Family of a man who died in the US three months ago have appealed for financial help to ship his body to Kenya for burial in their Taita Taveta home.
In a video message posted on social media, Mr Simon Mwashighadi, a Mombasa resident, said the family has been unable to raise the more than Sh1 million needed to transport his father’s body from the US to Kenya.
Mr Mwashighadi said that his father, Justin Kitogho, died on March 11 this year at the Vidant Hospital in Greenville, North Carolina.
Kenyans living in North Carolina State have already started a fundraiser on the popular crowdfunding website, www.gofundme.com, and have already raised $932(Sh93,900) of the $13,000 (Sh1,300,000) target.
However, Mr George Njue who is coordinating the diaspora fundraiser said many of the Kenyans who live in North Carolina had not heard about Mr Mwashighadi’s death and suspect he had not cultivated close ties with the community.
Mr Njue said there are more than 15,000 Kenyans who live in North Carolina.
“The late Justin Mwashigdadi doesn’t seem to have been in any contact with Kenyans in US and doesn’t seem also to have had any relatives in US according to Ms Maureen O Dell, a friend who lived with him for 12 years,” said Mr Njue.
Mr Njue said the North Carolina Kenyan diaspora knew about Mr Mwashighadi’s death through a WhatsApp group video message lamenting over the lack of unity among Kenyans in the US.
“Since then we have contacted the funeral home and the family at home and confirmed the facts. Simon told me he had contacted the Kenyan embassy in Washington DC as soon as the father died. The embassy, however, referred him to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who told him they could not help to bring the body home but could help with travel clearance,” Said Mr Njue.
Mr. Njue said North Carolina diaspora leaders have formed a committee to coordinate the funds drive and funeral plans in Raleigh, North Carolina.
“So we plan to send his body for burial in Taita Taveta in accordance with his family wishes. We need more than $13,000 (Sh1.3m) to do this and also enable his fiancée of 12 years travel to Kenya to give the family an account of his life.”