This has been a gloomy week. My good pal Frank Manduku slid into eternity early on the morning of Thursday the 27th of July at Nairobi Hospital. He has been unwell for the last month or so and got admitted last Saturday. I was planning to go visit him in the hospital on that Thursday at noon. That same day my brother and his family were returning to the US after a five-week stay here. We decided to do one last morning run with Levi before they depart. I’m now converted to running in the mornings.

I woke up at 5.15 am that day and saw an update on our investment group that Frank was still in the hospital and that we should continue praying for him. I left for my run and got back to my phone at 7.11 am. That’s when I saw a missed call from James, a mutual pal with Frank. A text message followed asking me to go to the hospital. I quickly got out of my sweaty clothes, took a shower, and parted ways with my bro for Nairobi hospital. Along the way, I was begging God to preserve my friend’s life. Once at the hospital parking, James called me again and broke the news that Frank had passed away.

I walked to ICU in a haze and met many people outside in the waiting area speaking in hushed tones. Some were hugging, others were wiping their tears while others just sat or stood in silence as if transported to another world leaving their bodies behind. Frank had a career in accounts and auditing before transitioning to human resources. His death has made me audit my life. We thank Sir God for the gift of life often but last week Thursday that gift was taken away from Frank. Was he left without a gift? It felt that way initially but upon further reflection maybe he got an upgrade to eternal life. Frank loved God in word and deed so I choose to believe that he is with his maker helping improve HR systems in heaven. Maybe there are some sumbua angels that God needs help with so he re-called Frank back to HQ to align things.

Folks, what are we doing with the gift of life (and many others) that have been freely given to us? Time is ticking and we need to make our days count and not just count our days.  I want and plan to die empty. That when my upgrade comes I will have spent all my gifts.

I last met with Frank in person on the 30th of May when we held our mini AGM for our investment group. Oh, and this is the only investment group that I have been part of that has succeeded. And a big part of that was because of Frank’s commitment. He was the glue that held us together. At that meeting, some of us felt it was time for a dividend after years of putting in money and investing. Frank being the constant voice of reason was reluctant and tried to convince us to save for a rainy day. Some of us decided it was raining that day and a cheque to take home would be a good umbrella. Our brother reluctantly agreed. He sought peace often but also disrupted it when he needed to. Many this week have described him as a gentle giant.

Over the years we formed our friendship and met regularly over fish. We would meet in church and he would say we need to eat fish. Mama Oliech’s fish place in Kilimani was our regular venue. Those conversations were real and somehow I would be accountable to him even if we didn’t label each other as accountability partners. We built each other over fish.

Frank also allowed me to use him as a poster boy for our halftime round tables. This was after he had done the halftime program which I believe helped him transition to his new career in HR. Are there times folks you have a pal who you don’t meet often but when you meet or talk on the phone the connection is still strong? That was Frank.

We indeed do bury ourselves while we are still alive. I’m amazed at the outpouring of support and concern for Frank’s family since his departure. Guys he was in school with more than 30 years ago have shown up in big numbers to eulogize their classmate. Oh and just for the record He went to Alliance and many didn’t know. Humble man he was. I believe his many connections will benefit his daughters for years to come. A good man leaves enough social capital for his kids until they start building their own capital.

So today as we lay this great man to rest in Kenya’s banana capital, Kisii, I choose to leave and live with the memories of Frank and try to emulate his commitment to serve both God and man. Relationships defined his life and that’s what counts at the end of the day. Frank usually used Mbagathi Road to and from home.  On Wednesday I drove behind the hearse carrying his body on Mbagathi road to church for his funeral service. I realized that was the last time he would be on that road. I felt like I was escorting him home, only this time to his eternal home. It was an honor of sorts. At 53 you’ve gone too soon bro. But seeing what you’ve accomplished in many people maybe it was time. Till we meet again. Meanwhile, enjoy the fish huko juu.






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8 thoughts on “No More Fish.”

  1. David says:

    Grace and peace to you Lucas and Frank’s family and friends. What a great legacy that he’s left. Something to emulate.

  2. Miriam Tharao says:

    Pole sana for the loss. My thoughts are with the family and friends. May God grant them comfort and strength.
    Frank lived out the fullness of his days and wrote his story to be told by others.
    The onus is now on us to continue writing ours and leave an impact. The death of our loved ones teaches us how to live, kind of a reality check.
    Psalms 90:12
    Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.


  3. Mike Eldon says:

    A wonderful tribute, Lucas

  4. Mitchelle says:

    Sufficient peace your way and in his family members too.

  5. Levi M says:

    RIP Frank. He was a great man. A great friend to you, bro. And definitely a great family man. Prayers for strength and comfort through this hard season to the family and friends.

  6. Wauku says:

    I met Frank and the wife 17 years ago when we did a parenting course together at the Navigators. That was the first connection that we made and Creans, the wife, having been a class behind my husband it was easy to connect. We were to meet again last year when doing a course on courageous parenting and we just picked from where we had stopped many years ago. Its like there hadn’t been gap years in-between. We then found ourselves in the same small group where we met once every three weeks and Frank never missed those classes. His participation was calm but weighty. When he couldn’t make he requested for a re-schedule because he did not want to miss out. He was real, sharing his experiences and it was evident that he was a committed family man. I have been challenged by the outpouring of his friends in the last one and a half weeks who have come out in drones to eulogise him. A gentle giant has been laid to rest. I am left with the words of his wife “If you are not living for The Lord, then I don’t know who you are living for” Shalom!

  7. Joseph Kahuko says:

    Very sorry Lucas for your loss of a good friend. May these great memories of what your shared continue to build you.

  8. Marianne W. says:

    This is a beautiful, and absolutely true, tribute! Thank you Lucas…. I am keenly following your new assignment ..
    Frank’s life impacted so many, he lived for the Lord he so deeply and calmly served. He now rests at the feet of Jesus.

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