Kenyan MP Returns to Aurangabad After 30 Years to Pay Debt

Kenya MP Returns to Aurangabad After 30 Years to Pay Debt
Richard Tongi group photo with Gawli's family

Some three decades back, when Kenyan resident Richard Tongi was studying management in a college in Aurangabad, he didn’t have much money to go around. A local grocer, Kashinath Gawli, used to help him out now and then.

When Tongi returned to Kenya, he still owed Gawli Rs. 200. Flash forward to 2019 and the debt stands repaid. Tongi now a parliamentarian in Kenya, visited the Gawlis on Monday, and the two had a poignant reunion.

Septuagenarian Kashinath Gawli was overwhelmed with emotion as he found an MP from Kenya at his doorstep in Aurangabad, returning to the historic city after 30 years, just to repay a debt of Rs 200.

MP Tongi, who holds a degree in management from Maulana Azad College in Aurangabad, is the deputy head of the Committee on Defense and External Affairs in the Kenyan Parliament. Richard was a student of management studies at a local college in Aurangabad during 1985-89.

Richard Tongi, MP from the Nyaribari Chache constituency in far-off Kenya. He arrived in India a few days back as part of a Kenyan delegation that met Prime Minister Narendra Modi. After the meeting, he decided to fly to Aurangabad to look for ‘Kashinath Kaka’ from his college days.

Back then, Tongi used to stay by himself. He would shop for groceries at Gawli’s store in Wankhede Nagar, a popular haunt for foreign students at the time. It was Gawli who had helped him find a place to stay.

After finishing his course, Tongi returned home and got busy with the rough and tumble of politics. The two did not keep in touch for the 30 years that followed. So when Tongi and his wife, Michelle, landed in Aurangabad, they had to search for two days before they landed at Gawli’s doorstep.

As the two finally met on Monday, Gawli took a while to recognize him. “I couldn’t remember him at first but when he told me about the money, I was left in tears. His honesty has touched me.”

Tongi broke into tears, saying he had waited a long while for this moment. Old tales were relived, and the debt was repaid. “Kaka helped me then and I am truly indebted to him. I was thinking of ways of returning all his favors.

I made up my mind to meet him. “Indians have taught me to be honest,” said Tongi. Michelle said: “Richard had mentioned the Gawli family many times and I am happy to meet them now. There are many good people in this country,” she said.

Gawli, who now owns a four-story house and a bigger store, received Tongi as warmly as ever. His family gifted him a traditional cap and his wife a sari and treated them to a feast.

“God bless the old man (Gawli) and his children. They were wonderful to me,” he said.

Before leaving Aurangabad, the Kenyan MP invited Gawli Kaka.

He gifted Euros worth Rs. 19,000 to Gawli’s children. This is real Humility. Humility at its best.

This is inspiring Mheshimiwa. We should always remember those who helped us at one point in life when we were down. So touched by this emotional journey.

There’s some inner peace that comes when you clear a debt no matter how small.

This is wonderful it’s only those who have humility and have God’s fear in them. May the lord expand your territories Mheshimiwa.

Respected Hon. Richard Tongi, that’s honestly a brilliant move to go in person to India to pay the debt of 200 rupees. No wonder they say, do not forget where you have come from, I’m sure the old man must have been overjoyed.

we are greatly impressed by your excellent diplomacy and positive relationship-building skills to make this world a better place. 


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