8 May 2020

Dearest Jo, you never said goodbye

Life has not been fair recently. I have had some heartbreaks. The challenges of Covid19, the lockdown and its impact on life, the tragic death of a very good friend and former colleague called Mona Mahmoud and uncertainty about projects and future. To make it even worse I lost Josephine Mukanjira, one of my best friends and colleagues. Jo was someone who was there before I joined Citizens UK, where I have worked for over 9 years. She was someone who was always willing to help me. Someone extra generous to step in when there were challenges. Someone who would do everything on earth to make others happy.

Jo at Greater London Authority – 20th February 2020
When I last spoke to Jo on Wednesday 15th April to tell her about our colleague Mona’s death, she said she had already heard about it and that she was so sad. As we discussed about life, she sounded full of life and lots to live for. She told me that she was happy with her new job. That she was ready for the challenge the new opportunity would bring. I believed all what Jo said. As I had also met with her in person on February 20th when she attended a Community Sponsorship event I organised at the office of the Mayor of London, it all sounded good for me and that I was happy for her. But life was not fair for Jo. Despite the hopes and aspirations she exhibited in the conversation I had with her, she was taken away by the monster virus called Covid19. When I heard Jo’s departure within days of talking to her, I could not believe it.  I was in denial for some time. How could that happen? Somebody who sounded so healthy and fit going untimely is heart-breaking. But life is unpredictable. We only have today for granted.

I have lots of memories with Jo. I and Jo often had our lunches together. Lunch breaks were opportunities to catch up. But when we finished our lunches, Jo would say “I am sure you would at least wash your food container before taking it back home as I know you never cook.” Jo knew I do not cook often and that in fact I hated cooking and get nervous whenever I cook. Whenever I left the office at the end of the working day, I would say goodbye to Jo and colleagues and say look after the money. Jo would say, “Keep bringing the money and we would look after it”. We both laugh and hope to meet again. 

Jo was not only a colleague, but also family friend. She had been to my house on a couple of occasions. My family knew her very well. She was a delight to have around. Her life is now in the hands of Almighty God, whom she served wholeheartedly. She should be at peace in the company of angels. I pray that she is at peace.

Thank you, Jo, for everything you did for me. Thank you for your friendship, colleagueship and leadership.

Goodbye to you, Jo. Sleep tight my good old friend. Your memories will live with us as long as we are in this world. Rest in peace Jo.

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