The Ronnie Fund (Kenya)
P.O. Box 727-00517
Email: [email protected]
Tel: Canada: +1(705) 645 8393
Kenya : +254726827009
The Ronnie Fund (Canada)
86 Quebec Street,
Bracebridge, Ontario P1L 2A4
This is one of the most powerful emails I have shared with people on Gratitude from James and I can say it has touched many people and led people to be more gracious and look into their lives deeper.
Feel free to share as we remember James it inspires me to pour myself more in this world .
I can say James died empty he poured himself into our lives and that of many others who will live to see his legacy.
#Long Live his Legacy
From: James Farquhar To: Ronnie
Date: Sat, Apr 4, 2015 at 6:20 PM
Subject: Hello from James Farquhar
I have just read about the attacks in Kenya. I am so profoundly saddened. Canadians know nothing of this kind of violence and pain. I am privileged to have be born in Canada.
I am sorry for not replying to your telephone greeting on March 7. The days have slipped by without me really noticing as I have waited, to feel better, and for the warmer weather.
I am up early this morning, watching the sunrise, looking out my window on the third floor of this retirement home. It is very quiet, except for the refrigerator in my little kitchenette. It is -2 C, and little ponds that had formed in the field from melting snow now have a a glassy film of ice over them. just yesterday there were ducks and geese using these ponds as rest stations as they fly further north, but I guess they are huddled in protected areas waiting for the ice to melt.
I am unable to put into words how I feel as the world spins to face again at the light of the sun, bringing the arrival of a new day. Each one is a precious diamond to me. I think of a line from the books of Patrick O'Brian whose famous sea captain Jack Aubrey is fond of saying, "There's not a moment to lose!". Indeed, there's not a moment to lose, and each one has the potential to be embraced or cast aside. I have said before that each of us should pore ourselves out over the world, and that is true for me now more than ever. I do the best I can.
These past five months have been a powerful and awe inspiring experience. I have been sick from heart disease a few times before, but have rallied back to reasonably good health after surgery. Not this time. This is the arrival of the stage in life no one can ever escape. There is no surgical treatment for my failing heart and lungs. I have had many tests since being admitted to the hospital and come to understand there are only so many things doctors can do. I received the news this past week from my heart specialist that all that can be done has been done. Now I am embracing my new condition, and planning my activities around my limitations. After his disappointing words were delivered to me my first thought was, " I'm going camping! ". Once this serious situation was resolved, then I felt free, free to meet the world around me in a new way.
Ronnie, I bought a small travel trailer at the end of last August, and had planned on pulling it to Arizona for the winter. I could have stayed with friends there, and used the trailer to camp out in the desert occasionally. Imagine, looking forward to this great vacation, warm dry weather, constant sun, moderate temperatures, quiet solitude, clear skies at night looking at the stars. A winter of idyllic bliss. Suddenly it was all stripped away from me. I was whisked from my home to our local hospital by ambulance. The next day I was rushed by helicopter ambulance, with only hours to live to a heart surgeon at our regional hospital. There I had a special drain placed to remove fluid that was squeezing my heart.
During those first few days I was alone, my body fighting to stay alive, yet I was joyously uplifted by an encounter with a life force so profoundly powerful and loving there are no words to describe it. I felt the deepest gratitude for my life on Earth, and all the life I had lived. Where once there was fear, now there was love, an acceptance without judgement, a force that offered another realm of something I can only describe as "joyful glory". I now know it is there, somehow accessible on the border between life and death, hidden from view in our daily life. I can never go back to my ignorant self again. Ronnie, I will go there again, and it is difficult write this down, that it is a fact that I will go through this all over again and will not return, because this encounter was too beautiful to leave. Is it "God" I experienced? The word has less meaning to me now because of the limitations put on it by our minds. I can't describe my encounter and name it. I'm sorry, my description is too brief, and I am no writer.
You are one of the few people with whom I have shared this experience. If Jesus experienced this all the time, it's no wonder that people were so drawn to him. It's no wonder that he had such deep insight. It's no wonder he was able to accept his destiny without fear.
I will close now Ronnie. I have gained strength during March. I can still walk, slowly. Spring is here after a long cold winter. It's wonderful to see and hear the birds return, and the snow melt. I have much to be grateful for. I live in Canada. My mind has not been damaged by this illness. I don't have cancer. I can afford to go camping, and not worry about money. I am grateful for a long list of many things.
Thank you so much for thinking about me Ronnie, and taking the time to call me when I know you are busy with both your family and the many projects to which you have dedicated your life. Kenya is a better place because of you. You and your family are in my prayers.
Sept 24, Celebration of Life, James Farquhar Tiffin House Midland
I have only known James in the last decade or so of his life and only closely in the past couple of years. Last spring I was able to share with James what an honour it has been to know him at this final stage of his life. His strength and depth of faith is an inspiration to us all.
After Ronnie Mdawida lived for three months with our family as a participant in the Canada World Youth program in 2005, my wife Kathy and I created The Ronnie Fund, a small humanitarian organization working in Ronnie’s home village of Wongonyi, Kenya. For 10 years one hundred percent of money raised has been spent on projects in Kenya. James shared our vision and has been a leading supporter of Ronnie’s work over the years.
Currently we are developing the Mgongho Leadership Centre, in Wongonyi, an 18 acre parcel of land designed to be a hub of learning for all ages in Ronnie’s village. Last January I asked James if he might consider continuing to support The Ronnie Fund through his will. He lowered his head for a moment, as he gathered his thoughts, then said he wanted to make a difference in the world while he was still alive to see it. This was first moment of a remarkable summer.
On April 16 Ronnie and his wife Serah visited here at Tiffin House with James and Don as he announced his donation of $25,000 to commence building the first classroom on our land. James directed us to build with stone, the most permanent option. He chose the green steel roofing to blend into the treed hills. With tears Ronnie and James embraced and the path for achieving Ronnie’s dream educational facility was set. On April 29 just before Ronnie and Serah returned to Kenya we all met a final time with James who was so happy, saying he had never expected to see Ronnie and Serah again.
Beginning in June James was able to see Ronnie’s pictures almost daily of his building rising from the ground. James said he couldn’t wait each day to turn on his phone and see the building’s development overnight. Ronnie and James developed a very deep spiritual bond touching each other via phone, email, texts and Facetime whenever possible, often just looking at into each other’s eyes, as Ronnie had taught him to appreciate the value of the space between the words.
James was open to share that this was the most significant thing he had done in his life. As Ronnie directed every stage of the stone building construction, James said “Ronnie, I am blessed to find you, the man who can do what I cannot. I am so proud of you. It is my great honour to be your benefactor.”
Throughout the summer as James’ physical strength weakened, we know his spiritual strength sustained him as he watched Ronnie building their shared vision in Wongonyi village. In the week before his death James and Ronnie were discussing the additional financial need for windows and doors to complete the building. They went virtual shopping together, as Ronnie as they looked online choosing the best options available. Our family thanks Don and his family for selecting The Ronnie Fund for memorial gifts for James allowing us to complete James and Ronnie’s vision. In closing Ronnie says that “James died empty. He poured himself into our lives and that of many others who will live to see and benefit from James’ living legacy”.
Words From Ronnie:
Words will not do enough justice to bid you farewell. We have been thinking about you. Knowing and believing that you're in a better place has given us hope and courage to move on. You have left a permanent mark in our lives, a legacy that will live to tell a story and change so many things for the better. We will make you proud. Your words of wisdom and inspiration will always ring in our minds. You redefined perseverance and love in the face of the inevitable. I am so blessed to have had this opportunity to be in your life and to learn so many things that you shared. I will miss your jokes, I will miss your laughs, I will miss the Facetime moments we shared together.
I hope you get to hear the kids laugh as you wished. You enjoyed your surprise birthday party by your family. You enjoyed virtual shopping for building supplies with me, those are priceless moments. I feel like I should have delayed sending you the videos a little bit and delayed building the wall. Maybe you would still be around today. You had wished for the videos and the wall to go up and with your wish fulfilled you left. We will complete this beautiful dream. Thanks for pouring yourself into our lives, you died empty for you fulfilled your purpose on earth, you left it a better place for us.
To the family we wish you our sincere condolences and we take this opportunity to welcome you to Wongonyi village where James spirit will always live on. In honor of James we will also have a service in Nairobi and the village. The workers will put in one week of free labour towards James Farquhar building in his respect. We will plant commemorative trees around the building as well.
Long Live your Legacy James, you will always be in our lives till me meet again.
I cannot write enough words to describe how it felt.