Rosemary Odinga: Hallmark of rare courage and fortitude
- It’s no less than a miracle that Rosemary was able this week to somehow recover enough determination to participate in a public event.
Rosemary Odinga’s public appearance on Tuesday marked the culmination of a heroic two-year struggle, and of a profound inner strength, against seemingly impossible medical and a multitude of other odds.
She has somehow managed to overcome the horrors of her wrenching ordeal to a point where she could do something this week that was unthinkable.
I personally know of no more compelling story like Rosemary’s, and her family’s, of prolonged fortitude and courage against what seemed an overwhelmingly negative prognosis.
It is a story that should be recited to provide strength to all those who face hopeless calamities and do not believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Her recovery to even this condition that we saw is a combination of factors; her own strength and the devotion of her father Raila Odinga, Mama Ida and sister Winnie and the family in general coming so soon after they had inconsolably lost their first-born Fidel in 2015.
Plus of course, there were Rosemary’s two loving girls, who always wanted to be by her side, the younger one not totally comprehending.
I am sure most Kenyans are praying that this recovery continues to a better conclusion than what Rosemary has so far achieved.
Among the most traumatising episodes the family lived through was the fear-filled race against time on a plane carrying a very ill Rosemary to an advanced medical facility in South Africa in February last year, with no certainty that the urgently-needed brain surgery could be performed in time.
One can only imagine how Raila and Mama Ida coped with the excruciating dread of that flight. Raila had of course put off his early March engagements in the US at that time, and once Rosemary was out of the woods, he flew to New York for a few days and then returned to South Africa to be with her again.
There was also another trip to a specialised medical facility in China that Raila and Ida took to obtain further treatment for Rosemary.
Despite their unspeakable anguish over her suffering in the last two years, the family was able to muster the enormous reserves of strength and will needed to see Rosemary through to where she is now.
But, of course, it was Rosemary’s own strength and determination that was the paramount game-changer.
In the two months I spent in Nairobi for the 2017 election, I saw her a few times at their Karen residence as she kept on making the heroic effort to do what was needed to undertake what was going to be a long, slow recovery. Her will to overcome remained.
It’s no less than a miracle that Rosemary was able this week to somehow recover enough determination to participate in a public event for something very dear to her heart; the well-being of women, specially those in Kibera. She provides an astounding example and role model to Kenyans and particularly women to emulate.
What a glorious and heart-wrenching moment of pride this must have been for the family and everyone who loves Rosemary. May God continue to strengthen her.
Salim Lone, New Jersey