This is one of dozens of photographs of Ravindra Ramrattan, posted by friends on a Facebook page in his memory titled "Where is Ravi". Ramrattan's death is being mourned but his life is also being celebrated as exceptional.
Ravi's final hours
"I am safe and hiding in a supermarket" was the text message Ramrattan sent in a text to a friend. It was the last communication he sent.
RAVINDRA Ramrattan spent the final hours of his life in hiding,
hoping that the terrorists would not find and kill him.
"I am safe and hiding in a supermarket" was the text message
Ramrattan sent in a text to a friend. It was the last communication
It would later be confirmed that Ramrattan, considered by friends
and family as a gift to the world, has died in that mall in Nairobi,
Kenya along with at least 68 others.
Ramrattan, a Trinidad and Tobago scholar, moved to Kenya four years ago where he worked as a research economist at Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Kenya and as a consultant with the World Bank.
He was with friends at the upscale Westgate shopping mall when Al Qaeda-linked militants attacked. Ramrattan and his friends scattered.
Ramrattan's mother, Parbatee, said her son's friends escaped the gunmen and ran out of the mall. "When they came out they tried to locate him, but he was not there. They called his cellphone and sent messages, but there was no answer. I understand that one of his friends received a text message from him some time later. He was hiding in a supermarket," she said.
His friends contacted Ramrattan's family in Trinidad that night with news that he was missing.
"My daughter, Rishma, was in contact with his friends through Facebook and email. We were watching the international news and checking online all night to get something, anything on what was going on," his mother said.
A Facebook page was immediately created by his friends seeking information on Ramrattan's whereabouts.
The Facebook page, "Where is Ravi?", was viewed by thousands of people in countries across the world, where Ramrattan had made an indelible mark.
A friend wrote, "Please be reassured that his friends inside and outside the city have been coordinating this search since yesterday afternoon. The local hospitals were checked, all the registries were filled in with his name, and we had people waiting for him near the mall until late last night. Keep praying."
Another friend wrote that he was on his cellphone with Ramrattan when the shooting started.
Ramrattan's family was contacted with the tragic news of his passing on Sunday night.
"I was still hoping that I would see him running out of that smoke. I was hoping I will be able to hug my son again and tell him how much I love him. He was an amazing person, loved by everyone. I was truly blessed to have a son like Ravi. He loved Kenya and his work there. I am devastated by his death," his mother said.
Ramrattan, who turned 30 earlier this month, was a past pupil of Presentation College, Chaguanas, and winner of the President medal gold in 2002. He studied at the universities of London, Oxford and Cambridge.
Andrew Ritchie, director at Goodenough College in London, said, "Ravi was a member of the College from 2008-2010 while studying at LSE for an MSc in Econometrics and Mathematical Economics. Prior to that he studied Mathematics at Cambridge and completed an MSc in Financial Economics at Oxford. His home country was Trinidad & Tobago but he was truly a global citizen. Ravi made an immediate impact on his arrival at London House and was a great contributor to College life. He captained the squash team and organised our annual celebrations of Diwali and New Year, gently but firmly encouraging others to participate in College events. He will always be remembered for his friendly nature and willingness to help others."
Ramrattan left London to work for Innovations in Poverty Action in the town of Mumias in Kenya. He worked with the Grameen Foundation in Uganda and the World Bank in Tanzania before returning to Kenya as a research economist and Head of the Centre for Branchless Banking in Nairobi.
Ramrattan was remembered at memorial services at his home in Kenya, Washington DC, San Francisco, Boston, New York, Chicago and London among other cities.
His mother said the Trinidad and Tobago Consulate in Nigeria was working to have Ramrattan's body flown to Trinidad. "I spoke with them this morning and there is still no confirmation as to when the body would come home. We are hoping it will be soon," she said.
FSD Kenya is assisting with expenses to have Ramrattan's body returned to Trinidad.
United States, British and Israeli agencies were helping Kenya investigate the attack yesterday, where at least 72 people were killed and part of the complex destroyed.
After a four-day siege, President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Tuesday troops had defeated the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab group that targeted the shopping centre. He declared three days of mourning.
The militants stormed the mall, known for its Western shops, in a hail of gunfire and grenades around midday on Saturday. The attack ended on Tuesday when Kenyan troops detonated explosives to get through locked doors inside the mall as they searched for militants.
(from the Multimedia Desk)