A paragraph from Chapter 22
It was an article in the Guardian that started me thinking about the idea of legacy. The article, ‘Top Five Regrets of the Dying’, was based on a book written by a palliative nurse, Bronnie Ware. She had spent years caring for people in their final hours and they had shared their thoughts with her as they realised the end was close. Many felt they had worked too hard, not spent enough time with their loved ones or hadn’t lived a life true to themselves. I thought about the regrets I would have on my deathbed. And I thought about what I would leave behind in this world. Jeremy’s legacy was his children and the memories he had created by touching so many people’s lives. But, as we had never had children, I wondered what would represent the two of us. What will live on, after my death? We are on earth for such a short time and I believe that how we are remembered is so important. Did we love well? Did we live well? Did we matter?
It was then that I recalled a time Jeremy and I had visited a secondary school in Samburu with my sister. She had shown us the ‘computer lab’ – a tiny hut containing one huge, old-fashioned computer that looked like a relic from the 1980s. It seemed ancient to our eyes but, to the schoolchildren, it was a wonder of modernity.
‘We must find a way to support this school,’ Jeremy said to me at the time.
And yet neither of us had done anything about it. Until now.
‘Shivani, I want to set up a charity in Jeremy’s name, to send children to secondary school in Samburu,’ I told my sister when we next spoke. ‘I’d like to release some money from Jeremy’s estate to start the fund and then I will raise money to keep it going.’
‘Wow, Didi, that’s amazing,’ Shivani replied enthusiastically. ‘You know, we already have a scholarship programme with the Ewaso Lions project. We are currently supporting eight children. Why don’t we set up the fund under the Ewaso Lions umbrella and integrate the current scholarships students into it?’
It was a brilliant idea. I started to research the education system in Kenya to work out how we could put the money to the best use and I spoke to the team at Ewaso Lions, who ran the scholarship programme. Together we worked out the details and in January 2017, six months after his death, we launched the Jeremy Lucas Education Fund.
Significance of this excerpt:
Today the Jeremy Lucas Education Fund sponsors 12 children through secondary and tertiary education and our aim is to steadily increase that number over the next few years. For more information and to donate please visit the Ewaso Lions website.
Look out for Excerpt 15 coming soon
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