Capital FM (Nairobi)

12 June 2012

Kenya: Pilot Gituanja Died Doing What She Liked Best

Nairobi, Kenya — Captain Nancy Gituanja died in Sunday's tragic crash doing what she had all along dreamt of as a child - flying.

Described by her younger sister Grace Gituanja as a very responsible and bright person, Nancy is said to have had ambitions of being a pilot as early as her days in primary school.

The fourth born in a family of nine and the eldest amongst girls, she was born to a father who worked for the Murata Sacco and a housewife mother.

"She always wanted to be in control despite the fact that she had elder siblings. Even when we had to do our chores she stood in for us as the big sister," recalled Grace.

Born in 1978, Nancy attended Kiraga Primary School before she later joined Mugoiri Girls for her post primary education.

She however stayed in Mugoiri for a year and left for Muruka Secondary School neighbouring her home after her parents encountered problems raising fees.

"The school is just within walking distance so my father (Allanson Gituanja) felt that Nancy should join my other brother in that school where she attained a mean grade B," recalled Grace.

After she failed to raise school fees for university, she was taken in by a relative and worked as a sales lady in Karatina where she stayed for one-and-a-half years and later joined St Charles Lwanga Secondary School to work as a teacher.

She left for the Kenya Police later in 1999 and after the mandatory training in Kiganjo she was deployed for training within the police air wing.

Despite the difficulties Nancy faced while growing up, she still kept a strong determination to pursue he dream of flying.

Grace told Capital FM News that Nancy took good care of her siblings including their elder brothers and turned into their bread winner after she landed a job as a Kenya Police pilot.

Nancy got married and is survived by three children Sharon (9) Diana (5) and Wesley (2).

They last attended a get-together party hosted by their mother Josephine Njoki on June 2 before she left for Nairobi.

Grace describes her sister as "a jovial person who loved people and was the thread that knit together our family".

"She loved her children. Despite the fact that she worked at Wilson Airport (less than two kilometres from her house) she called in numerous times to find out how they were doing," said Grace who stayed in Nancy's house after high School.

"She has been the bread winner in our family; we looked upon her in many ways and we will miss her," she says breaking down to tears.

Pilot Gituanja underwent training in the Ukraine in April 2009. She also went through specialised training for the Eurocopter AS350 helicopter in South Africa.

Last December, she went to South Africa together with the Kenya Police Air wing commandant Rodgers Mbithi for a two-week training

Mbithi describes her as very friendly, experienced and professional in her service and says her presence will be greatly missed in the crew room where pilots spent time when they were not flying.

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