In Summary
  • "I was too 'busy' to come home and take care of my ailing mother yet she and I knew very well that the cancer had metastasised and she did not have long to live," she says.
  • Wanjiku eventually came back home on May 28, 2010, six days before her mother died in her presence in hospital.
  • After burying her mother, Wanjiku returned to South Africa amid an overwhelming soccer fever during the 2010 World Cup.

She had it all in life. Or so she thought. At the peak off her career, Joyce Wanjiku Kairu could afford all the pleasures that money could buy, including gallivanting around the world to shop and vacation at will.

Not even when her mother was diagnosed with cancer of the colon in its final stages in 2009 did she see the need to take a break and come back to Kenya.

Wanjiku worked as a project manager for a multinational blue chip company in South Africa.

TOO BUSY TO COME HOME

"I was too 'busy' to come home and take care of my ailing mother yet she and I knew very well that the cancer had metastasised and she did not have long to live," she says.

Wanjiku eventually came back home on May 28, 2010, six days before her mother died in her presence in hospital.

After burying her mother, Wanjiku returned to South Africa amid an overwhelming soccer fever during the 2010 World Cup.

Little did she know then that it would be the World Cup that would lead her to her epiphany.

EPIPHANY IN THE MIDDLE OF SOCCER MATCH

“In the middle of watching a soccer match at the stadium it dawned on me that if I had time to spend on soccer, I should also have had time to nurse my ailing mother and more importantly, support her with personal care like giving her a bath, change diapers, escort her to hospital and help with taking medicine, plait her hair and sing with her, among others for the period she had left," she says, her eyes glistening with unshed tears.  

That was what she needed to make her dedicate her whole life to serving the elderly.

PHILANTRHOPY BEGINS

Not only did she participate in philanthropic activities with Rivers Foundation (under Rivers Church) in Johannesburg, SA, she also began visiting and helping the elderly in Soweto and Alexander, Johannesburg. She says she mainly visited to give them compassion, escort the sick to hospital and clean homes, visit museums, listen to the rich SA history and so on. She involved the Rivers Foundation in her activities, but due to the diversity in the RF activities, Wanjiku decided to dedicate and focus her charity activities to her calling of taking care of the vulnerable older people.

“When I started helping out the elderly in SA, before moving back to Kenya, it was more out of guilt but that guilt later transformed into a calling,” she says.

QUIT HER JOB

"I felt my calling was back home, where there is more need and where the social fabric has altered family values, with most of us travelling around the globe".

She took the decision to quit her well-paying job and informed her employer.

 “This did not go down very well with my employer, friends and the church as they did not understand me or this calling I kept talking about. They all suggested that I go for counseling and for a mental checkup, “she says.

IMMUTABLE, UNSTOPPABLE DECISION

“To their surprise, I attended a few sessions, which reported that I was normal and that it was a decision that was immutable and unstoppable. I wrote a concept paper which I believed I would work with and in August 2011, I packed my bags, left my high lifestyle of living in a posh house, luxury cars and globe-roving and  came home to Kenya to serve humanity, which I have been doing with compassion, humility and commitment," she explains.

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