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Kenya: A tribute to Ayub

From someone who was close to Ayub, and who prefers to remain anonymous.

Ayub Meme was born on 20 October 1992. He died just over 22 years later, on 3 November 2014. The seventh in a family of eight children, he was the only one to be born HIV-positive. He was admitted to Cottolengo Centre in Nairobi when he was four years old, after his parents died in Meru.

Something we really miss about Ayub is that he could tell you a good story and draw a comparison with the story of his namesake, Ayub (Job), in the Bible.

Ayub was a jovial, respectful and gifted young man.  He liked drawing and dabbling in electronics. He liked his phone so much and if anyone needed any help with a computer or phone, they could consult him and he’d be very helpful.

Ayub finished his secondary education in 2013. He wanted to specialize in arts and, in 2014, he went to the school of his choice, the Buruburu Institute of Fine Arts. But Ayub had a history of boycotting his antiretroviral medication – he was tired of taking pills every day like sweets. And he struggled to find answers as to why he was in an institution, why he was HIV-positive when his younger brother, to whom he was very close, was not. He went for counselling.

But it was too late. After being in art school for almost two months, Ayub started falling sick, so he went back to Cottolengo for medication. He hoped and believed he would recover and go back to school. But his condition deteriorated. Throughout all his ordeal, Ayub remained so strong. He slipped into a coma and died on 3 November 2014. 

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