On February 21 and 22, were….no, not “black days”; that’d carry racial undertones, an insult when used near saintly men, Dr Paul Farmer and Joseph Ritchie. The days were dies horriblis for this country. On those very consecutive days, Rwanda lost two selfless men who had given of themselves to her as only the best of her patriots could. As Farmer professed to Liberation Theology, so was he liberator of the world’s vulnerable. A self-sacrifice service that resonated so much with President Paul Kagame, himself a man who spearheaded the liberation of this country, that you could practically feel the weight of the loss of Farmer in his heart. The two of them did not only share a first name; they shared a heart, too. “The weight of his loss is in many ways personal, to the country of Rwanda (which he loved and to which he contributed during its reconstruction), to my family and myself. I know there are many who feel this way in Africa and beyond,” President Kagame in a tribute through his Twitter handle. And, there are “many who feel this way”, indeed there are multitudes. From Haiti where it all began even as Dr Farmer was a student, and where by the time he and his co-founded Partners in Health had so advanced the country’s healthcare that it near-surpassed that of USA (considering “care” in its true sense), his healing hand spread far and wide. To Peru, Mexico, Russia, Kazakhstan and others, Farmer’s hand spread and, as Kagame aptly puts it, he “combined so many things hard to find in one person”. The “man who would heal the world” (in the words of Tracy Kidder in a “Mountains Beyond Mountains” book in his honour) was not one to tire. In between, he was in Africa to heal Basotho, Malawians, Sierra Leoneans and Liberians, among others from its southern part to its northern. And then, in Rwanda ngo biii! Where he found veritable partners, for Rwanda was in the trenches to unearth universal health and see it happen. From community health insurance, aka Mutuelles de Santé, to spreading health centres to every sector, to expanding, multiplying and fully equipping referral hospitals, to drone-dropping vital medicine and blood to road-distant areas, Farmer found a people made to measure for his mission. And totally bonded with them, as they worked together. Rwanda became home. Not “home away from home”, no, for the Farmer family became and is one with the Rwandan family. And so he was a US physician, humanitarian and author as he was Rwandan. For which in Rwanda he was a recipient laureate of the highest honour, Igihango (the National Order of Outstanding Friendship). This was not all, because he was one of the select pavers of this country’s development path as a member of the Presidential Advisory Council. With Butaro Hospital Cancer Centre of Excellence and the University of Global Health Equity (for which he was Chancellor) under their belt, Dr Paul Farmer and the Rwandan government were riding the crest of healthcare provision innovation. Then Grim Reaper snatched his dear soul from our midst, here in the land he so loved. Rwandans to a man/woman are in mourning with his wife and children, friend and family. “Evangelist of prosperity” that Joe Ritchie was, he was unstoppable by humble beginnings and was ‘sans frontière’ as he spread the gospel from USA to Russia, from Afghanistan to Malawi and wherever else investment could uplift lives. It was said of Ritchie that he had the “ability to look ahead not just six months but several years” but I’ll contend: “eons”, not “several years”. Now talk about investment, prosperity creation, far-sightedness and you’ll see two men made for each other, one in Rwanda and the other, in the USA. And see that it was inevitable that Ritchie become Rwandan as well as a recipient laureate of Igihango. For like Rwanda, he hated to see undervalued people and commodities and looked out not necessarily for best heads but more especially for best hearts. And so, Ritchie was right by the side of President Kagame, as the co-chair of the think tank that ponders ways of propelling Rwanda to the level of the world’s respected nations. I talk of the Presidential Advisory Council. It’s thus that in 2008, when the Rwanda Development Board, the engine to drive Rwanda’s development, was founded, he was appointed its Chairman and CEO. African to the hilt, with his wife of fifty years they have been blessed with ten children. More fitting for Rwanda than for USA, I’d say. Dear Madam and children, remember you’ll always be Rwandan. Rwandans condole with you and with your friends. Dr Paul Farmer at the young age of 62 and Joseph Ritchie at the not-so-old age of 75, you have gone when the world so craves your generous hearts. May You both Rest in Eternal Peace! The views expressed in this article are of the writer.