Tuesday, May 13, 2014

In Memory of Tata Chairman Philip Mohochi

I had heard much about Philip long before I ever had the opportunity to meet him. He had retired from a career working in a bank to return to his home community in Kuria West, Kenya in an effort to help address the systemic poverty he had witnessed there all of his life. He was a man deeply committed to his faith, his family, and to the service of others. And he was a linchpin in the world of Nuru.

In 2011, I was able to travel with a couple other Nuru team members, Kim Do, and Karina Sobieski to visit Kuria West, and see first-hand the impact of Nuru's work on the ground. During that time one of my greatest memories was a morning spent in Chairman Mohochi's home sharing stories and dreaming of what the future held for Kuria West, for Kenya, and for Nuru International's work around the globe.

Philip was an inspiring individual to be around. He loved others well, and provided strategic direction and cohesion for Nuru's work in Kenya over these last five years. He was the keeper of the vision for Nuru Kenya.

Today, I received word that Philip and his brother Robi were killed in a car accident on their way home from Migori, Kenya. As I have had time to reflect, my sadness has grown but so has my hopefulness. I'm sad for the loss of this inspiring and visionary leader for Nuru Kenya and Nuru International. When someone leaves this world, there is always sadness, but today my sadness is mixed with shock and anger because I feel like this was an occasion where someone was ripped out of this world into the next.

At the same time I'm hopeful. I'm hopeful because this world's loss is heaven's gain. Philip's faith was an inspiration to me during the handful of times we were able to talk about our shared hope and our mutual inspiration for service. And I know that this was true about Philip for many others as well. I'm hopeful because of the vision that Philip had for Kuria, for Kenya, and for the world is becoming a reality.

Philip's Question from Nuru International on Vimeo.

During the last time I talked to him in his home, I saw a photo of Jake, Janine, Nicole, Doug, and himself on his wall from the first weeks they were in Kuria West starting Nuru together. I asked him, "What is it like for you when you look at that photo and think about what has been accomplished in these last four years?"

Philip's eyes brightened, he smiled, and he looked me in the eyes and said, "It's like I'm living in a dream!" He went on to talk about how much had been accomplished and his vision for taking Nuru to even more communities across his country.

And now as I write this, I think about all of those who Philip touched through his life. I think about his friends, his family, and his community in Kuria West as they mourn the loss of their beloved friend, their father, their Chairman. I think about all of the people who have been supporting Nuru's efforts in Kenya and Ethiopia and how they were inspired by his story of servant leadership. I think about the way occasions like this leave us all without words and filled with unanswerable questions.

And then I think about the strong foundation he laid and his legacy. I think about the fact that because of Philip and his vision for his community, there are over 30,000 people in Kuria West who are lifting themselves out of extreme poverty. Because of Philip and his vision, that number will be steadily increasing in the years ahead in Kenya and in other countries. Because of Philip, a whole generation of leaders around the globe will continue to "be Nuru" and bring lasting change to our neighbors who are needlessly suffering.

May those who knew him continue fiercely moving forward in the work he bravely began, and may those who did not have the privilege of knowing him be inspired by his life and vision to join us in this fight!


Anonymous said...

Thank you Billy for this piece. I just cant believe Philip is no more. It pains my heart. Deepest condolences to family and friends!

Anonymous said...

Heard this news!!I was shocked, my prayers go out to the family