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Heroes, heroines deserve recognition in life as well

By | March 7th 2012

The statement was innocuous and received as light-heartedly as the manner in which the President made it at the funeral of the late Environment minister John Njoroge Michuki.

The Head of State chided dishonest people who would rather mutter behind your back than straight to your face: "Although the people will never tell you, they will talk about it in your absence since they cannot say anything in your presence."

The President was, perhaps, referring to the outpouring of accolades and personal testimonies by many whose lives had crossed paths with Michuki’s and found themselves happier for it.

How true President Kibaki’s words rang. Humanity is cursed with the knack for being purblind as everyday heroes and heroines perform extraordinary things, make statements to remember, perform acts of kindness even under very difficult circumstances and others make innovations that literally change the way we lead our lives.

But like the proverbial prophet who was never recognised in his hometown, we only remember to eulogise our role models in death.

When was the last time you recognised the small miracles mothers perform daily to bring up children, put food on the table and still tuck us into bed? Ever wondered how many arms they have and how much energy and love they put into bringing up happy and contented families? Did we have to wait until Prof Wangari Maathai passed on before recognising her bravery and foresight in literally saving the planet’s forest of lungs?

Maurice Cardinal Otunga

Who sincerely walked up to Michuki and told him of the excellent job he had accomplished in the face of unruly matatu crews, bloodthirsty extortionist Mungiki and a choking, diseased Nairobi River? Did anyone remember to extol Njenga Karume’s efforts to broker inter-ethnic harmony? Why did nobody tell Maurice Cardinal Otunga what a saint he was?

How can we start recognising the deeds that stand out today and thank the giver the way we do a surgeon who has just saved the life of a loved one?

It is possible, you know.

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