15th January 2019 was one of the hardest days of our lives. We were going about our usual activities of trying to make Africa a better place. At around 3 pm, terrorists decided to disrupt this mission by attacking 14 Riverside Drive which housed our offices in Nairobi.
Everything was happening so fast, we were scared, anxious and afraid that we might not make it out. At this time everyone had taken it as their responsibility to ensure everyone around them got out of the building safely because we are a family. Some of us took this responsibility more seriously than anyone else not caring about their own safety; Ashford Kuria, Jeremiah Mbaria, Dennis Mwaniki, John Muturi, Kelvin Gitonga, and Wilfred Kareithi. Unfortunately, they lost their lives on this day.
Going Through it Together
The next couple of days were even tougher for those of us who managed to get out. We had so many questions, we were in pain, angry, sad and very sensitive to our surrounding since a simple trigger would make us spiral through what we had been through. Most of us went through depression, sleepless nights and even weight loss. This, however, did not stop us from taking care of each other and the families of those we had lost. We simply dropped everything we considered important and concentrated on ensuring we all got through this together. We divided ourselves and ensured all the burials were attended and that the families did not lack anything.
The African Spirit
All my life I had never seen anything like this. What’s more surprising is that our brothers and sisters from our branches in other countries across Africa decided to take care of business so as to give us time to heal. The African spirit was simply in full swing and this what I believe helped most of us get through this dark time.
Even as we get back to our normal activities, most of us ask if we will completely get over this, if it will ever get back to normal. Through the many sessions we have had to talk to each other, we have come to understand that it will never go back to being as it was. Ashford will not be around to answer questions about everything, John will not be there to make us laugh, Wilfred will not be there to solve all our problems.
However, we owe it to each other and to our brave six to keep doing what they had sacrificed a lot to create. We also owe it to Africa to make it a better place and to increase the opportunities available so that we stop killing each other. This is how we can ever recover from this heinous act.
Read more on our journey of healing and recovery here and join our conversations via #CellulantNow
Elizabeth Kiilu is a Core Product Software Engineer at Cellulant