If Kigali was Aquarius, a translucent constellation in the Zodiac, symbolizing October, Kagire’s birth month, he would be the Sadalmelik or Sadalsuud: two of its brightest starts; for he is indeed a shining star among Humans of Kigali.
When I first met him, he was working as a journalist for the New Times. We have been friends since. Edmund is one year younger than me, but already has much more responsibilities. He has a wife and two beautiful daughters.
He is a brilliant man, who puts his skills at the service of his people. He writes well, and makes engaging arguments on Rwanda and the East African region. Now we do not have so many young people like Edmund, who are passionate about educating the public and contributing to positive change in our country.
So, when I heard of the chocking news of Edmund Kagire’s liver cancer, I couldn’t write any more stories. I was both scared and revolted. In my little experience about life, it is the best among us who go through the most trials in life.
Being married for more than three years, Edmund has behaved better than I have for sure. Yet, today he is the one afflicted by this disease. It got me really thinking, about the meaning of our existence; all I know is, we are healthy, not because we have behaved in particular way, but by the grace of God.
It breaks my heart that this happens to the best among us; a beautiful mind, a brilliant friend who lives a full life. It is a bit scary too: that a healthy man, younger than me can be reached by this disease, means that no one of us is immune. It is also worrying that our health system has not yet reached a level where it can take care of its own people, regardless of their condition.
That said, I find it quiet moving that people, those who know him and those who are hearing about him for the first time are all willing to participate. This says a lot about him as an individual, but also about who we are as a society, and the importance that we give to human life.
For me it is a bit of a personal story. My paternal grand mother died of cancer. It was diagnosed too late; there was nothing that could be done. Two years ago, I lost two people closest to me, in a space of one month. I lost my maternal grand mother who raised me. She was the center of my universe; my everything. Then I lost my young sister Marthe. She was a talented young woman; a painter, a singer and a designer. In both tragedies I wasn’t home, I was living abroad and couldn’t travel back to attend their burials; somehow, I couldn’t get an exit Visa in time where I lived. I felt so devastated, so trapped, that I decided to stop running and comeback home, be close to my family and my people.
I can imagine how trapped Edmund must feel right now. A man that has selflessly written to us, educated, informed and entertained us over the years, does not have the money to take care of his health problems. Him, such a young man, husband to a lovely woman, father of two beautiful girls, is today facing a premature end, way before his time.
Our health system could not save my sister and my grand mother; There wasn’t time to send them abroad. Today I have another chance; my friend’s cancer can be defeated. So I am doing this for me too. I can use a win against cancer; one win is enough: This win!
So today I make a pledge to contribute to my friend’s health.
By contributing to Edmund’s treatment, I will be making a statement to myself; that I practice what I preach, that I can be a decent person, who will not abandon a comrade on the battlefield. I will be choosing life; for me and those around me.
It is a lot of money, I know. But it is also a lot of goodhearted people out there: You! Together, lets beat this thing and prove to ourselves that we are not alone, that we are part of a bigger constellation of human kind; that we are loved.
I have been writing for you out there for a while. I have never asked anything in return. I will be humbled and thankful if you can contribute something – anything you have, to save my friend Edmund. Why? Because ‘There is a place in your heart, and I know that it is love’ – Michael Jackson.
You can reach Kagire directly on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or me on email@example.com