A HERO I MET IN DEATH
Today a hero is being interred, a hero that I met only in death, a hero that I never knew existed, and yet he lived, walked and worked among us, a hero who could very well be you or me. How do I write about a hero who was brought to my attention by his abrupt death? This is the question that has lingered in my mind ever since I decided to write about this story.
Just last week in our “Warrior” blog post that goes up every Wednesday, we talked about a popular hash tag #HeForShe. I invited men to be part of the solution to fight the faceless monster called rape since societal problems cannot be solved by half the society. I urged men to participate on different tables and in different capacities. At home as fathers, brothers, uncles and even grandfathers. In schools as male teachers with sisters, mothers, nieces, aunts. In churches as pastors and priests born of a woman. When these tables are filled with men who have not thrown their conscience to the dogs, then we can be assured of sound policies since these men would be involved in some of those offices.
Mr. Ndichu Wainaina of The Star, a local newspaper, carried this story with the title “Man killed trying to rescue minor from defilers”. The late John Wanyase Kiarie, is the man they were referring to. It all happened on Tuesday night, September 24th, 2019 at Kasuku in Ol Joro Orok, he was only 28.
John was walking home around 8 pm after a busy day of fending for his young family the best way he knew how. A distress call from the near by bush would not allow him to keep going.
John is your typical Kenyan who is walking home on a normal evening after a day of hard work. Unlike many of us in today's world, he did not rush for his smart phone to get real time update for social media, but instead, his fatherly instincts jolted him out of the lull of his evening walk and he decided to act. You and I can only guess what went through his mind. Maybe he thought about his little boy at home, maybe he thought to himself that this could have been his wife or his sister, maybe he had read our passionate plea and decided to join the table only this time it was action time. He sprung in action just like any concerned parent, ready to stand in harm's way to protect his little one. The distress call was from a 13-year-old girl, in 7th grade, who was being gang raped by two men. John pounced on the assailants in an attempt to stop the heinous act. He was hit with a metal on the head.
The girl's mother said that her daughter was returning from visiting her grandmother. The cyclists who had been tasked to take her home as instructed, deviated from the usual route and instead took her to a bush near kasuku playground, where they assaulted her innocence. The mother was called by residents only to find her bleeding profusely. Both John and the girl were rushed to hospital and unfortunately John died on his way to the hospital. The girl regained consciousness in hospital at Ol Kalou, and she was able to name the culprits who committed this barbaric act; James Kariuki Wangari 23 and Ken Mungai Mirugi 20. They are both boda boda (bicycle) operators well known to her. Police moved swiftly before they could escape and arrested them as prime suspects as further investigations are ongoing. Thankfully, the girl is stable, and she is undergoing therapy.
John’s death was met with different reactions. Many applauded him as a hero while I must note "a few men”, have expressed their anger with him for breaking the “bro code” which basically is to look away when another man is doing something to a woman, while others commented saying, his heroic days have come to an end.
We at Kara and many others join hands to posthumously celebrate this hero who will be laid to rest today. Today, John will be buried 6 feet under not as the ordinary John that many people knew, but as John the Hero who exemplified the true gesture of Jesus Christ who gave his life to purchase us from the clutches of sin by offering salvation as a free gift. I believe that John did not intervene with the intention of being remunerated, he did it because it was the right thing to do.
Given that the perpetrators were known to the girl, most probably they would have finished off the job by killing her because she was the sole witness to their crime. Because this was John's neighborhood, there is a high possibility that these young men knew him and this could have made them become irate with anger at a fellow brother who was trying to stop them from their evil intentions. They needed to take him out or maybe they were sending a cautionary warning to the community that when you see any bad thing happening then you either need to look the other way or else the same fate of John awaits you at the end of your benevolence. There are several speculations flying around, but one thing is for sure, these brutal men hit him hard with the metal to ensure he pays for ingratiating in their business.
Residents of the area cleared the bush where the incident took place on Thursday last week and said the bush is notorious with criminals raping women and sodomizing men.
We hope that the law will take it’s course upon these two, and that justice will be served.
As we wait, I want to challenge us to support John's wife who is too distraught that we haven’t yet been able to talk to her. John left in the morning a husband and dad to fend for his young family and he never made it back. His 6 months old son is too young to comprehend what is happening and his young wife is overwhelmed with tragic loss of her husband.
Let us all join hands to support John's family, he has left behind a 6 month old son. A son who will be proud that the father died saving another, yes he will miss the dad. A funds drive to help the family and child as well would be much appreciated. We have been talking to Mr. Mwangi Kanyua, the family representative who informed us of the burial today Kasuku Village, Weru Ward in Nyandarua.
You can send your support to the Late John's family through our organizations Paybill number.
A/c no: 0482359029002 then kindly send us a message on 0742 102094 for accountability purposes: stating, JOHN followed with the amount of money sent
or via paypal firstname.lastname@example.org
We will be visiting the widow to give our contributions 12th October, 2019. Those who would want to join us on the visit can text us on 0724 102094 and we have a WhatsApp group for logistical purposes possibly to even set up an education fund for the little boy as we celebrate the life of the father.
Share widely and together let's make John's family burden a little lighter.
See you next week for another Warrior Wednesday