Sunrise: August 19th 1976
Sunset: October 4th 2012
Njeri Kui Mugo, a dual citizen of Kenya and the United States of America, passed on October 4th, 2012, around 11.00 a.m., at the age of 36 after a short, but intense and "sheroic" battle with Ovarian Cancer. Njeri Kui was born in Nairobi Hospital, Kenya, to Micere Githae Mugo of Syracuse/citizen of Kenya and John Njuguna Mugo of Kenya on August 19th, 1976.
Njeri Kui's educational accomplishments were plentiful, consisting of:
• Riara School (Pre-Primary) – Nairobi, Kenya
• Canton Elementary School – Upstate New York
• Avondale Primary; Bishopslea Junior and Chisipite High Schools - Harare, Zimbabwe
• High School diploma from Ithaca High School – Ithaca, New York
• Bachelor of Arts from Smith College – Northampton, Massachusetts
• Five College Area Associates African Studies Certificate – Northampton, MA
• Master of Professional Studies from ASRC, Cornell University – Ithaca, New York
• Master of Science from Edinburgh University – Scotland, United Kingdom
• TESOL Certification from American TESOL Institute – United States of America
Her professional experience spanned many areas, beginning with non-governmental work in case management, specifically working as an HIV/AIDS prevention Case Manager; Labor organizing with several Labor Unions as an Organizer and Educator in Labor Law and Workplace Rights; Education - teaching English as a second language to Chinese youth, as well as Administration. Her professional commitment was impressive. Njeri Kui was a dynamic activist, going back to her youth. At her sunset she held membership in several community organizations: the Pan African Community of Central New York; the United Women of Africa Organization, in which she was Assistant Secretary; the Ghana Society of Central New York; Nishike Mkono self-help group (Kenya) and was a board member of the Institute for Research on African Women, Children and Culture, Nigeria - founded by Professor Leslye Obiora.
Njeri Kui was a teacher of English in China at the time of her untimely death, in preparation for Doctoral studies in Education. She had many interests, but those most dear to her were Youth/Child Education, Rights and Participation; Social Justice/Equality and Human Rights. Her greatest aspiration was to set up a Non-Governmental organization catering to all global poor and disadvantaged/underserved children. She passionately believed in the philosophy that in every child there is what she termed "some kernel or stroke of genius" and was dedicated to ensuring that every child was given a fair and equal chance to realize the full potential of this genius. She also believed in the notion of "Children Without Borders" and wanted to bring together disadvantaged/underserved global children to demonstrate the imperative of a "Shared Humanity" that transcended parochialism and classism. The motto at the bottom of her e-mail page was a long quotation from Archbishop Tutu's definition of Ubuntu (Utu), which she 'talked and walked' with incredible consistency. To honor her memory, the family plans to establish a not for profit organization which Njeri had envisioned throughout her adult life, but with special passion and clarity during the last several years preceding her departure. Details on the project will be provided once the NGO is set up. In the meantime, checks for seed funding may be sent to an existing operative joint account with her sister and addressed to Mumbi Mugo, with a memo reading: For Njeri's Global Children.
Njeri Kui respected all religions and was comfortable with any place of worship, but for a while she regularly attended the Unitarian Church on Nottingham Road in Syracuse. Njeri felt that the Unitarian Church most encompassed her spiritual beliefs, as well as her interdenominational understanding of Religion. It was clear to all who knew Njeri Kui, that she was an old soul. Her character and soul were advanced well beyond her years and she had a deep innate understanding of this world and the fact that in this life we are all just passing through. Indeed, Njeri was so deeply spiritual that many of her family members and friends teased her about being "too deep" to unravel. She could accurately be described as a philosopher who never professionally took up her natural calling. Her sharp and keen intuition, added to her unique imagination, took her to spiritual realms that were beyond the reach of most ordinary people. She had no time whatsoever for material wealth - not that she had much to boast of - and led a simple life, believing that her body was "just a shell' but that the spirit was eternal and "nothing could touch it." She was brutally honest and never had any hidden agenda. Her forthrightness could be quite provocative, leading to heated and vibrant debates, which she cherished. She always thought "outside the box" and was fiercely independent minded, rebelling against any containment since childhood. Equally, her compassion was limitless and in the last few months of her battle with cancer it seemed to have so spiritually deepened, matured and bloomed that she touched everyone she came into contact with. Many patients, nurses and doctors that she dealt with commented on this extraordinary gift and many family members have been first hand witnesses of the same.
Njeri Kui Mugo is survived by her immediate family: Micere Githae Mugo (mother) and Mumbi wa Mugo (sister), as well as a large extended family, mostly in Kenya, East Africa. There will be a public body viewing and wake on Thursday, October 11th 2012 from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. at Burns Garfield Funeral Home, Inc., 3175 East Genesee Street, Syracuse N.Y. 13224. A memorial service will be held on Friday, October 12th 2012, 12:00 p.m., at Burns Garfield Funeral Home, Inc, 3175 East Genesee Street, Syracuse N.Y. 13224; followed by a repast at 3:00 p.m., in the Rockefeller United Methodist Church hall, 350 Nottingham Road, Syracuse, NY 13224. Njeri Kui's ashes will be laid to rest on Saturday, October 13th 2012, 11:00 a.m., at the Oakwood Cemetery, 940 Comstock Avenue, Syracuse, N.Y. 13210, where a short funeral service will take place. Burns Garfield Funeral Home will receive flowers on Njeri's behalf on Thursday between 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Their website also has a "book" for farewell messages to Njeri.
The Githae Mugo-Family would like to express their gratitude to all the doctors who looked after Njeri, especially Dr. Bonnie Koreff-Wolf, their family doctor; the wonderful team of nurses, doctors and staff in Ward 10 East, Upstate University Hospital. Appreciation goes to CCH Homecare and special thanks to the Hospice of Central New York team for their amazing professional competence and humaneness. Equally, the family applauds the following communities for their love and support: Ghana Society of Central New York; Pan African Community of Central New York and the United Women of Africa Organization, while also embracing many dear friends in Syracuse, the US and abroad – a marvellous transnational network of wonderful people. Above all, we wish to single out our immediate and extended families for their amazing generosity financially, materially and spiritually. My younger Sister, Mrs Winnie Wambui Marekia, who travelled all the way from Kenya leaving behind her work and family to come and support us, has elevated the concept of unconditional family love to a new level!
May our beloved Njeri Kui travel on in dignity and peace to join her Ancestors, the Spirit World and her Maker. Ashe! (Life Force); Afya! (Health and Healing); Moyo! (Life); Amen! (So let it be).
Please visit the families tribute blog @ http://mmugo98.org/ to recieve updates and share thoughts and stories.
Read Njeri Mugo's Obituary and Guestbook on burnsgarfield.com.