I did not know him personally but my life has an uncanny number of parallels with his and I wish I could have met him.
I too came from a humble background, winning an Open Scholarship in 1989 and completing two post-grad degrees. Like Ravi, I too felt compelled to put the educational fortune afforded to me by my parents and the government to good use, by giving back to the less fortunate.
I currently live in Tanzania, right next door to Kenya, having spent most of the last two years volunteering in the education sector in Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam. Over the past decade I have also run several marathons and half marathons on four continents to raise money for many charitable causes such as infant mortality and empowerment of women entrepreneurs. I too have generally eschewed the corporate rat race and material quest that most of our scholars and young people seem to be caught up in, albeit to the chagrin of many family members and friends.
It is a shame that such a brilliant, vibrant and stellar human being such as Ravi had to leave us so soon. Despite my great sadness at his passing, it heartens me immensely to know that there are still selfless and altruistic individuals left in our society.
He is my hero and role model and has emboldened me to continue my path here in East Africa. His tragic death in Kenya should not discourage others from coming to Sub-Saharan Africa to volunteer and work towards improving the health and livelihoods of the underprivileged. I hope Ravi’s parents know that they raised a remarkable human being, and they should be proud of how he chose to live his life and his accomplishments. Rest in peace my friend.
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania