Safari Njema Baby Lexie

By now most of you have probably heard or read baby Lexie’s story, and if you haven’t just take a minute to read the letter Robi, her 7 year old brother wrote to her when she passed away last Tuesday, July 17th, 2012.  It has been incredible how many messages of support we have received for Angela, mama Lexie & her brother Robi. Many have also gone the extra mile to send financial contributions to help off-set the 4 million Ksh (approx. $50,000) hospital debt that Angela is now faced with, but we still have a VERY long way to go.  So far we’ve raised about 1.5 million Ksh (approx. $18,750), which is a MASSIVE accomplishment in just 3 days since we shared Robi’s letter.  If you have already made a contribution, I just want to take this opportunity to appreciate you, and if you haven’t, maybe this little story might inspire you to.

So I woke up at about 3:15 am this morning with mama Baby Lexie on my mind, and I just couldn’t go back to sleep.  I was racking my brain about ways to raise more awareness about Angela’s situation so that we could help her just grieve the loss of her precious angel, who has really touched the lives of thousands of Kenyans, and indeed people in other parts of the world.  Then I thought to myself, “Why don’t we try and record the beautiful song that Josea composed & shared with us at the fundraising event we held for Baby Lexie last Friday?” Eureka, I thought!  See, I actually met Josea, a budding young musician, last Wednesday at the Open Qorner, a monthly event by my adopted mother Tazim Elkington.  Tazim and Josea had met in March this year at “100 Girls in 100 Days” another fundraising event hosted by my soul sister Sitawa Wafula. The reason I share all this is because I truly believe that the right people, meet in the right spaces and at the right time.  And when we are open to receiving the gifts that the universe has to offer us, magic happens.  This is what I think is happening with this journey & I hope you will share it with us.

Back to my story. Tazim and Josea connected and I now understand exactly why – he is such a humble, gifted, passionate, wise, and incredibly generous young man.  And while he is a struggling musician, that comes from a very humble background, lives in Huruma estate, works by day as a screen printer to support his younger siblings, and send money to his mother in Gem village (which is close to where Mama Sarah Obama lives :-)) whenever he can, he was still able to make the time to come and join us on Friday evening to share his music as a contribution to the fundraising process.  Had I not been at Tazim’s Open Qorner, I would never have heard Josea sing the farewell song she had asked him to compose for outgoing Tribe Hotel manager Mark Somen and his wife.  And as soon as he started to sing, I pulled out my camera & recorded what I thought was a song that needed to be shared with the world – “Safari Njema” which means Safe Journey.  Even though I had promised myself to take the time that evening to just be present to the discussion, which incidentally was based on the question: “How much of life is planned & how much is chance?”, I couldn’t help but think of Baby Lexie as he sang farewell.  So at the end of it, I just introduced myself to him, shared Lexie’s story, and asked him if he would join us on Friday evening.  To my surprise, he said yes. Later that night, I sent him the link to Robi’s letter, and within 24 hours Josea had not only confirmed that he would be there, but he was also so moved by the letter that he decided to incorporate it into the lyrics of his song.

Let’s just say that by the time Josea was done singing “Safari Njema” at the fundraiser, several people were in tears.  What was already a really beautiful farewell song to me, became a song that I felt was now a part of our angel Lexie’s legacy, and I believe it was because all these beautiful souls were connecting in really powerful ways.

By 5am this morning, I knew it just had to be done – we had to record the song and share it. So I sent Josea a message and asked him if he was willing to do a collaboration with other Kenyan artists and use the song to raise awareness and hopefully financial support. Once again, this 20 year old struggling musician, that I just met 4 days ago, agreed to come meet me at Mavuno Church with his guitar, so we could run the idea by my sister warrior Angie and anyone else willing to listen.  Angie suggested I speak to Kanjii Mbugua, who was immediately willing to work with us on recording the song.  As fate would have it, Eko Dydda, Kenya’s Male Performer of the Year, was the guest artist that performed at Mavuno this morning. So after the service, Angie and I asked both him and A-Star, another leading gospel musician, if they’d listen to Josea play “Safari Njema,” and if they’d be willing to do a collabo with him and Kanjii.  So there we were, sitting in a circle in a tent, with Josea playing his guitar.  By the time he was done, they were sold! But to my surprise, they suggested we just record the raw version of Josea playing his song, and share it with the world, just as it is.

So here we are. Thanks to my cousin Kwame, we were able to use his home camcorder, do a quick edit, and even include a short interview with Josea Sanaa, so you can get a sense of the gem that this young man is.  There’s so much more that I could say about him, since I’ve had the pleasure of spending almost the whole day with him, but I’ll just leave you with the last thing he said, when I asked him what message he had for the world:

“Follow your dream. Believe in yourself. Whatever you do patiently, comes back to pay.”

We hope you enjoy Josea’s gift “Safari Njema” (the VERY rough ‘jua kali’ cut), and we hope you are moved to pay it forward and help us raise the remaining funds needed to cover Baby Lexie’s hospital bills so that she can be laid to rest this week.

If you would like to make a donation, please send it to:

Alexis Ajowi Medical Fund
Barclays Bank Hurlingham,
Account No.: 2022720522

Mpesa:

Angela Awino McLigeyo (Lexy’s Mother) +254 725 134 767/ 720 708 840
Margaret Oluka (Lexy’s Grandmother)- +254 722 604 216

For further info:

Follow @SaveBabyLexie or #BabyLexie on twitter, or like “Save Baby Lexie” on facebook

Or contact info@africacancerfoundation.org

Mbona Juma Tatu Milestone?

Mbona #JumaTatuMilestone?

I have been meaning to start writing again, but I just wasn’t sure how, why, what or when I would write.  God knows the past few months have been quite a challenge for me, and those who are nearest and dearest to me, know exactly why.  I actually thought my first blog, after this period, if I was ever to blog again, would be a sort of “Coming out” story, but that’s a story for another day.  The inspiration behind this post today is a conversation I started on twitter last Monday, called #JumaTatuMilestone.  (For non-Kiswahili-speaking folks, Mbona means “Why?” and Juma Tatu means “Monday”.)

So why #JumaTatuMilestone?

Isn’t it obvious – most of us have suffered from the Monday-blues many a time in our lives.  So I figured if we could just take a minute every Monday to share a milestone in our lives, however small or big, it would make a significant difference, not just to us, but to others who might be inspired by our sharing.  When I say however BIG or SMALL, I really do mean it.  There have been days in the past few months when even just getting out of bed was a BIG MILESTONE for me, and on days when I was able to accomplish more than that, I still wasn’t able to appreciate all the blessings in my life.  Somewhere along the way, I started writing a gratitude list. So each day, no matter what, before I go to sleep, I write a list of everything that I am thankful and grateful for.  This is just one of the things that has helped me shift my thinking, embrace life, and start sharing my light again.

So when you ask, “Mbona #JumaTatuMilestone?” my answer is this:

 I hope that each Monday, wherever you are, no matter what is going on, that you have at least ONE THING to celebrate, and that as a community we can celebrate it with you.

You never know, it might just be the one thing that gets you or another person through the week.

And wouldn’t it be great if we could get #JumaTatuMilestone trending every Monday, so that we all have thousands of reasons to smile each week? Goddess knows there’s enough crap on the internet and nothing but bad news in our daily newspapers.

With that, I leave you with Daddy Owen’s song “Mbona”, which is a true inspiration! I first heard it when he and Denno performed it live at Mavuno Church, here in Nairobi, Kenya, but it wasn’t until today that I watched the video.

Love and Light!