Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Cries & Dirges for Barnabas Brian Ochunyi Wake

Halala USA was truly tested this year. With the unexpected death by drowning of Barnabas “Brian” Ochunyi, (Virginia Chapter Secretary) on 14 September 2008. He was born in 1987 to Rose Apeli Ballard [Treasure Halala USA] based in Richmond, Virginia, USA originally from Bukura, Kakamega, Kenya.

Brian was also was loved and nurtured by his grand parents Florence Osengo Mungo and the late Nelson Alfayo Mungo. He attended his primary education at Kilimo primary and attended secondary school and Shikunga High in Kenya. Then he attended ALPHAX College in Eldoret, Kenya where he attained diploma in I.T.

He moved to the USA year 2006 with his younger sister Flora Amy Achiko to follow his mother & attend college. He attended Jay Sargeant Reynolds Community College where he majored in engineering and also worked as tutor. According to his mother Rose he was doing extra Science & Mathematics classes in order to transfer to Virginia Tech, following advice of his professors, He planned to major in Mathematics and Engineering.

The death as reported in the media.

Halala members got to see Barnabas in Halala AGM in Virginia 2006 & he lead the Virginia delegation in Halala AGM both in 2007 in New Jersey & 2008 in Massachusetts. Halala USA members joined hands together with friends of Barnabas to raise funds to give him an honourable burial back home in Kenya.

All roads led to Virginia for Barnabas wake on 21 September 2008, it was truly a Kenya style funeral, Swahili & Luhya dirges were in the air, and maybe this can be part of Halala project to document & archive these uplifting songs. Other issues that Halala could consider tackling was reducing the bureaucracy in the Kenyan Embassy for funeral preparation and Customs in Kenya.

Funeral service was perfect thanks to superb service provided by Joseph W. Bliley Funeral home 8510 Staple Mill RD, Richmond, VA 23228. It’s very difficult to find funeral business that understands the demands of international burial. Thank God the fire marshal didn’t show up for the large turnout of Halala members, Halala USA president Pius Mwemba, didn’t forget his being Commissioner of Scout days by perching a tent in the compound. I don’t think Richmond, Virginia really got to see this many Kenyans coming together to say good bye to their son Barnabas. Thanks to commendable hospitality efforts of Halala Virginia Chapter Chair Lady Sharon Otwoma & her treasurer Joyce Amakabane things went on smoothly.

The fundraiser reached its target, thanks to the extra efforts of ‘Chini ya mti’ members and all the friends of Halala. The body left for Kenya on 24 September 2008 this is only 10 days after the death on 14 September 2008.

I would like to take this opportunity & urge all Kenyans in Diaspora to take advantage & join Halala, which strives to empower & support its members to form a single forum.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

'Big foot',
follow this link on Standard

to read "Burying billions in bottomless pits ".

This article was so much relative and I guess it can not be ruled out somebody had malice on what we did. How can it be that when we just did what we had to do, someone comes up to think otherwise?
All we have to be proud of is that we did it on time. If anybody was waiting for us to fail the that is why they could have such ill motives.
Otherwise the job was well done.
To all participants I would say be proud of yourselves for what you did within a short time was the best to offer for Brayo.