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  • June

When you're gone ...

My mum and M's mum worked together at the same institution and spent an enormous amount of time together. My mum's friends have been and probably always will be an extension of my mum - in that they exercise love, authority and oversight over all our (the children) lives. I'm pretty certain that some of the life decisions made in my life were influenced in part from the conversations my mum had with her friends.

So I had heard of Wakili Evans Monari. I knew he was great at what he did and his practice of law, for as long as I can remember he had always been a partner at a tier 1 law firm. Fast forward to 2018 when I met him twice; first at a regional event that my then employer and the law firm we used to work with co - hosted and secondly, at a regional lawyers meeting. At each encounter, Evans was friendly, polite and chirpy.

I spent an immense part of my Sunday last week indoors, catching up with the funeral plans and proceedings for the great and legendary Evans Monari. I ended up watching the full memorial service in Nairobi, the fundraiser prior and the funeral service in Kisii and a number of things stood out for me.

Eulogy Values

Eric Barker in his book, 'Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong' speaks of resume values and eulogy values.

“Thinking about death reminds us of what is truly important in life. Résumé values are the things that bring external success, like money and promotions. Eulogy values are about character: Am I kind, trustworthy, or courageous?”

These are what 99.9% of speakers spoke to for Evans, including his colleagues who 'should' have been more focused on his resume values. Each day, keep your eulogy values dear and close.


Like I said, my mum's tribe of friends are also my mums and dads by proxy. Growing up, anyone (as long as they were older) could reprimand us as children for bad behaviour. If anything, growing up in block C2, Nyayo Highrise and attending St. George’s Primary School, we were more worried about a 3rd party calling us out and then going to tell my mum! Wueh!

Each time Evans' mum spoke, all she asked for, was for his friends to guide his children, if they go astray to be brought back to the right path. Nothing else. That was her one and only ask. Profound.

Connections and Ties

Identifying your people

Former Attorney General Prof. Githu Muigai spoke twice. He spoke of how he, Mohammed Nyaoga and other classmates met Evans in uni and though younger than them, Evans said that they, were the people he, wanted to be with.

Friendship and allyship

At the fundraiser, we learnt that the Community Evans came from, had a ka'group', high level civil servants who supported each other and rooted for one another.

Another key takeaway for me was the banter and clear friendship between two of our very serious high ranking cabinet members as part of the fundraiser. People are just people really, aside from the facade and few ‘serious and strict’ highlights we see on the news.

Show up

The last highlight on connections and friendship was showing up. Evans’ strong and weak ties alike showed up. His friends really stepped up. They came through and its telling of the person he was. We all have a right and a corresponding responsibility to those we are entrusted with. To take care of them, be available, be trustworthy, fiercely root for them, laugh together, cry together and when life does that balancing act thing, show up.

When it’s all said and done, for me life is like a mathree, at different stops people get in and drop off, sometimes, new ones come in and replace them. Sometimes you have a tight connection, sometimes you develop a weak link, but you have a connection. May you be remembered for impact.

Be present, live life and take pictures.

Lala Salama wakili.


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