.

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Margaret left behind four beautiful kids.

The late Margaret Ng’ang’a.

And as a memorial service in honor of Ms Nganga was being held at the Kenyan American Community Church, the family of Bob Maina Kirigwi, was struggling with a decision on whether to let the medical personnel at Kennestone Hospital unplug the life support machine and pronounce him dead. On Tuesday, May 28th, a message was posted on Kenyans in Georgia Facebook Group announcing the death of Mr Kirigwi.

After each death of a Kenyan in US (or at least most of them), just as is tradition, compatriots form a funeral committee to raise funds to pay for funeral expenses. The cost ranges anywhere from $9,000 to 13,000, depending on whether a body is buried in Kenya or in the US.

In some cases, if family members decide to accompany the body to Kenya, the cost can go up to $40,000 or even higher.

 

 

The late Bob Maina Kirigwi.

 

In the wake of the Atlanta death wave, Ms Priscilla Wandu, a medical professional based in Georgia, said it is high time the Kenyan Community seriously rethought of how to deal with death when it comes and be sensitized on some preventive measures which could save a life or two down the line.

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“Information is power and I think those of us who have it can help save a life in future if only we can get a platform to impart the knowledge,” she told this reporter recently by phone.

With these deaths, the cost of funerals has also come into sharp focus with many Kenyans saying – understandably so -that they are fatigued.

The late Timothy Majanja

“I know whenever I raise this issue, some people say I am an enemy of development, but I will say it again…we can’t sustain this harambee business for very long. This money comes from the same pockets,” said Miriam Wanjiru, a resident of Kennesaw, Georgia. “I know we all want to help but there are better proven ways of handling such matters and Kenyans in the US should move with the times,” she added.

Another Kenyan, John Karis, writes the following on Instagram: “What is wrong with emulating the Wazungus when it comes to the way we manage matters to do with death? I admire them.”

Let us seriously think of life insurance schemes that cater for these things. They are realities that we can’t just sweep under the carpet, he adds in a separate post.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. njuguna muigai

    May 29, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    When friends offer their time and money, the bereaved family should be be appreciative. Why should the whole family decide to travel to Kenya yet they are overburdening the friends who are helping them? There might be some medical billS to clear too.

  2. kefa

    May 30, 2018 at 3:28 am

    I agree with you. People rush to insure their cars and property from damage or loss but forget to also insure themselves. Is that property worth more than your life?

    It is the high time kenyans living in the diaspora started taking life insurance. life insurance will help to pay medical bills in case of hospitalition, you will be copensated incase of permanent or temporary disability, your family will be compensated if the worst happen and they lose you.

    It is very sad seeing people conducting harambees just to send a body home or settle medical bills. Here is a very informative article I found.>>>

    4 Things That Happen When You Die. Number 4 Will Shock You! Link: https://goo.gl/YqMyWq

  3. njuguna muigai

    June 3, 2018 at 9:16 am

    Let us examine ourselves do we overburden ourselves for working too much some of us work average of eighty hours a week. Is that not working a lot

  4. Regina

    June 3, 2018 at 11:35 am

    I believe an agency like the Foskus Foundation was started due to unforetold occurrences like these. Foskus is providing a form of insurance alternative to Kenyans in situations like these.

    http://www.foskus.com

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