It is simply called “Club 1000 Stockholm” and it will be based in Stockholm city. It is not an organization, has no Committee or Office so it has no Chairperson, Secretary or Treasurer. However, its mandate is very clear – to mobilize funds to help transport the bodies of its members for burial in Kenya when they die.
It is a fact that today, Kenyans have a huge problem when a member of the community passes on. Transportation of the body costs as much as 50.000kr and, usually, the community has to foot this bill because the work of the Kenyan Embassy in Stockholm appears to have been reduced to issuing passports and visas to tourists seeking good time in Kenya. If the bereaved has a spouse or children, the bill could grow even bigger. The case of Mr. George Obor, who passed away two weeks ago, is a typical case in point.
On Saturday, 24th March 2012, Kenyans, friends, sympathizers and well-wishers will have to raise at least 65.000kr to help transport Obor’s body to Kenya to be interred. Obor’s wife, Monica, together with his daughter, will have to accompany the body to Kenya and everyone is in agreement. Just to bankroll the harambee, friends have raised 20.000kr. Although everyone is upbeat that the mission will be accomplished, there is no guarantee that 65k will be raised.
The gigantic task is to mobilize the funds because both the Swedish government and the Kenyan government have nothing to do with it. In this situation, it can be safe to posit that the Swedish government will play a bigger role than the Kenyan government because it will purchase the casket, facilitate a memorial service and transport the body to Arlanda International Airport. From there, the Kenyans will have to foot the bill if the body is to reach Nairobi.
The economic difficulties that accompany “Kenya burials” is what has motivated a group of Kenyans to set up “Club 1000 Stockholm”. The main agenda of this Club is to ensure that if a member passes on, the body will be transported to Kenya without harambee worries. It is called “Club 1000” because the proposal is that when a body needs to be transported to Kenya, every member will be under an obligation to contribute 1000kr (at the minimum) towards body transportation costs.
Who is next?
The group’s argument is that the Club needs approximately 50 members paying a thousand each to transport a body home without the hassles of harambees. This is because at 1000kr per head, 50k can be raised within a minute, and without a series of meetings, bankrollings, SMS messages, phone calls and multiple appeals for help from everywhere as Kenya Embassy sleeps on the job.
A better argument is that the more the membership grows beyond 50, the more the amount of money to be contributed goes down. For example, if the initiative attracts 100 members, every member will have to part with 500kr. Should the figure reach 150, you can do your math and it will be less than 500kr. Under such circumstances, any meeting when death strikes will only be to condole with a bereaved family or to celebrate the life of the departed soul.
The reality of death within the Kenya-Stockholm community (just like with other communities) is very much alive. Just to rewind, the passing of: Maggero in 2007 followed by Awuonda, Owili, Kimondo, Njonjo, Gacheru, Tevin, Elias and now Obor easily comes to mind.
What is unknown is “who is next” otherwise from a realistic perspective, there is obviously a Kenya-Stockholmer out there who will be the next to kick the bucket to pave way for a fresh harambee as the cycle continues. To solve this problem, enthusiasts of “Club 1000” have resolved to collect the names of “like-minded Kenyans” with the main target being 50 members. Once the group constitutes itself, the Club members will be free to discuss what happens if a member is bereaved back home.
Already, the following 15 Kenyans have signed up: Nick, Clay Onyango, Jane Owili, Joseph Goga, Tony Odera, Jasper Craph, Okoth Osewe, Peter Ongolo, Jared Odero, Teresa Seda, Monica Obor, Junior Opee, Gideon Oyundi and Oyuga Odada.
According to Clay Onyango, who mooted the idea, “Kenyans need to wake up” and solve the haranbee problem. Those who have signed up have agreed and the search for 35 more members has just began. There are over 500 Kenyans in Stockholm and getting 35 new members should not be a very big challenge. If magic were to happen and 500 Kenyans were to sign up, every member will only have to contribute 100kr to transport a body home. In the current search for 50 members, if every existing member (out of the 15) recruits two more members, the deal will be sealed.
KSB has accepted to promote the idea because it is progressive. We hope that Kenyans will find the idea appropriate and sign up accordingly. Thirty five fresh members are needed so when you are done with reading this, be the next to sign up. It will be a better way “kujivunia kuwa Mkenya” instead of “kuvumilia kuwa Mkenya”. To sign up, call/send sms to Clay Onyango at: 076216912 or KSB at 0736533068.