“Teresa Mawa Family Support Committee” Formed in Stockholm: Harambee on 24th August 2013

Moment 217

Agar Gaya: Chairperson

Following the passing away of Teresa Mawa’s mom in Kenya, a Support Committee has been set up to help the family cope with grief which struck without notice. The Committee was set up at Teresa’s residence in Märsta on Saturday, 18th August and after deliberations, the Committee decided that a Prayer Meeting/Fund Raising function will take place on Saturday, August 24th 2013 at Odensalavägen 1 in Märsta from 16.00 Hrs sharp.

Members in the Committee are as follows: Agar Gaya, Chairperson, Thomas Omondi, Vice Chairperson, Judy Mwambia, Secretary, Anna Oliech, Vice secteray, Caroline Omondi, Treasurer, Beatrice Auma, Assistant treasurer, DJ Jimmy, Music and Transport coordinator and Okoth Osewe, Information and Media. Ordinary Committee members are as follows: Alice Adhiambo, Milka Okello, Hellen Opawpo, Irene Mwambia, Anna Oliech, Susan Gaya, Milka Kamau and Mariam Shaban.

A budget of SEK 9,000 was drawn by the Committee while members also bankrolled the budget at a tune of SEK 12.000. It was agreed that Teresa’s residence will continue to remain an “Open House” ahead of the Saturday function. At the meeting a total of SEK 4.000 was raised to go towards the funds drive.

Speaking to KSB soon after the formation of the Committee, Agar Gaya appealed to all Kenyans of good will to turn up and support the bereaved Teresa family during this trying moment of great shock and sorrow. After all Committee discussions were winded up, the floor was opened.

Addressing the mourners, Jared Odero, a Kenya-Stockholmer, said that Teresa is a patriotic Kenyan whose solidarity with other Kenyans was well known. He said that the big crowd that had turned up to support Teresa’s family was testimony that Teresa is a woman of the people. He said that the family was faced with a difficult period and also appealed to friends and well-wishers alike to support the family as they try to cope with the tragedy.

James Owuya, a Ugandan who acted as the Secretary before the Committee was set up, said that death knows no boundaries. Mr. Owuya, who is well known by many Kenyans in Stockholm because of his many interractions, said that when he learnt about the bereavement, he was deeply touched because he knew the Teresa family well. He congratulated everybody who has been showing up at the residence since the sad news arrived in Stockholm and hoped that Kenyans will continue to show solidarity whenever a member of the community faces such sad moments. Owuya said that there is need for a closer collaboration between East Africans and Africans generally on a wide range of issues including bereavements and funerals, both in Sweden and Africa.

Club 1000
Those who also addressed the audience were Serah Nielssen, Gerry Midenyo and Teresa Mawa. Gerry said that a new concept called “Club 1000” is currently taking root in Kenya-Stockholm to address the issue of bereavements and deaths within the Kenyan community in Stockholm. Gerry said that it is important for Kenyans to discuss the concept and understand it because it could be the solution when it comes to showing solidarity with friends during difficult times of bereavements.

The concept was first mooted by Don Clay Onyango when George Obor, a Kenyan, passed away last year. It is based on an informal coordination of interested members paying SEK 1000 when a Kenyan passes away in Stockholm to finance body transportation to Kenya for burial. The Kenyan Embassy never plays any official roll when it comes to body transportation costs to Kenya, leaving the huge burden to friends and relatives. Mr. Midenyo hoped that Kenyans will realize the need to develop the concept and join hands to build it.

Teresa thanked everybody who showed up to support her family. She said that she was extremely overwhelmed by the number of calls Kenyans and friends made to her family following the sad news. She told the meeting that she only told one person about the sad news but that in just 1 hour, her phone was permanently engaged with messages of condolences and support. She thanked KSB for the good work the blog site was doing and hoped that this work would continue.

When she took the floor to address the gathering, Serah Nielsen said the trend of bereavements was here to stay because people must one day die. She said that what was important was for Kenyans to remain united and show solidarity with one another especially during times of need.

Others who were present at the meeting were Jasper Orieny, the proprietor of jaspersystems.se, Lucy, a Ugandan lady who had come all the way from Sandviken, Nancy Osumba among others. Nancy told the gathering that she was faced with a major task of transporting the body of the late Michael Osumba to Kenya and appealed to all Kenyans to support her since the burden was big and beyond the control of her family. A harambee for Osumba is scheduled for August 31st at “Africa House” in Hagsätra. As news about bereavements continue to hit Kenya-Stockholm, all roads are leading to Märsta  this Saturday.

Okoth Osewe 

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