It was the first trip she’d taken back to her homeland since emigrating to Canada about eight years ago.
And while the journey to Kenya wasn’t necessarily a vacation – she was attending her mother’s funeral – Janet Mbugua, a widow, was thrilled at the opportunity to see her five adult children.
She spent three weeks in the African country, travelling with two close friends and other relatives.
However, en route home on Jan. 29, Mbugua collapsed on the plane, apparently suffering breathing difficulties. Airline personnel and passengers tended to her and the plane was diverted to Edmonton. The 68-year-old was transferred to Leduc Community Hospital (just outside Edmonton) where she was pronounced dead.
A fundraising campaign is now under way to transport her body from Alberta back to Kenya, as per her children’s wishes. It’s estimated it will cost at least $10,000.
A memorial service is being held for Mbugua – known affectionately as Mama Njeri – in Surrey on Friday (Feb. 5) at the Umoja Operation Compassion Society, 10025 Whalley Blvd.
There is also an online fundraising account set up at https://www.gofundme.com/chmhzcm4 where donations can be made. As of Thursday, $1,340 had been raised.