Sunday, August 14, 2005

Kevin, I salute you

During my stay in Florida, I had the great privilege of getting to know Lance Corporal Kevin Waruinge, a member of our small tightly-knit group of Kenyan students. Kevin had already served one tour of duty in Iraq in 2003 before enrolling in college the same semester that I enrolled in seminary. As it turned out, my final semester was his final one too; I graduated and moved back to California, while Kevin volunteered to return to Iraq on a second tour of duty. Kevin worked as a mechanic on amphibious assault vehicles. He was attached to the Marine Corps Reserve's 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion, 4th Marine Division. He was among 14 troops and a civilian interpreter killed Aug. 3 when a roadside bomb exploded near the city of Haditha. It was one of the deadliest single attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq.

Kevin was the same age as my sister (born within 2 days of each other). He grew up in Nairobi, Kenya, just like I did, and moved to the US with his family the same year that I moved. He died as an American hero, sacrificing his life for his adopted country. He had highlighted the following verses in his King James Bible:

Philippians 2:13-15 says: "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of (his) good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world."

What a testimony! Till we meet again on the other shore, well done Kevin, I salute you.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Google Moon

Some of you heard about our recent launch of Google Earth (if you haven't, stop reading this and go check it out).

However, many of you may have missed our near-simultaneous launch of Google Moon - - and no, it's not an April Fool's joke, although if you zoom in too close ...

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

In Memory of Dr. Geoffrey W. Griffin

June 28th, 2005 was a terribly sad day for me, as I received the news of the passing away of a man that I consider a hero and a father-figure to me as a Starehe Old Boy. Dr. Griffin - more affectionately referred to as "Boss" - succumbed to colon cancer after roughly one and a half years of poor health. He was 72.

As the founder and director of my high school, Starehe Boys' Centre, he is largely responsible for the man that I became under his leadership during those critical high school years in boarding school. He dedicated his entire life and gave everything he had to build a school that has produced a legion of young men that are making their mark in Kenya and around the world. Here are his last words to us:

My dear boys,
I have had a fruitful and happy life, and I have learnt one great lesson that I would like to share with you. I hope that Starehe will always teach this lesson – for as long as it does so, it will remain a great school.
This world is full of people who do their duty half-heartedly, grudgingly and poorly. Don’t be like them. Whatever is your duty, do it as fully and perfectly as your possibly can. And when you have finished your duty, go on to spare some time and talent in service for less fortunate people, not for any reward at all, but because it is the right thing to do.
Follow my advice in this and I promise you that your lives will be happy and successful.
May God bless you all.

When I consider that he was 26 when he founded Starehe, I ask myself the sobering question, "What am I starting right now that will leave the kind of enduring legacy he left behind, when all is said and done?"