NOTE: We’ll keep updating this tribute to capture messages as they come.
Sacramento, CA: Family and friends have rallied to celebrate the life of Pascal Odira Ndiege, a beloved member of the Kenyan community in Sacramento and younger brother to Kenya’s founding father, Tom Mboya.
Mr. Ndiege, fondly known as Odi, died on Friday, April 1, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
“Odi’s wish was that he be laid to rest at home, in Rusinga Island,” Pinna Wasonga, one of the WhatsApp group administrators, said.
The community has rallied to grant his wish in a big way.
News about Mr. Ndiege’s death has brought together Kenyan and US friends in a WhatsApp group, sharing photos and great memories and raising funds to ensure he gets a dignified final journey.
In almost every photo, Mr. Ndiege is jovial, displaying his signature wide smile and indulging with friends.
“Odi was truly a man of the people, as exemplified by the community response to support his homecoming journey,” a friend posted as tribute in the WhatsApp forum created in his honor. “He was humble, always with a positive mental attitude and a very warm and empathetic demeanor. RIP, big bro; you fought a good fight and are a big loss to the community.”
The community has responded with overwhelming generosity toward fundraising efforts.
Friends say they’re ready to raise whatever money is needed to give Mr. Ndiege, who was the last surviving son in the Mboya family, a great send-off.
I have never seen anybody in Sacramento showered with so much love by Kenyans from all tribes, and from all walks of life like Odi. Nelson Mwangi said.
“We have to get Odi back home,” he said.
In an old video posted in the WhatsApp group, Timothy Machara recounted his close relationship with Mr. Ndiege.
Machara recalled one time Mr. Ndiege visited him at his apartment and took him grocery shopping after discovering he had only beer and no food in his refrigerator.
“I never forgot the fact that he cared about my existence,” Machara said.
Nelson Mwangi said he briefly knew Mr. Ndiege, and he was always humble and easygoing.
“I have never seen anybody in Sacramento showered with so much love by Kenyans from all tribes, and from all walks of life like Odi,” Mwangi said. “He never bragged about his seniority, demanding respect from younger people because of his age, and he never bragged that he was Mboya’s brother. You’d only hear it from other people.”
Mwangi added that one lesson he learned from Mr. Ndiege was about being humble.
“When you’re humble, you earn respect,” Mwangi said.
Another message acknowledged Mr. Ndiege’s good standing in the community.
“I just want to acknowledge the fact that Oddy was indeed a great man who was open-hearted and open-handed,” Fr. Moses Khisa said in a WhatsApp message. “The honorable gesture of your contributions toward his send-off here in the USA and to Kenya tells it all. God bless you all and give courage to Mamu as she Morns her Husband and friend. Oddy RIP.”
Mr. Ndiege is survived by his wife, Mariam Ndiege, fondly known as Mamu.
Funeral arrangements are ongoing.
Organizers have scheduled a memorial gathering, dubbed Odi’s Homegoing Potluck, for Saturday, April 9, from 1 p.m.
The potluck will take place at the following address:
12410 Peach Lane
Wilton, CA, 95693
Time: 1 p.m.
Note: We’ll continue to update this story with the latest statement from Mr. Ndiege’s family and friends.