Lloyd Rebeiro, Manu D’Cruz & Lillian Castelino
Melville Rebeiro. Vivianne Fonseca, Maura Lobo, Braz Menezes,
Inocensia De Souza, Tony Fonseca, and Johnny Lobo
Patricia Rebeiro, Nikki DeSouza, and Charmaine Beltrame
A farewell to Dr. Manu D’Cruz
Even if you were a close friend, it is only after someone dies you hear something intimate about their lives for the first time. It was so last Saturday January 11, 2020, after a short memorial Mass at St Josephine Bakhita Parish in Mississauga for the late Dr. Manu D’Cruz, who passed away in Nairobi on November 22nd, 2019.
About fifty friends and relatives gathered to pay tribute to this Icon of the Kenya Goan Community. There were many Goan MDs in Kenya, but only one Dr. Manu D’Cruz, ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat, Consultant and Surgeon).
Canadian Johnny Lobo – Manu’s 92-year-old colleague and famed Kenyan Goan sportsman and Captain of the Nairobi Heroes Soccer Club, was a neighbour and childhood playmate of Manu. He retold the story of how Manu then aged about 2, was brought to their house by his panicked mother carrying him. His face was turning blue. She was crying for help. Johnny’s mother was crocheting on the verandah. She quickly examined the baby and saw a corn kernel was stuck in Manu’s nostril. She calmly reached for her crochet needle and slowly eased the kernel out. Manu’s blue face returned to brown, and over the years numerous friends and relatives kept repeating what they had heard of that miraculous event. Manu told him he was inspired by those stories to continue study about ears, noses and throats.
All speakers spoke highly of this amazing, unassuming man, who devoted himself to community and his Goan Gymkhana, and embraced all other communities with true Kenyan patriotism. He would be passionate about treating the sick and would travel miles to reach them. He was driven by his humanity and was a dedicated Rotarian. But most of all he cared for his extended family and their little ones, always stimulating them to explore new ideas, and serving as a role model especially to his nephews. There were memories to smile about.
One remembered he was a smoker, but never threw out the empty packs. He would collect these so when the nephews visited, they could spread them out on the floor and construct intricate models (predating Lego).
Freddy Mascarenhas, Dr Clara’s nephew, spoke lovingly of the special care Dr Manu showed to him and his family. Claude Fernandes recounted making a trip from Zanzibar to Nairobi in 1967 to undergo an ear operation, and his hearing is perfect to this date.
Lloyd Rebeiro’s favourite story was about the time they persuaded Dr Manu to park his old Toyota in the bus-storage parking area at St Mary’s School, where his mother was a teacher. He would sneak in and practice his driving alone. One day something nearly did go drastically wrong, when suddenly in the dusk, a student taking a shortcut, darted onto the road and Lloyd almost hit him. That student was the younger Uhuru Kenyatta (today’s President of Kenya).
Dr Manu’s kindness stretched to anyone who he saw as needing support. Jonas Noronha thanked him for his encouragement when at the start of his career, he was trying to break into the pharmaceutical sales business. To this generosity, I too can attest.
Dr Manu was about 11 years older than me. I had only heard his name from my dad, as a son of a fellow club member, sent to boarding school in India and he was going great guns and a god example for me. Manu spent a lifetime studying and only returned about 21 years later, after Edinburgh. My generation, Gerson Fonseca, Edgar DeSa, Felix and Victor Nazareth, and others, were now regulars at the Goan Gymkhana. Dr Manu, perched on a bar stool, would preside and lead us through discussions on many current events. He and I formed a close friendship as I believe he may have wanted to be an architect as well (after those cigarette pack creations). He was always encouraging me. And then one day his lovely wife Dr Clara arrived. For a while we saw a little less of him, until she too joined him regularly in the club.
Thank you, Dr. Clara, for sharing him so selflessly. On Boxing day 1967, my mother collapsed on the dance floor. Dr Manu immediately took charge and rushed her to the hospital and stayed with us until there was no further hope. Our relationship grew stronger over the next 10 years.
Thank you, dear friend, Dr Manu. You have earned a well-deserved rest.
In conclusion, I must add the Event was beautifully organised by Jerry Lobo and Claire Fonseca. The church is a new modern construction and very beautiful. The design is composed of three octagonal shaped buildings that are joined together by a narthex. In the 1800's, many of the people of Sudan lived in thatched huts and having three of these joined together indicate the shape of a flower. St Josephine Bakhita is often referred to as "The African Flower". She died in 1947 and was laid to rest in Italy.
NB. This note is a team effort by Braz Menezes assisted by Claire Fonseca, Jerry Lobo and Lloyd Rebeiro.
|Lloyd Rebeiro, Clara D’Cruz, Lillian Castelino, Manu D’Cruz|
|Braz Menezes, Maura and Johnny Lobo, Colleen D'Souza|
|Lloyd Reberio, Claire Fonseca, Lydia Saikali, Judy and Joshua|
|Xavier Carvalho, Jonas Noronha, Jerry Lobo and Claire Fonseca|
|Jeremy Lobo, Skylar Mascarenhas, Freddy Mascarenhas, Floyd Mascarenhas|
|Celine Lobo, Inocencia De Souza and Sarita De Souza|
|Braz Menezes and Johnny Lobo|