David Zarembka

May 6, 1943 - April 1, 2021

Biography


David Zarembka, originally from Clayton, MO, died on April 1, 2021 in Eldoret, Kenya, after being hospitalized for COVID-19. David was born May 6, 1943 to the late Richard Zarembka and the late Helen Jane Colvin Zarembka. David graduated from Clayton High School in 1961 before enrolling at Harvard University.  In 1964, after his junior year in college, he took a year off to teach Rwandan refugees in western Tanzania.  He then returned to Harvard and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in African History in 1966. 


After graduation, he joined the Peace Corps, serving in Tanzania and Kenya for two years. David then became the founding Head of the Mua Hills Harambee Secondary School in Machakos District, Kenya. He married Rodah Wayua Malinda in 1969 and returned to the United States in 1971, where he received his Masters of Arts in International and Development Education from the University of Pittsburgh. David and Rodah had two children, Joy and Tommy Zarembka, while living in Pittsburgh, PA. They joined the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and became active members of the Pittsburgh Friends Meeting. David founded a number of organizations, including an alternative high school, a retail food co-op, a wholesale food co-op, and a housing co-op.


In the late 1980s, David moved to Yellow Springs, OH, and later the Washington, DC area. He pursued his humanitarian mission for peace and social concerns, doing home repairs to finance his dreams. He joined the Bethesda Friends Meeting and, in 1996, unofficially adopted Douglas Kebengwa. In 1998, David founded the African Great Lakes Initiative (AGLI) of the Friends Peace Teams, an organization dedicated to peacemaking activities in Eastern and Central Africa. Through AGLI, he introduced the Alternative to Violence Project and helped develop the Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities (HROC) program in Rwanda, Burundi, the Congo, and Kenya. 


David was remarried in 1999 to Gladys Kamonya and moved back to St. Louis to be closer to his ailing mother. In 2007, they moved to Lumakanda in western Kenya to continue his social justice and peace work, which inspired his book “A Peace of Africa”, published in 2011. They became members of the Lumakanda Friends Church. David was instrumental in initiating the Friends Women's Association Kamenge Clinic in Bujumbura, Burundi, an orphans program and technical school in Bududa, Uganda, and a summer work camp program in the region. He also spearheaded Quaker speaking tours throughout Europe, Africa, and the Americas for African peace experts. He was the editor of the AGLI publication, “PeaceWays AGLI” from 1998-2015 and subsequently continued the work through “Reports from Africa” series and numerous journal publications.


Those left to cherish and honor his loving memory include: first wife, Rodah Wayua (Mua Hills, Kenya); daughter Joy Mutanu Zarembka (Washington, DC), son Tommy Mutinda Zarembka (Gaithersburg, MD), and son Douglas Kebengwa (Hyattsville, MD); his grandchildren Naomi, Matias and Jayla Zarembka in the USA; his extended family of grandchildren in Kenya; his siblings Paul Zarembka (Buffalo, NY), Elaine Belmaker (Modiin, Israel), Arlene Zarembka (University City, MO), Michiko Shimizu (Tokyo, Japan); and in-laws, nieces, nephews, and cousins in the USA, Kenya, Israel, and Japan. In loving memory, we honor his second wife of 21 years, Gladys Kamonya (Lumakanda, Kenya) who succumbed to COVID-19 a week prior to David’s death.


In lieu of flowers, please donate to these organizations that David held so dear:


Transforming Community for Social Change (Kenya); Friends Women’s Association (Burundi); Innovations in Peacemaking (Burundi); and Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities (Rwanda).


David’s heart was always in Africa. With a burial service on April 7th, his body was laid to rest in Kenya. A virtual memorial service will be held by the Bethesda Friends Meeting of Baltimore Yearly Meeting on April 24, 2021. A memorial service celebrating Gladys and David will be held by the St. Louis Friends Meeting on May 8, 2021 to celebrate their life and love. An in-person memorial service by the Lumakanda Friends Church of Lugari Yearly Meeting is planned for 2022, on the anniversary of David’s and Gladys’ passing. 


Thank you for all the inquiries to donate to the Zarembka-Kamonya Peace Fund to continue their legacy and work in Africa. Here is a link for donations: gf.me/u/zq8rnu


David Zarembka's Obituary in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/stltoday/name/david-zarembka-obituary?pid=198313549

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Family

About

Name David Zarembka
Date of Death April 1st, 2021
Home Town St. Louis, MO, US 
Other City Kakamega, Kakamega County, KE 
Interests Peace & Reconciliation, War Tax Resistance, Social Justice, Anti-Racism Work, Conflict Resolution
In Memoriam Donation The Zarembka-Kamonya Peace Fund
Cemetery

Memorial

Funeral Home Lumakanda Friends Church
Family

Family

ParentsRichard Zarembka, Helen Jane Colvin Zarembka
Grand-ParentsFrank Zarembka, Ernest Colvin, Lottie Zarembka, Frances Colvin
Milestone

Milestones

1961 Clayton High School, High School Degree
1966 Havard University, Bachelor's Degree
1967 Peace Corp (Tanzania/Kenya)
1969 Founder of School, Mua Hills Secondary School
1969 Marriage - Rodah Wayua
1971 University of Pittsburgh, Master's Degree
1971 Joins Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
1972 Birth of Daughter, Joy Mutanu Zarembka
1973 Birth of Son, Tommy Mutinda Zarembka
1986 Moves to Yellow Springs, Ohio
1988 Moves to Bethesda, Maryland
1996 Adopts Son, Douglas Kebengwa
1998 Founder of African Great Lakes Initiative
1999 Marriage - Gladys Kamonya
2000 Cares for Mother, Helen Jane Zarembka
2007 Moves to Lumakanda, Kenya
2009 Renews Vows with Gladys Kamonya
2011 Publishes Book, A Peace of Africa
2015 Publishes "Reports from Africa" 1st Report
2021 Publishes "Reports from Africa" 645th and Final Report

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Tributes



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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

DOUGLAS MMBALA & BEVERLYNE MIDEVA (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

If someone were to ask us the best example of love, the best answer would be you, Dad. You have shown us that love is not just a mere word, but it's made up of a multitude of unknown actions. You did love us unconditionally, and you were always there for us whenever we needed you the most, be it when we were young or even adults. We will miss you, papa, once a peacemaker, always a peacemaker. You will forever be in our hearts and minds. Rest in your nirvana. Your son & daughter.

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Chrissie Hinde (Sheffield Uk) published a comment .

Dave you lived adventurously, and lived life to the full. I admire you for that. You didn't take the easy road, you took the one that was true to you, and you encouraged and supported others along the way. I like that you had great drive,purpose and made things happen. Your commitment to your life's work was strongly embedded in your love of your family and adopted communities. You took them with you in your advertures and had a fierce love and protectiveness of them, and were a powerful ally and friend. I think Africa.. great lakes was like a very strong magnet pulling at your heart strings. You made your home there and I love that you have been laid to rest there alongside Gladys under your mango tree. Covid cut your adventures short, but the impact of your life is huge and you live on in the lives of all whose lives you touched. Those fires you lit will continue to burn brightly and that's the best tribute to you. Your life showed what is possible, your noble peace maker spirit lives on. I'm very glad to have met you, Gladys and Joy. To all who are struggling with the huge loss of you, because you gave them so much... my heart goes out to them. May God wrap them tightly in his/her love until the loss becomes bearable. You can't be replaced... you are such a unique soul. Thank you for your life and all you shared with us!

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Peter Serete published a tribute .

Tributes From Peter Serete
I have known Dav for the last 18 years. He was my boss for 13 years in Peace work in the Greatlakes Region we used to call him ‘Boss’, not only in the workplace, but wherever we met, and some of my colleagues refereed to him as ‘Daddy’. My colleagues will agree with me that Zarembka was humble, peaceful, compassionate, kind and merciful. We felt comfortable, equal, and had a very good relationship with him, and he had confidence in us. We were always ready to go the extra mile when he called, especially in times of emergency in our workplace both in Kenya and other countries. He was always available and loved to get things done in a right way. He always believed in us and would call on us anytime to address issues concerning our peace work.
There is no any single day we heard him talk about politics as he believed in fairness and equity. Whenever there was a conflict he had to deal with it. After his retirement from A.G.L.I he remained active and willing to help out as usual, on H.R.O.C International and Global Giving. But those days are gone, gone but not forgotten. It’s really hard to accept sudden death like his,through Covid-19 related complications and we will never get accustomed to it. This is your time, Boss; ours will surely come. In everything, all we can say; God gives and takes, blessed be his Holy name.
In place of flowers, please donate to these organizations that he held so dear:
To make a tax deductible (US) or gift aid eligible (UK) donation through GlobalGiving,
For Transforming Community for Social Change (TCSC), click on goto.gg/31755
To donate to TCSC by M-pesa go to Pay Bill: 891300, Account: GG31755
For the Friends Women’s Association (FWA), click on goto.gg/31891
To support Helping Girls and Young Women in Bujumbura Slum, click on goto.gg/38276.
To support Building FWA’s Maternity Ward, click on goto.gg/32980
For Innovations in Peacemaking – Burundi (IPB), click on goto.gg/49443
For HROC Center in Rwanda, click on goto.gg/44648.

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Marian Liebmann published a comment .

I hosted David when he came to Bristol and helped him find an audience to talk to and fundraise. Later he helped me access the International HROC Course so that I could experience it for myself in Rwanda and learn about its benefits and potential. Naturally I subscribed to his weekly Reports and always found them full of insights from Kenyan and African society that gave me pause for thought about European ways. He was like the hub of a wheel of spokes for East African peace-building. I will miss him a lot.

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Kevin King published a tribute .

From 2007 - 2009, I'd read David's weekly missive (email) from his work with Friends Peace Teams and the African Great Lakes Initiative. I became convinced of a couple of things either from his writings or spurred by him. They were becoming a Quaker in 2010, and becoming an Alternatives to Violence Project facilitator in 2016. David, I owe the direction of my mission to your work and your writing. Thank you.

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Jane Goldthwait published a tribute .

It was wonderful to have David and Gladys spend the night at my house in Celo, NC, when they spoke to Celo Friends Meeting.

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Dennis Warner, Pax Christi Metro Dc And Baltimore published a tribute .

David Zarembka was a true peacemaker. His entire life demonstrated his passion for social justice and his love for Africa and her peoples. His concern for the improvement of the lives of people in the countries of East Africa stand as a model for what can be done by one person working in close harmony with other dedicated individuals. Through his efforts he brought the peoples of Africa and America closer together. I wish I had known David better. We all have benefited from his life.

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Robin Vestal published a tribute .

I met David and Gladys at Friends Meeting. Such wonderful people! They taught us to reject racism and their lives were a testimony to peace

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

MARY GILBERT, ARLINGTON, MASSACHUSETTS, USA (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

Using his regular reports as a base, I engaged in a correspondence with David for some years. I never wrote to him without receiving a prompt, intelligent, well-thought-out, warm, and kindly reply. I'm sure I'm not the only person for whom that is true. David and I never met, but I feel that he has become a friend, and I am bereft. Thank you for giving me/us all the chance to speak like this.

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Joyce Holwerda published a comment .

I feel the same way. My only relationship was through his writing. Sometimes I sent him a note and he always replied in a way that made me feel worthwhile. That was a real gift. I also feel bereft. Puzzling in that our contact was so slight.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

TOMMY ZAREMBKA, SON OF DAVID ZAREMBKA (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

In life’s plan, I knew this day will one day happen. If life goes right, the children bury their parents. What I did not expect was how soon I had to do this with my father and the circumstances. Less than a month ago, he was excited about the kitchen renovation and living a good life. Today we are here.

A profound sadness forms inside me when I think of these last few weeks. What comforts me is reflecting beyond his final days and appreciating his entire life. There are many things I want to share with you, however, I will only share two:

First, my father was a man of faith. He was a Friend. I loved living with Dad after college and there were only a few Sundays that he was not at Meeting. I remember he looked forward to Sundays and would happily prepare fruit salad with yogurt to share after the service.

The Quaker my father admired the most was George Fox, one of the founders of Quakerism. Fox often said that when he wanted to find out about something, he just went. My father also lived by this philosophy. Like George Fox, he believed being present and witnessing is one of the most important things a person can do. As we all know, he has been to many places and has made a lasting impact on so many people’s lives. His Quaker faith led him to live a very full life.

Second, along a similar vein, my father loved to travel. I can’t count how many times he packed his bags and was off to Burundi, Rwanda, Israeli or Michigan. The amount of kilometers we drove in the United States when I was young must have been in the ten of thousands. For example, when my father and I dropped my oldest sister, Joy, off at college, we decided to drive up the road. That drive turned into a two-week adventure to Canada that covered over 2,000 kilometers.

Every Christmas, we would drive twelve hours from Pittsburgh, PA to St. Louis, MO. I will always cherish the memories of looking out the window to see the Gateway Arch in St. Louis or watch our hometown of Pittsburgh explode into view as we exited the Fort Pitt tunnel. While driving for hours in our car, my dad was able to share what he believed about the world. These conversations helped shape the person I am today. I am grateful for my journey with my father.

Now, our journey together has ended. Although it ended too soon, the memories and his legacy will endure.

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David Niyonzima published a comment .

David Zarembka entered into Burundi as a response to my invitation in 1999. I was then the Burundi Friends Yearly Meeting General Superintendent. I asked Zarembka to help organize a joint youth work camp in which both Burundi Friends and USA Friends participated. The cross-cultural work camp multipurpose building was fully funded by Zarembka's fundraising efforts and was erected at the Kamenge Friends Church in Bujumbura Burundi. Later on, many other memorable programs to make a difference and empower the communities of Burundi were initiated and supported by him. David Zarembka's legacy and memories will remain.

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Robert Randall published a tribute .

David did so many great things in his life. I knew him as a founder and, for many years, the treasurer of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC), an organization for those unable, due to conscience, to pay U.S. federal income taxes because that money pays for war. This is one more way in which David was a peacemaker with his whole life. The loss of David and his wife to COVID-19 brings home to me more than has anything else the cost of this pandemic. I am so glad now that we were able to spend time again with David at our NWTRCC meeting in Washington, DC, in May of 2019.

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Cassie Nzo published a comment .

With his compassionate love, David’s actions healed as many souls as he could; when his mission was accomplished he went home. I am grateful for his work on a personal level, for the support he gave my family and the Burundi Community. He will be missed!

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

ILANA ELAINE BELMAKER, SISTER OF DAVID ZAREMBKA

I have just finished reading all the many tributes to David. As one of his younger sisters, I learned so much about him from the tributes that I did not know previously. We grew up as siblings, playing the usual games that siblings play together, enjoying family trips and family holidays, with no idea of how our paths would develop in the future.

Our paths diverged after college. My husband and I went to medical school and finished residency training in the US before moving to Israel, where we have lived ever since, while David's path took him to Kenya. We saw each other intermittently over the years during family trips back to the States. David took our kids on hikes through our favorite areas of Missouri (the Elephant Rocks, Johnson's Shut-ins, Taum Sauk Mountain). He came to Israel in 1985 to take care of our children when Bob had an important professional meeting abroad, to which I was also invited, and our young children needed someone we could trust to take care of them while we were abroad for two weeks. We also had a memorable family picnic together in St. Louis in 1989, a picnic with all four Zarembka siblings (Paul, David, Elaine and Arlene), our parents, our Aunt Eleanor and several first cousins as well as spouses and children. That was the occasion in which I remember David best as a happy, relaxed person, basking in the warm family atmosphere.

I followed David's career working towards peace and reconciliation in East Africa, primarily through his weekly articles in the series PeaceWays AGLI and Reports from Kenya. We were overjoyed when David and his wife Gladys visited us for two weeks in Israel in 2015. On that trip we visited many different Israel-Palestine peace groups during which David presented the work he was doing in Africa, allowing me to learn more about the truly remarkable work he was doing in Africa, as well as sharing with him our experiences with programs in Israel working towards Israel-Palestine peace and reconciliation with which we had personal involvement.

On a more personal note, David and Gladys proudly told us about the grandchildren they were raising in Kenya. Both of them glowed with joy and love as they shared with us pictures and stories about their grandchildren in Kenya.

Reading through tributes that others have posted, I am struck by how many called David "Dad", "Papa", "Grandpa", "Uncle", or "Mzee", all signs of their great love and respect for David. He was a great and loving father and grandfather to so many! It was an aspect of his life that I appreciated when David and Gladys visited us in Israel and when we met David with his children, Joy and Tommy, and their children, his grandchildren, during our trips to the States.

The untimely deaths of David and Gladys are a huge loss for all those whose lives they touched.

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Fidelis Mutinda published a tribute .

Papa we loved you .. Your memories will forever remain in our heart..koma nesa

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Joshua K Benson published a comment .

Uncle i loved RIP!!

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Marian K. Baker published a comment .

I really miss David and Gladys. David started working in East Africa, just two years before me. While he was in Tanzania with Peace Corps, I started working with East Africa YM of Friends teaching at Lirhanda, Malava, and Namirama Girls High Schools for ten years. I have been returning to Kenya each year ever since, working in supporting Kenyan women friends pastors to help women in Uganda and Tanzania. We have shared many journeys, conferences, and times together over the last 50 years. It was a shock to hear of first Gladys and then David dying of Covid.
I really admired David's humility, his encouragement of lifting up East Africans to do peacework. We shared the concern that those of us from America should help East Africans to use the resources they have and lift themselves up using their own talent and natural resources and not depend on people from elsewhere to solve all issues. Also to work cooperatively with others, rather than competing, for the good of all people. He did an excellent job of sending updates to a large number of people overseas, helping all people who were not in Kenya see what was going on in the local villages, rather than just the news printed in official newspapers or websites. I last saw David when he came in his pickup with several grandchildren to collect the package of things I delivered from the States. He seemed so cheerful and upbeat. My prayers are with you all as you adjust to this terrible unexpected loss. Thanks God, for David and Gladys and all they did over the years to make this world more peaceful. Marian Baker, New England YM

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Eugine Micah( Roylandz Grandson To David Zarembka) published a comment .

I am because he was. I've had the privilege to interact with Grandpa David zarembka on a daily basis, be it on phone or mail. One of the greatest things that I can remember about him is when I was in my second year of high school education, my dad failed to pay my school fees due to poverty and other uknoen issues. I approached grandpa and we had a meeting with him for one full day. From that day to date he has been paying my school fees be it in highschool and college, he has also been paying my rent, food and clothing. I'm really lost right now, even though before he was admitted in hospital he called me to tell me that he suspected that he had been infected with Covid-19 and he didn't think that he was going to make it. I am now in total distress, I don't know what to do where to run for help etc.
It's me and my brother Danson, Grandpa used to call him Danny

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Elie Nahimana published a comment .

I met David Zarembka for the first time in 1999 when the Friends Peace Teams formed the “African Great Lakes Initiative (AGLI/FPT) to be supportive of peace work undertaken by Quakers living in the Great Lakes region of East Africa as a way of responding to the consequences of the brutal history of colonization, civil war, ethnic hatreds, and genocide mainly in Burundi, Rwanda.
In 1999, I co-led the first work camp along with Adrian Bishop organized in Kamenge and Kibimba, two localities total destroyed by the 1993 civil war.
The work camp aims at rebuilding the community by bringing Quakers mainly from America to come in and contribute in rebuilding confidence between Burundians living separately following the 1993 civil war by dealing with its consequences.
The AGLI’s second work camp in Burundi, was conducted in 2003, with the objective to work with the Kibimba Peace Committee (founded in 1994) to build houses for families whose homes had been destroyed during the civil crisis between 1993.

The house building encouraged families to return to their home and lands, and to resume the usual life of the community. It also reinforced the many- faceted program of involving people from all ethnicities to work together to rebuild their lives and the life of the community of Kibimba, and the surrounding collines.

With no time during war or genocide to adequately mourn lost family, Dave’s coordination became an inspiration to different groups of Quakers (women, youth and others) to initiate different peace organization dealing with Trauma, Social cohesion and economic resilience for women and youth for the community wellbeing.
In 2016 with HROC and IPB organizations, it’s where, I got opportunities to discover who David Zarembka was in matter of Peace building self-commitment for the Great Lakes Region. Travelling by bus from Kenya to Burundi at his age. How hard he was working to coordinate so many program in this region.
Following the 2015 election crisis, Dave Zarembka, invested himself in fundraising a considerable fund for peace dialogue workshops in Bujumbura. A project that showed what is the importance of peace dialogue in seeking to reconcile identity groups.
I learnt from him the fundraising tools during the Speaking tour I participated in different States of USA and in Global Giving fund collection.
I wish to him and his wife a heavenly rest and acknowledge his contribution in my current way of dealing with peace activities

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

PATRICIA KALUKI, NIECE OF DAVID ZAREMBKA (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

I had the pleasure to meet with my uncle at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, either departing to the U.S. or jetting back to Kenya on several occasions, either to send him with gifts for the family U.S. or to receive gifts from them through him, memories that I will treasure forever. We were determined to see you back on foot again, but God called you home. Rest in eternal peace.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

JOY ZAREMBKA, DAUGHTER OF DAVID ZAREMBKA (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

I am because he was. As a child, I was mesmerized by my father. In my eyes, he could fix anything, figure out anything, and explain everything. In turn, he taught me to believe I could do and be anything and everything.

My father lived with a radical idea that everyone is equal, a lesson he learned from his mother. No one person was better than another, especially based on superficial things like gender, race, age or class. Everyone is a human being who deserves respect. My dad was one of the few people who truly lived his philosophy. For example, there was nothing I was not allowed to do because I was a girl. Because of her gender, my mother missed some of her early educational opportunities and had to put herself through school later. Because of that, my father was determined to make sure I received all of the knowledge and wisdom he had to impart. He patiently answered all of my questions and always had time for me, issues big or small. He seldom got upset but instead explained in kind words why he disapproved of my actions. He rarely said, “No” but always advised me to weigh the pros and cons of various situations. This gentle guidance empowered me to travel the world and take calculated risks that enriched my life. Whether teaching me to hit a baseball or editing my book for the 5th time over, he always made me feel loved and nurtured into greatness. Without him, I feel lost and alone. But, because of him, I know I will find my power again.

Recently, my brother posed a question, “Besides Joy and me, what achievements are you most proud of and why?” and my father wrote, in part: “My greatest achievement is being true to myself. I have observed life and how people and societies live. I still find this most interesting. I have never felt trapped in life. I never joined the “rat race” even when I had the so-called qualifications to do so. I feel I live a life of integrity.”

My father lived in a space of love. He was the most unique human being I have ever met. I almost feel guilty that I had the great honor of being his daughter. He was my biggest cheerleader. He was my confidant. He was my everything. I am because he was.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

DOUGLAS KEBENGWA, SON OF DAVID ZAREMBKA (USA) (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

I believe David Zarembka was an angel among men. We all know his selfless life work but for me personally, he literally saved my life. I cannot imagine where I would be or if I would be at all. I was a kid with no place to go and no home and God sent an angel named David who sprang up and rescued me without caring about anyone or anything. Thinking back I cannot imagine anyone else doing it. Nobody else had the care and fearlessness he had. I cannot believe he is gone. I am in disbelief. The world still needed him. How can he be gone? I thought I had more time to tell him thank you. I thought I had more time to tell him that he was the greatest person I know. It is unfair that he is gone so young and before we ever got to take care of him in his old age.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

JAYLA ZAREMBKA, GRANDDAUGHTER OF DAVID ZAREMBKA (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

My grandpa used to send me emails of inspiration and encouragement. His emails made me smile. He would send me beautiful poems and ask me questions about my life. I will miss opening the computer and seeing an email from my grandpa.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

RODAH ZAREMBKA, FIRST WIFE OF DAVID ZAREMBKA (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

David, in true Quaker spirit, saw the Light in everyone. He welcomed everyone around him. He welcomed everyone into the house - for a meal, for a conversation, for advice, for a place to rest. He also wholeheartedly believed in forgiveness. He believed everything could be solved through talking. He was good friends to everyone. I am glad we had a family together. He helped Joy and Tommy, two young people be themselves; not many fathers connect with their children from when they are little and even when they are grown-ups.

He left the world a better place than when he was born. He has changed so many people's lives for the better. He has done more for peace than anyone I know. Whenever I had a question I had someone to call who would advise me from his heart. After our divorce, we continued a friendship after all these many years and I also became friends with Gladys. We cooked and talked together. How many people do that type of thing? It was a true blessing of friendship.

He was there for everyone, even up to the last minute. He was an educator, an activist, a peacemaker, an innovator, a father. I shall miss him. I shall miss him but he has done his job. Let him rest in peace.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

ROGER DES FORGES, HUSBAND OF THE LATE ALISON DES FORGES, HARVARD CLASSMATE AND HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH ACTIVIST (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

David was part of an extraordinary family whose members were all distinctive in their various ways. Like Alison, David put his great intellect and warm empathy at the service to the peoples of central Africa well before, during, and after the Rwandan genocide. Inspired by the ideals of the Quaker faith and the American civil rights movement, David worked tirelessly to try to mitigate and heal divisions among individuals, peoples, and states in east Africa, and he made major contributions to programs to promote peace and justice in Rwanda, Burundi, and Kenya, among other countries. The passing of David and Gladys has left major holes in the fabric of human rights in Africa, and it will be deeply mourned by the tens of thousands of folks whose lives were touched and shaped by them.

Please accept my heartfelt condolences to his entire family and extend them to Joy and Tommy who were so fortunate to have such a loving and supportive father. May you all know that we will think of you every day and may you all find strength in those who remain.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

LAURA SHIPLER CHICO, AGLI VOLUNTEER, STORYTELLER, ACTRESS (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

I remember David Zarembka sitting with us in our living room in Rwanda, telling us a story about a peace-building initiative. I don’t remember the story, but I remember that in the middle he stopped – and it took me a moment to notice that this gruff, straight-speaking, no-nonsense, rough-around-the-edges man was crying. He was so moved by this story of people he did not personally know, of events that had no direct impact on his life. This simple story of people coming together against all odds was so moving to him that he stopped and wept.

Dave was an unflinching warrior for peace. He had a talent for spotting promising peacebuilders, for drawing out our strengths, for demanding the best of each of us. Every dollar he raised went directly for what he promised it would go to. He had no patience for inflated costs and this made the work he supported some of the leanest and most effective use of money I’ve ever seen.

And he was a storyteller – he knew how to bring to life the transformative peace work that was happening in East and Central Africa for people in the United States, the UK and elsewhere. Over the years this storytelling – his own and his talent for drawing out the stories from others – connected people across great distances and differences, and built a movement of ordinary people who have, from afar, followed the work of AVP, of HROC, and more – who know what incredible work has been happening quietly here for 20 years and who have wanted to support it.

Dave never minced words, he did not have time for diplomacy. With Dave, you always knew where you stood – and this is a rare quality in this world. I know I am not alone when I say I am deeply indebted to David Zarembka -- he profoundly influenced my life trajectory – not only in where I have lived and the work I have done, but also in how I see peacebuilding and tell stories. I miss him – even more than I expected to. All we can do now is carry your testimony forward. Rest in peace, Dave. And thank you.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

MARTIN KELLY, SENIOR EDITOR OF THE FRIENDS JOURNAL From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

I’m so very sad to hear of the deaths this week of Gladys Kamonya and David Zarembka. I know Gladys only through her outsized reputation but David I knew starting in the 1990s as part of the U.S. war tax resistance movement. He was always a steady presence there, acting as the national group’s treasurer and adult-in-the-room for younger activists like me.In recent years I’ve known him as a steady Friends Journal contributor, writing features and many (many!) Forum letters—he was always quick to email to tell us when an article unconsciously assumed a U.S. perspective! He was a selfless networker, always trying to build bridges between different branches of Friends. Friends Journal’s October 2019 issue on “Friends in Africa” was groundbreaking for us. Historically, U.S. unprogrammed Friends have tended to dismiss African Friends for reasons of theology, history—and surely race. It felt healing to invite those voices into the magazine; some of those relationships have continued in subsequent issues. But that 2019 issue would not have been as far-ranging had it not been for David’s work sharing the call for submissions and encouraging and advising authors.

As I edit articles nowadays, I sometimes hear a voice ask “what kind of email will David Zarembka write me if I don’t contextualize this author’s statement?” It’s kind of hard to believe I won’t be seeing him pop up in my inbox again. I’m sure there are so many more David and Gladys stories to be shared. I only knew one small corner of their ministries but I can honestly attest that I am a better person for it. He was passionate about peacemaking and about letting U.S. Friends know just how much amazing work was happening in East Africa. Rest in peace and God bless, Gladys and David.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

ROGERS WAMBIA, PRESIDING CLERK LUGARI YEARLY MEETING (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

David was a humble and committed servant of God. He renovated the general superintendent's house through his service to God, renovated the peace house, put up a new toilet, renovated and roofed the current greenhouse, and carried all the plumbing work F.T.C. Lugari, bought the water tank being used today at the center. The Lugari Yearly Meeting Church and family will miss you dearly. We have lost a committed servant of God. May your soul rest in peace.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

DUNCAN, AUDREY, RYAN, KELLY, TALIA & TANIA (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

Tears we shed, no words to express our feelings. We loved the sunshine in your smile and your kind heart. You were a father, a grandfather, and a wonderful husband to late mum Gladys Kamonya. You had a homely touch, wonderful greetings, a writer, a reader, a peacemaker, clean in heart, body, and mind. You have left the world better than you found it. We will get it hard to cope with: your empty office, an empty chair, and broken heart due to the double tragedy; losing you and mum in 7 days. May God grant you eternal peace.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

BETTY ATIENO (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

I first heard about David Zarembka in 2003 when he first brought AVP to Kenya through F.P.C.D. I was privileged to be among the pioneers of the program as one of the trainers in Kakamega. The program picked and spread so fast in Kenya because Dave was determined to see Kenyans recognize and deal with personal conflicts as they create a peace movement throughout the country. As you lay at the feet of Christ, rest assured that the peace lamp I'm carrying today is as a result of the seed you planted yesterday with many opportunities you offered me internationally through your strong resource mobilization capacity. May you shine on your way, Dave; forever, we shall live to cherish your work in our lives.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

HERZON MASITSA (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

I looked at my emails just to realize that David sent out an email on March 15th, 2021, his usual of connecting with his network of F/friends. This is the same David we are eulogizing! It looks paradoxical but perhaps befitting for David. Old in age but young at energetic at work; tough speaking but so humble when you engage one-on-one; sometimes dismissive and vulnerable and even shedding tears in front of people. David was a mover of things, Mr. "Fix it," as they call it politics. All you needed is to convince him to buy your idea, and he will run with it and mobilize for support to the very end. This spirit inspired the AVP and H.R.O.C. movement, with humble beginnings in the Great Lakes Region. He was that unique driver who steered from the back, nurturing and mentoring individuals and teams to flourish. David and Gladys were so warm and courteous. Their doors were wide open to anybody, be it in Lumakanda or U.S.A. In the U.S.A., they served as contacts persons for many and oriented most of us. During my first visit to the U.S.A, David received me and drove me around, introducing me to F/friends, relatives, and Meetings. David, you have departed physically but never from our memories. Your footprints are too huge, too significant, and too visible to many. R.I.P. D.Z.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

PETER MAJI NIGERIA (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

When I heard about your wife Gladys' demise, your thought came to me, and I worried about you. I thought it would be difficult for you there without Gladys, but I never imagined death. I did not think you will follow just two days after her burial. I remember fondly the time we spent together in my house in Kaduna, Nigeria, and our travels around the country when you came to talk about H.R.O.C. I still remember you and Gladys' invitation for me to come and visit with you; it never happened. You have impacted David, and your name is already written on the sand of time. Your legacies will live on, David. Adieu, David Zarembka.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

EILEEN FLANANG (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

David was one of the first Friends I connected with when I started attending the Bethesda Meeting as a young adult. We initially connected over our shared love of Africa. In recent years, he has often sent an encouraging or appreciative message in response to my newsletter. (I think I only got corrected once:) So sad to hear of his and Gladys' loss. It seems fitting to point out that the U.S. has made it harder for other countries to get the vaccine.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

PAMELA HAINES (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

I am feeling the loss of David Zarembka and his wife, Gladys, deeply. I think of their role in their immediate community and extended family and know how deeply many people will feel their loss. Moreover, I think of all that David did over the years to build up the capacity for peace-making on the ground in East Africa. I celebrate all that he did for humanity which has been cut short. Furthermore, I give thanks to those who are following in his footsteps. With love!!

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

JUDY LAMB (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

David Zarembka funded and organized a fantastic Friends Peace Teams project, the African Great Lakes Initiative, and its successors. From responses to the violence after the 2007 Kenya election to women's health in Burundi, his work had an overall effect. As he recognized needs, he knew how to meet them. He found the right people, supported and encouraged them. You will be greatly missed.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

ZAKIA RASHID (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

David, as you transition towards another life up there, may your legacy down here live forever. Your service to humanity was felt within and outside Kenya, and the lives you touched will never be the same again! Our brief interaction in Eldoret, together with the entire PROJECT HURUMA team, indeed left an impact on all of us, and we will keep cherishing and emulating your work in the community! Be rest assured, P.P. and the team will keep the candle burning!! Rest in Peace, Zarembka

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

GETRY AGIZAH (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

It has been 18 years since I knew you, Dave. I was such a naive girl who had very minimal exposure. I trained in alternatives to violence and encouraged me to play a role in leadership. As a coordinator, you trusted me and had faith in me. Since my dad died when I was age 8, you have been my papa in Africa and Kenya. The so many trips, papa, it is because you knew I needed the opportunity to travel. My exposure in life, friends I have made locally, nationally, and internationally is because you believed in me and wanted the best for me. You have defended me, papa, vigorously and protected me. When culture speaks volumes, you proved to me you believe women have a voice and be counted. I have seen thou busy always working hard so that some of us can be busy. May the kingdom of God accept you and keep you until we meet again. Your memories will live with us always.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

DAVID ALBERT, CO-FOUNDER, FRIENDLY WATER FOR THE WORLD AND MEMBER, OLYMPIA FRIENDS MEETING (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

I'm 71. When I grow up, I want to be Dave Zarembka. (and I have felt that way for more than 30 years.) His one big idea is that development begins with people and ends with people, and that little is accomplished without peace. Thus, he set about, through his entire life and with his entire life, to prove it. Dave discovered his home everywhere, at once an outsider and an insider at the same time. He understood that we carry around our markers of race, religion, ethnicity, and tribe. However, beyond that, we are just people, working on getting on and getting along, which we accomplish best when leaving the markers behind. In this way, everywhere was his home, and if he had not been there – yet – it soon would be. Dave's commitment to the Quaker community worldwide is already well-known. What may be less known was his enthusiastic embrace of the Friends Ugandan Safe Transport, a Quaker-led effort to save the lives of Ugandan lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from lynching and murder. To him, the L.G.B.T.Q. the community was as another tribe, deserving of respect and Quaker compassion in their suffering. With Dave's passing, we have lost much. It is now time for the rest of us to grow into him and fill his shoes.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

CATHY FROM UGANDA (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

I first met Dave in 2016 at the Regional AVP Gathering in Kigali. Back then, we did not have much conversation save for greetings. In 2018, through Dave, I got a scholarship to attend the H.R.O.C. International Training. The training was one of those enriching experiences that helped me heal and understand myself better. After H.R.O.C. training, I got a couple of training opportunities through his connection. I'm forever grateful to Dave for having a big heart and interest in peacebuilding initiatives. May his soul rest in peace.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

PETER SERETE (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

I have known Dave for the last 18 years. He was my boss for 13 years in Peace work in the Great Lakes Region. We use to call him 'Boss,' not only in the workplace but also wherever we met. Some of my colleagues referred to him as 'Daddy.' My colleagues will agree with me that Zarembka was humble, peaceful, compassionate, kind, and merciful. We felt comfortable, equal, and had an excellent relationship with him, and he had confidence in us. We were always ready to go the extra mile when he called, especially in emergency times in our work both in Kenya and other countries. He was always available and loved to get things done in the right way. He always believed in us and would call on us anytime to address issues concerning our peace work. There is no single day we heard him talk about politics as he believed in fairness and equity. Whenever there was a conflict, he had to deal with it. After he retired from A.G.L.I, he remained active and willing to help out as usual on H.R.O.C International and Global Giving.

Nevertheless, those days are gone, gone but not forgotten. It is tough to accept sudden death like his through Covid-19 related complications, and we will never get accustomed to it. This is your time, boss; ours will surely come. In everything, all we can say; God gives and takes, blessed be his Holy name.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

SISTERS-IN-LAW JANET, JOSEPHINE, MARY & EUNICE (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

Dear David, we cannot forget the smile you always had whenever we visited you. We were always comfortable in your presence, especially when you visited us in our various homes. The love and joy were always evident you always had our back whenever we fell short of anything. We cannot hold back our tears whenever the think of your departure hits us. Rest in Peace, David.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

FRIENDS CHURCH - LUMAKANDA (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

Among the most challenging things that a church can get in this world is a loyal member. Honestly, David, you are one of the most treasured members that we have lost. We were very proud to be the only church with a mzungu while in Lumakanda and Lugari Yearly Meeting. Your contribution to the development of the church and other non-governmental programs will always be appreciated. Words cannot express the church's gratitude to the greatest peacemaker ever. We have lost a hero, a great one. You fought a good fight; you completed the race and kept the faith. Rest in eternal happiness.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

GRANDSONS EUGINE & DANSON (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

Grandpa, we still shudder whenever the thought of your demise springs into our tired and inquisitive minds. Where in this world shall we get another exquisite soul that loved us regardless, a soul that made sure that our eyes were not sore because of crying, a soul that made peace mandatory in our lives, a soul that listened to everything that we said or asked. Here we are beaten and pathetic; it is hard to control our tears; you have established our lives with knowledge and wisdom to conquer the ever-demanding world. Thank you for loving us, thank you for being the best grandpa ever. Rest in eternal tranquility and serenity.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

GRANDCHILDREN GRIFFIN, FAITH, BRIAN, JILLIAN, TRINAH, TRISTAN, BERYL, LUCIANA (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

Our grandpa, you were one in a trillion! You taught us how to co-relate effectively, you taught us different games, and you always answered all our curious questions. We cannot forget the movies that we watched together, the walks that we always had around Lumakanda town. These are the least among many that we can remember, but above all, you taught us how to love and how to make peace with everyone. We will miss you dearly. Rest in peace, our favorite grandpa.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

MUDAVADI (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

Mzee, I'm deeply saddened by your early departure. You were the most tolerant person that I have ever met. Always optimistic and never a pessimist. My pride lies in that face full of wisdom and knowledge. I still wonder how one person can be blessed with a great mind like yours. For our time in hospital, I had hopes that you will come back home healthy. But little did I know God had different plans. May you rest in eternal peace.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

CEDRIC (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

I will never forget your gentleness when it came to your orders. They would always encourage me to execute them with ease. I will miss you, Mzee; thank you for your kindness and love. May you rest with the angels.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

MALESI KINARO (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

There are many things I can say about David, but I choose only two. 1. David's fundraising strategy. He always likes to appeal to individuals rather than cooperations. If he believed in a project, he would take the Program head for a speaking tour to the U.S.A. He helped us at Friends in Peace and Community Development to buy land in this way. 2. He invited work campers to help build. The work campers had to raise funds for their stay as well as their work itself. This unique way of fundraising left asserts in Africa that imitated the method of the early Quaker missionaries. 3. He sourced for facilitators who came and taught various peace skills then fundraised for the peace programs. In these ways, David connected Quakers from America with African Quakers, and some have formed permanent friendships.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

JOE AND KATHY, USA (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

For my wife, Kathy, and I, it is impossible to think about David without thinking about his wife, Gladys. We first heard about the African Great Lakes Initiative of Friends Peace Teams at Sacramento Friends Meeting in the work A.G.L.I. was doing with AVP in Kenya and other countries in East Africa. When David visited Sacramento Meeting in about 2009, we were happy to host them in our home, although due to their busy schedule, we did not see too much of them.

After moving to Michigan, we heard about A.G.L.I.’s opportunities for volunteers to spend an extended time in Kenya. We expressed interest in going there to help facilitate Alternatives to Violence Project workshops. David responded by saying that they had plenty of local AVP facilitators, but they could help prevent violence during the upcoming national election.

That was a somewhat daunting prospect, but with the help of a clearness committee, we determined that we were led to do this, so in January 2013, we began three months of living with Dave, Gladys, and their household of various children and helpers. During the time we were there, several things became evident:

• David had a lifelong commitment to working for peace
• Gladys was fully supportive of his work, maintaining the household and small farm, and frequently accompanying him on his visits and travels
• David was committed to encouraging and empowering local leadership
• Those local leaders highly respected him
• He expected us to carry our weight in helping to teach voter education and volunteer training sessions, always under local leadership
• He had no qualms about carrying our work into places where unrest was possible while providing a safety net should that happen
• He was a man of firm convictions

When the Healing and Rebuilding our Communities (H.R.O.C.) program was developed in Rwanda, David and A.G.L.I. helped it spread to other parts of Africa. It is a gift from Africa to the rest of the world.

On a subsequent visit to Africa, a Burundian leader told me that the community had two main things to thank David for: teaching them about trauma and reviving the Quaker peace testimony. David Zarembka played a significant role in building peace in western Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda, mainly through the dissemination of AVP and H.R.O.C. and the women’s health initiative in Bujumbura. He was unafraid to address deeply rooted attitudes of fear and prejudice. Many people will miss him, but he leaves behind a strong group of committed leaders who will carry on the work. David and Gladys will both leave a hole in many hearts, including ours.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

FLORENCE NTAKARUTIMANA (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflections on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

When I met David Zarembka, I learned what serving others means, and I learned that you can achieve more than what you had ever thought in simplicity. David Zarembka made me be who I am today; I met him, and my life got transformed in so many ways. I learned a lot from David Zarembka’s s big heart and determination to restore hope in broken hearts through his peaceful work in the world. With that, I fell in love with peace work, and I am still committed to it than ever. Through his hospitality, I learned that working as a family is key to success in the work world. May he rest in God’s arms and find eternal peace.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

GEORGE, DRC (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflection on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

On behalf of the AVP South Kivu facilitators committee and my own family, we convey our sad condolences to the biological family of David Zarembka and the entire A.G.L.I. team. We pray to our God to support you in this difficult time. We have known and welcomed David's commitment to peace initiatives in Africa.

I got to know David Zarembka during the AVP Africa gathering in Kakamega, Kenya, in 2014. He did his best to pay my transport and other costs for my participation. I understood that he was among the few people who deprived themselves of their need to help others. He was very straightforward and cooperative. May his soul rest in eternal peace.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

MKANGYA ALENGA LEON OPOD ASBL/AVP DRC AND SOUTH KIVU (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflection on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

I met David Zarembka during the Year 2005 by supporting our first training in the Alternatives to Violence Project in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo. David was my Pillar in Peace Works in South Kivu because I was received many Peace experiences by using his knowledge, skills, and advice.

We met in many Africa Peace Meetings such as Quaker Peace Network 2007 in Kibuye Rwanda, Alternatives to Violence Project World Gathering 2008 in Kakamega Kenya, Quaker Peace Network Africa Nairobi, AVP Africa in Kakamega. David shared with us many AVP Manuals, supports, and advice during those Meetings. In 2019 I was trained in the Healing and Rebuilding our Communities "H.R.O.C." Program in Musanze Rwanda by using his advice. To this time, the AVP Program is used in South Kivu, North Kivu, and Kinshasa. H.R.O.C. Program is used in South Kivu, North Kivu, and Kasai in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

I salute David's skills for contributing to Build peace in my Country, D.R.C. Therefore, I will continue to use his legacy during my Peace and Development activities in my Country as Coordinator of Organization de Paix pour les Opportunités du Développement "O.P.O.D. asbl/AVP DRC, South Kivu. May his soul rest in Eternal Peace.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

DAVID BUCURA, COORDINATOR AGLI (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflection on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

I remember when David Zarembka came to Rwanda to explore what was going after the Genocide against Tutsi in 1994. He was not alone, but he was alone to start peace programs in the great lakes region.
David Zarembka has been the Coordinator of the African Great Lakes Initiative of the Friends Peace Teams since 1998, where he traveled in Rwanda, in D.R.C., in Uganda, and Kenya most of the time by buses. I had a chance to work with him from the beginning till he left us to this world. He inspired me in many different ways, and he mentored me in many different ways. I traveled with him in Africa, the U.S.A., and Europe, fundraising for African Great Lakes initiative programs. David Zarembka was a hard worker, compassionate for mentoring young people. He used to wake up early morning to write and checking emails. He was a communicator and did not tolerate people who use money expensively. He wanted to do more with little money. He has invested his life in peacebuilding in Africa, and he brought many Africans to the U.S.A., Europe, and Asia for peace work and speaking tours. He advocated for people to have a visa for entering the U.S. He was a man full of Integrity, Simplicity, and community. He supported many peace organizations in Africa. He initiated different programs in Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, and D.R.C., like the Alternatives to Violence Project, Healing and Rebuilding our Communities in different countries in Africa and oversees. He promotes peacebuilders and peacemakers in Africa, and he promotes peace organizations in different countries of Africa. Working with David since 1998, I learned a lot from him, he liked really to work in Africa, and he promoted many young people to his work, and he inspired many people in Africa.

Losing David is a significant loss, and I will not forget how he brought me to peacebuilding programs in Rwanda and other countries. He is one of the peacemakers never seen globally and blessed are peacemakers as the bible says. May his soul rest in peace for eternal life.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

PARFAITE - BURUNDI (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflection on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

I met him and have worked closely with him since 2014 as the National Coordinator of the Friends Women's Association (FWA). David has been my great mentor in fundraising through proposal writing, report publishing, article writing, and speaking tours. He has been both our father and coach. David has been a great writer. He published an article every Friday where he invited people to donate to four organizations, including FWA. He has influenced us to do many activities with a minimal budget.

David applied the principles of investment in leadership. For instance, he strongly recommended that I do peace studies at Selkirk College in Castlegar, BC, Canada, in 2015. During my stay over there, he taught me how to do fundraising through speaking tours. From there, I met individuals, particularly those from the Quaker community, who have supported our work at FWA since 2016. These people have supported our caring for HIV-positive people (CHIV), including our Ntaseka Clinic extension. They have now donated 75% of the total raised.

We will keep on giving much respect to David Zarembka! Ntaseka clinic extension is the result of his significant investment. We hoped to be with him on 1st December 2021, at our clinic's official opening. We will miss him!!! David Zarembka was that person who did not hide the way he was doing fundraising! He was very creative in fundraising! We will miss this great inspiring man!!! Rest in Peace, our Dear Father! We don't doubt you will be rewarded for your outstanding contribution to peacebuilding here in the Great Lakes region!!! We miss you already!!! His last email was to FWA: "I only raise money for an organization doing a great job. Dave"

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

JOHN MUHANJI – DIRECTOR AFRICA MINISTRIES – FUM (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflection on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

I first heard of AVP programs through David when the programs were introduced to the Kenyan Quakers. Many church leaders took the training that helped cool down the high temperatures experienced among the yearly meetings in Kenya.

The peace testimony of Quakers was made known and practical through David in Eastern Africa. David lived talking of peace; walked talking of peace; slept talking of peace; engaged in talking of peace, which made him known as the peacemaker. His passion for peace in the region of Africa and the defender of Africanism against the aggression of the Western discriminations earned him a passion for staying among the Africans. He wrote many articles countering the bias by the western writers about Africans.

David played a significant role in transforming Burundi and Rwanda in peacebuilding after many years of conflict, especially after the genocide. He braved to step into a fragile and volatile country of the great lakes region and developed structures for peacebuilding that still runs to date. We have lost a true peacemaker who dedicated the entirety of his life to building bridges of peace among the people in eastern Africa. He kept no grudges with people; he lived a simple life and welcomed everybody without discrimination. He was adopted among the African and lived among them with ease and joyfully. He was a man of integrity and hated the misuse of resources, whether yours from the donor community. He believed in an entirely and satisfactory account of donor funds. He served faithfully on the board of F.U.M. May his soul rest in eternal peace.

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Joy Zarembka published a tribute .

Richard Sitati – FUM Vice Clerk (From the Program of the Celebration & Reflection on the Life of David Zarembka, the Peacemaker - Lumakanda, Kenya)

As we lay David to rest today, who has remained a faithful companion to Gladys even in death, we the family of FUM Africa celebrate them for their inspiring faith. That they leveraged their cultural diversity into a formidable strength to bless Quakers and peoples of Africa is a great light for us. They traversed East and Central Africa with their beautiful feet to bring the message of peace and love not to mention the many gifts they brought with them wherever they went. They lived for us. What a great missionary couple for the people of Africa. Let us, therefore, make haste to pursue peace and reconciliation that their ministry may live and manifest among us in their memory. May God rest their souls in eternal peace.

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Margaret Katranides published a tribute .

David was an amazing person. He loved people without judging them; he saw people's needs and worked with energy and confidence to meet them; he promoted people's confidence in their own efforts. He didn't know the meaning of the word "impossible." There is a great hole in the fabric of the world, without Dave and Gladys.

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Brian Muloni published a comment .

May papa continue resting in eternal peace.

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Agnes published a comment .

Tommy,
We are thinking of you and all of your family at this very sad time.
Dave, Agnes, and family.

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Solange published a comment .

Thank you so much Joy for this sharing. It's still hard for me to get something about Dave. But will miss him so deary! He has been a mentor but more a parent to me. May his soul continue to rest in Eternal Peace

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Memorial Service: 1 Year Anniversary

April 1st, 2022 at 9:00am
Lumakanda
Event Details & RSVP

Burial Ceremony

April 7th, 2021 at 9:00am
Lumakanda
Event Details & RSVP

David Zarembka's Celebration of Life: Virtual Memorial (Family)

Event Details & RSVP

David Zarembka's Memorial Meeting: Virtual Memorial (Public)

April 24th, 2021 at 1:00pm
Bethesda Friends Meeting (Virtual)
Bethesda,
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Gladys Kamonya and David Zarembka Memorial Meeting

May 8th, 2021 at 9:00am
St. Louis Friends Meeting (Virtual)
St. Louis,
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