Goodbye and goodnight little Brian

Goodbye and goodnight little Brian

Written by Ted Horton, HHF Co-founder and Chairman

Brian Kangethe was laid to rest at his grandmother’s plot in the outskirts of Nairobi yesterday. It was a beautiful service that was coordinated and executed impeccably by Hanne and our program managers, Lucy and Isaiah. Brian passed away suddenly on January 7th from an AIDS-related infection after spending 5 days in a private hospital.

The past 6 days have been very tough. Hanne and I considered Brian a son since he came into our lives at age 6 in 2006. Many memories were shared by his HHFL brothers and sisters during the service. We were all reminded of his love for all animals and of his time at the KSPCA caring for dogs. His slum dog Skeepy whom he rescued was with him for 3 years, and two dogs that Hanne and I rescued, Tiger and Tommy, are Skeepy’s sons (we just learned this). Brian also loved his goldfish and rabbits.

Stories of Brian were many. He was a whiz at computers, undeniably the best in the project as his HHFL siblings told us. We plan to set up a IT scholarship in Brian’s memory. We also learned that he was an online music producer with his buddy Farris from the project. When anyone had a computer problem they turned to Brian. One funny story told to us by Samuel goes like this: Samuel (who is 21 and studying to become an aircraft engineer) was trying to get into the Kenyan military service. His application was refused because he was “overly qualified”. Brian’s response “Don’t worry Sam, I’ll get you into the Russian military”!! We laughed. Brian always had a “Can Do” attitude and this was just a funny example.

There were about 300 people (including all of his HHFL brothers and sisters) from the Lenana community at yesterdays’ funeral service. It was a real tribute to how much he was loved by so many. In Kenya there is a cultural practice called a “Harambie”. It runs all night long for 4 nights before a burial. Friends and family sit around a wood fire and exchange stories about their loved one. Brian’s harambie was always packed.

Hanne and I feel really blessed. Our kids did a wonderful job of supporting us throughout the past 6 days. We were  “family” like never before, thanks to Brian.

So many of our school graduates came back to be part of the celebration, including Jane Wambui, a single mum. She is now climbing the corporate ladder as a “financial adviser”. I think her main area of focus is selling insurance. Another great success story. She is 1 of 7 kids . Her mum was a blind albino who died 3 years ago of cancer. Her brother Daniel Kariuki who we put through pastry school is now working full time at a food company.

We have so many heartwarming stories of kids whom we have supported on the road to a better future.

Thanks to everyone who has sent warm wishes and helped us pay for Brian’s hospital and funeral costs. We appreciate your love and support during this difficult time.

If you’d like to make a donation in his memory, please click here. Your funds will go toward establishing an IT Scholarship for a deserving HHFL student in his name.

 

 

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