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Cyprian Fernandes: Mervyn Maciel

http://www.coastweek.com/4016-cyprian-fernandes-Mervyn-Maciel-author-of-Bwana-Karani-and-From-Mtoto-to-Mzee.htm

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Mervyn's wife's name is Elsie and not Josephine! Apologies for the mistake!

Cyprian Fernandes: In memoriam Rufina Fernandes 1944-2007




Dear Mum,
Words cannot express my gratitude, my love for you. As a child, I never really understood nor comprehended the gravity of the things you did for me because.. well, you were mum. You were a superhero that made the impossible, possible. Even with the weight of the world on your shoulders, you still managed to keep me high above the stampede. You nursed me when I was injured and when I was sick, introduced me to my biggest love, and showed me what love was. My inspiration, my teacher, my angel. For that, I will always be indebted to you.
Even though it's been 10 years today since you have been gone, you will forever live on through my memories, my actions, my words and my loves. I love you, i miss you, always thinking of you.
Your piglet,
Carlos (the little baby in the picture)


10 years ago …
But, wasn’t it just yesterday

On a summer’s night, late night, in Kenya, A soft, gentle breeze kisses, caresses my face,
I feel soft, gentle familiar palm, loving fingers …Or is that your baby-skinned face, your nose
Your lips, brushing against mine, I think I hear a gentle whisper in my ear,
And then a warm flush of air, like your breath…
And the tingle in my ear makes a blush come quickly, and I am shakin’ all over

And I am smiling, that lovin’ kind of smiling

The genteel satisfaction of being loved by you, I am aglow in your presence,
And I am born again, Many thousands of times, each time your smiling face
Showers me with the love only you can give

I am seating at the seaside, our favourite place In Sydney, Australia
We’ve been here again, and again, I can see your face light up
Like a huge tracking spotlight, All 32 teeth in full view, cheeks aglow
Eyes lit up, like two from the twinkling universe in the night sky

And why not? You just landed your favourite bream; you are going to eat it tonight,
Lightly pan-fried, washed down with that favourite bottle of sparkling white
And you can’t stop smiling, Thank you, you say, for a brilliant day … Yes!

Last night we danced, and danced, our hearts out, the way we have always done
In our own special way, the jive, hipshakinsweetsoul music, those cheek-to-cheek
Songs …wrapped around each other, lips lightly touching, stealing kisses,
Silly sweet nothings in your ear, stop it, people will talk …
And we went to bed, after a night cap, still smiling

I thought it was you I heard in the garden, I looked again, crooked an ear,
And your voice was gone, Oh no, it was the birds singing,
And I thought it was you …I see your smiles in your roses, sometimes they speak
And say I should really look after the garden, one of these days, one of these days.

You are in my bed, skin-to-skin, in my dreams, and me in yours, I can see your dreams
I can hear you singing with the radio in the car, or in the front room
Or saying “name that singer”, “name that song”
You are with me first thing at dawn and the last thing at night before I switch off the radio


I spend all of my days with you and it is a kind of bliss, And, once in a while,
There is a reminder; you have been gone some 10 years,
Wasn’t it just yesterday … we were loving each other?
Yes, our love lives on … just as you live on in the hearts of Andi, Leon, Carl,
Your family, our friends, and everyone who knew you, will never forget

And as long as you continue to whisper in my ear, I will try and hum Little Green Apples …
A little off key, a little out of tune, a little out of time, but your harmonizing will fix that!

Love you, always.

The Queen honours Mervyn Maciel

Picture: Goan Voice UK




Queen honours Mervyn Maciel (Bwana Karani)

The Queen has honoured 88-year-old Mervyn Maciel – one of the world’s best known British civil servants in Kenya and author of the delightful Bwani Karani and the companion book From Mtoto to Mzee – with an invitation to her annual Garden Party at Buckingham Palace. So on May 23, Maciel, attired in a morning suit and top hat (or lounge suit or a Kenyan national outfit), will front up at Buckingham Palace at 3 pm with his daughter, Josey, on his arm. His wife Elsie is ailing an unable to attend.

Maciel has spent most of his life exposing the good, bad and ugly side of the former Colonial Civil Service in Kenya. He is very respected by his former colleagues and seniors for his honesty and his fairness in documenting life in some of the most distant corners of colonial Kenya. Maciel suspects that the invitation came on the recommendation of  the Secretary of the Overseas Service Pensioners’ Association but more because of Maciel’s various contributions (books, countless articles) as a member of the association.

In his imitable fashion, especially when it comes to his personal glory, Maciel usually down plays things. “Don’t know if anyone would want to know or care for that matter,” he wrote to me in a personal note. I am sure as a respect Goan, Kenyan and British, thousands will join me congratulating our favourite “rafiki” (friend).

Maciel and his daughter Josey will be among 8000 people who will be attending this year’s party. Folks are invited for their services to the public or charity work.

Cyprian Fernandes: Alu: The Last Post




Briefly, Tari at the GI wake for Alu: Hi Cyprian. I mentioned in my short speech that Alu was one of our greatest heroes.  I had the honour to play with him three Olympics Games and he was my coach in the first World Cup in Barcelona 1971 where  Kenya finished 4th in the World. He was great sportsman, great father, great friend, and was loved by all in hockey circles and, of course, by the Goan community and worldwide. He sailed the ship to great heights. We will miss him. God be with him, and rest his soul in eternal l Peace. God Bless all.

Cyprian Fernandes: Alu: Daughter's tribute to a humble man



Eulogy By Erika Mendonca-DeSilva, Service of Remembrance
March 31, Toronto, Canada

A hero is defined as “A person who is admired for their outstanding achievements”.  By that measure, my dad was a hero for his outstanding athletic ability and the honour he brought to Kenya and the Goan Community.  We Goans have a difficult time celebrating successes within our community.  But since his death, we have been truly overwhelmed with the many tributes and accolades that have been showered upon him and amazed at the number of people who stated that dad was their hero.  It is comforting to be surrounded by your love and respect for my dad. Thank you so much for coming and showing my family that my Dad holds a special place in your heart.
I would like to read an excerpt from an article his friend Norman Da Costa wrote after his death:
There isn’t a greater sight in field hockey than seeing a player thunder down at full speed and cannon the ball to the back of the net with awesome power.
With the constant roar of the crowd chanting “Alu, Alu, Alu” the great Alexinho Mendonca would ignite City Park Stadium with his exhilarating pace on the left wing.
The exclamation point was the ball finding the top of the net past bewildered goalkeepers.

What a special time it must have been for the Goan Community in Kenya in the 1950s and 60s?  A whole class of special athletes, most from the Dr. Ribeiro Goan School, were coming into their own and it started with dad being selected to the Kenya Olympic Team for the 1956 Melbourne Games.  I can just imagine the pride all Goans must have felt.  No wonder so many Goans considered him a hero. 
Four years later in 1960, dad was again selected to the Olympic Team for the games in Rome, and this team included several more Goans including Hilary Fernandes, Silu Fernandes, Leo Fernandes  and the late Egbert Fernandes his brother in law and my uncle.  Dad played in two more Olympics, 1964 in Tokyo, 1968 in Mexico.  Thereafter, he retired, became a coach and was the assistant coach for the Munich Games in 1972 and head coach for the Montreal Games in 1976. 
My dad was a humble man who never bragged about his athletic career.  In fact, unless asked, he never talked about his career; he had turned the page and moved on.  I would like to share a quote from his memoir “In the modern era when top sportsmen and women can earn huge financial rewards, I reflect on the fact that financially my unique sporting achievements did not bring me any material advantage. However, I regret nothing. I played only for sheer love of the game.” 
As a child, I was too small to see him play in big stadiums.  I have vivid memories of going to the City Park Stadium with my mom, Derek and Cora to watch a game and instead of enjoying the game and joining in with the chanting crowds we were too busy playing hide and seek in the stands.   It is ironic that we his children and his grand-children did not really comprehend the greatness of his career and his athletic talent until his death.   It is because of all of you sharing your recollections of him, that my son Tyson better understands what a great hero his Pa was and is today proudly wearing his Olympic Jacket.
Dad loved field hockey in his time, but his love for his family was greater.  He adored his father, Manuel, who himself was a great cricket player.  I was amazed to learn that dad had the chance to play cricket with Papa when he was 18.  After Papa passed away, Dad ensured that his beloved mother, Mai, was taken care of.  She was the primary reason he never left Kenya.  But the greatest love of his life was my mom Alba whom he married in 1963.  To paraphrase the great poem by W.H. Auden:
She was his North, his South, his East and West,
His working week and His Sunday rest,
His noon, His midnight, His talk, His song;
He thought she would live longer than himself: he was wrong.
Her death in 2001 devastated him and he truly never got over her loss in his life.  A few months before Mum passed, Julius, Tyson and I went to see her in Nairobi.  Shortly before we were to leave Nairobi, mum had to be admitted to Nairobi Hospital and we spent the last day of our trip with her at the hospital.  As we were getting ready to leave for the airport, we got to spend a few minutes alone with her.  She was at peace with her fate, but was worried about leaving dad behind.  We promised her that we would ensure that dad would be looked after for the remainder of his life.
We as a family honored that promise to dad’s last day.  After mum’s death, dad lived with his older sister Annie for 10+ years.  We his children owe Aunty Annie a debt of gratitude for staying with him and looking after him through what were often difficult times.  In 2011, as dad’s health worsened, he moved in with my younger sister Cora, her husband Shaun and daughter Nicola and they took great care of him till the end.  His death has impacted them the most because it has left a big void in their home. 
The support dad received was a family affair not limited to Nairobi.  His younger brother Pius, who moved to Germany as a young adult to become a doctor, never forgot the support his elder brother provided him and in turn provided support from afar.  Dad’s youngest sister Teresa who worshipped her older brother and her husband Ron also supported dad.  Before leaving Nairobi to move to Canada, I had a special relationship with dad and whenever we met over the years, in Kenya, Goa or Canada, we always bonded and re-established our special relationship.  Two years ago, I travelled to Nairobi to spend quality time alone with dad while Cora and family were away.  We bonded every day listening to his favorite music, trading jokes in Konkani and laughing; I will always cherish the brief time we spent together.  Through the magic of Facetime, I am grateful that, my children, Tyson, Jadon and Chloe got to know their Pa. 
Dad had a difficult relationship with my brother Derek over the years.  As a youngster, Derek had shown promise as a field hockey player, but never embraced the game as Dad had done.  Michael Jordan, the great basketball player, once stated that he felt sorry for his kids, especially his sons because people would always compare them to him instead of recognizing their own unique abilities.  Perhaps that is why Derek never followed the same path.  After Derek married his wife Rosalyn, their relationship with dad grew more estranged.  But in the end, after dad was admitted to hospital, Derek, Rosalyn and their daughter Angelica came to visit and dad was overjoyed to see them.  Their final two weeks together were blessed and it is somewhat appropriate that dad chose to take his last breath with Derek and Rosalyn at his bedside.  In the end, our hero rose to the challenge and made peace with his son and daughter in law.
My father was a teacher of all things. He taught by example as did my mom.  They have always been my moral compass. He always wanted me to be a self-sufficient and independent woman.  These values have helped shape us and have made me the person I am today. His own parents were adamant that he learn those same values and to know the difference between right and wrong so this is one of my earliest remembered teachings.   He taught us perseverance in that you have to work for what you want in life. And sometimes you have to fight for it; don’t let anything or anyone get in your way. Don’t let an opportunity pass you by.  If it doesn’t work out, move on and try again.  Eventually, something will work out and you’ll never have regrets because you won’t have to look back and wonder what if.
Dad was a giver.  The generosity he expressed with his money matched his generosity of spirit. He would have given you the shirt off his back even in his last moments. He had a quiet dignity and as he faced his final days, his body ravaged many complications.  Not once did he complain or ask ‘why me?’
It was once written that the value of a person’s life is directly related to the number of people they positively affect.  Thank you, Dad, for being you. We will miss you.
Finally, dad had many sayings, but the one I will cherish the most is “A parting is never a farewell – until we meet again