I am taking time off to go to Eldi to see my dad who has been ailing with a lumbar problem.
The man was a medic, pharmacist to be precise. You must know how difficult it is to convince such to seek medical attention. I called him this morning and found him in a cheerful mood. Something is definitely working. Maybe it is because of the quality time I anticipate to spend with him. But that is not the story I want to network with you about. It is the fond memories of how he has cared for me thus far.
My early recollections go back to Independence Day on 12th December 1963. That midnight Dad took me with him to the Ihūra Stadium in Fort Hall (now Murang’a, within Murang’a County) to see dreadlocked Mau Mau freedom fighters emerge from the forests from where they wedged war for freedom. That’s where I started my schooling, attending Standard 1, and learning in Kikuyu (I was most pleased to have an occasion to visit the Murang’a University of Technology in my capacity as a Trustee of the National Research Fund (NRF). I vividly recall ushering the event at the town’s stadium on the eve of 12th December 1963 perched on my Dad’s shoulders.
Mum and dad came to Fort Hall from Narok. It is here that they got married. The officiating pastor was the late Bishop Obadiah Kariuki, the father of AG Justice Paul Kariuki. Their marriage photo has a graceful lady good friend to mum by the name of Margaret Wangeci mother of Gerald (both deceased).
In 1964 Dad leaves Fort Hall hospital to go for a better job in Eldoret. It is here that Dad bought me a bicycle and I became the envy of my Kihuga Square mates. I loved the hero Lance Spearman as chronicled in `African Film’ magazine. Spearman had a wife called Tandi and would exclaim `..take that you, bastard..’ whenever he fought Rabon Zollo, Public Enemy No. 1.
But I digress. Dad bought me the magazines every Monday and I was the star of the neighborhood. Fast forward to 1976, and I flunk my A levels and poof goes my dream (and his) of becoming a medical doctor. Dad works his ways to get me into MTC (Medical Training Centre) where I meet one Elisha Omukhayo Wandera and his later to be wife, Sarah. Dad notices that I steadily becoming a drunkard and a prolific miraa browser, so what does he do? He sends me to India to do my BSc (Hons.) specializing in Zoology at Poona University.
I can go on and on. Suffice. That’s my hero. That’s my Dad. Dewo Philip Odero. A man far beyond his time, deciding to marry outside his ethnic roots, to a mukamba beauty from Ithokwe, Kitui County by the name of Esther Patricia Mukeli, a descendant of the great Chief Kivoi. I carry genes of greatness, my people. For that, I am endeared to my Dad and late Mum.
Loving Father, grant Mzee Philip Odero a long and joy-filled life.
As Rameses says in the 1956 epic movie by Cecil B. DeMille `The Ten Commandments’: ..`So it shall be written. So it shall be done…!’