Elif Yavuz was just two weeks away from being a proud mother. A brilliant graduate from Harvard and a successful vaccine researcher with the Clinton Foundation in Tanzania, Elif was among the 70 dead confirmed by the Kenyan government. Her architect boyfriend Ross Langdon was also shot during the incident.
Ross Langdon too, like Elif, had dedicated his life for the under-developed and the unprivileged. He was an award-winning architect who took up projects that could bring a change in the society. In fact, he had designed an AIDS hospital in Kenya and had delivered a speech on sustainable architecture in the TED talks series. His next plan was for a $35 million museum.
A nest or a deathtrap?
Elif wanted to spend the last days of her pregnancy close to the best hospitals in Nairobi. She had an idea that this was probably the best and the safest place for giving birth to her first child. But, she was wrong and walked into a death-trap on Saturday.
Probably shopping for their forthcoming responsibilities, the duo were taking a stroll in the mall when terror struck and hit hard.
The young couple had dedicated their lives for the society.
Friends and acquaintances were equally shocked by the incident, especially at a time when they were about to take up new responsibilities and start a life that they had been dreaming of for years.
Expressing their sorrow at losing a talented researcher, the Clinton family said,"Elif was brilliant, dedicated, and deeply admired by her colleagues, who will miss her terribly." the Clintons said.
Harvard Assistant Professor Jessica Cohen, who had discovered Elif and picked her up as a malaria researcher in Uganda remembered fondly of her.
She said,"Elif would walk around dusty towns with these great clothes and a big smile. Bright and intelligent, she innovated ideas to ensure that the children stayed with the treatment programs. She taught the Ugandan children the "thriller" dance from the Michael Jackson video when she was not working. In fact, she designed her programs using mosquito nets to prevent infection."
Langdon too was very popular among his friends and colleagues. "They were agents-of-change in the best sense," friend Peter Adams wrote on his blog. "Both had dedicated their lives to working for a peaceful world. Both had so much to offer."
His firm-the Regional Associates-posted a statement after his death, which read:
"We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss our friend and colleague Ross Langdon and his partner, Elif Yavuz. Profoundly talented and full of life, Ross enriched the lives of all those around him. Ross's leadership on projects throughout East Africa was inspirational, and he will be will be very, very sorely missed by us all. Our deepest condolences and thoughts are with Ross and Elif's families at this very difficult time."
Indian-origin pregnant media presenter also dead
IN a similar incident, a well-known media presenter of Indian origin, Ruhila Adaita-Sood, was shot dead when she was hosting a cooking competition for small children at the rooftop car park of Westgate mall.
While her husband Ketan Sood worked for the USAID in Nairobi, she was a presenter with the Radio Africa media group's East FM. She also hosted entertainment news on Kiss TV, E-News, Kiss 100 and X-FM.