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?"