Last week, we lost a dear member of the Intrepid family. Victor Ongollah, one of our most popular tour leaders in East Africa, was diagnosed in January with aplastic anaemia – a condition in which the body stops producing new blood cells, often occurring as a result of bone marrow damage. The only cure for the disorder is a bone marrow transplant. Unfortunately, doctors were unable to find a close match for Victor; after the transplant, his body reacted negatively to the donor, and he passed away on 30 April.
Born on the shores of Lake Victoria in Western Kenya, Victor had a passion for wildlife, culture and history. It was this passion that led him to study tourism management at the Kenya Wildlife Service training Institute, before joining Intrepid as a tour leader in 2011. He quickly grew to become one of Intrepid’s most valued leaders, bringing in consistently high feedback from his long overland trips, and creating lasting friendships with many of his passengers.
“Victor was a determined leader, constantly striving for progressive and positive outcomes; he was passionate, warm and lively, and always available to offer advice to upcoming leaders and his fellow colleagues,” said John Kinyua, one of Victor’s many friends and colleagues in Intrepid’s East Africa office.
“Throughout his illness, he took each day in his stride, without complaint, looking forward to the day his treatments would end so he could get on with life. He wanted to get better so he could return to what he did best: lead trips! I always admired how he never judged or forced his opinions on anyone; he just offered valuable, honest advice that I will surely miss.”