Grace Wambui-Odongo won the hearts of many social media users when pictures showing her serving soldiers with tea and bread outside dusitD2 Hotel on Wednesday morning surfaced online.
She braved the tension-inducing environment to ensure that the soldiers were well-fed, even as they combed the hotel in search of the terrorists, who killed 14 on scene.
Unknown to many, Ms Odongo is a survivor of the 2007/2008 post election violence, which left at least 1, 100 people dead and over 250, 000 Kenyans displaced.
She was a Kisumu resident at the time, when bitter political divisions triggered a bloodbath.
Given she is from the Kikuyu ethnic community, and was living right in the heartland of the then-Opposition party leader Raila Odinga’s bedrock, she bore the brunt – her family was displaced and all her properties set alight.
Ms Odongo, thereafter, relocated to Nairobi, where she started a hotel business, which has seen her put her acts of kindness on the map, especially after the January 15, 2019 terror attack at the upscale Dusit complex.
She was there to provide food and something to drink to the gallant security agents.
“I have gone through it [moments of trauma as a result of war]. I know how [it feels like to be at the center of a messy battle]. The family members of these soldiers, maybe, are wondering how they can reach here. They have food at home, but cannot dare step on this site [because of the hostile environment],” she told Citizen TV, revealing the inspiration behind her act of kindness.
“With me, I am in the neighbourhood, and, [so can easily help] because I own a hotel business [around 14 Riverside Drive]. Being here, doesn’t mean I am idle. I am a hotelier by profession,” she said.
“This is the first time I have found myself right in the middle of terror, though when I was in Kisumu, I helped the Red Cross, a lot! At that time, they would come to where I was. I could not move because I was feeling unsafe due to the then-ethnic tensions,” she said.
We celebrate you, Ms Odongo!