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CIMMYT-Kenya says kwa heri (good-bye) to 2008

Great food met great company at CIMMYT-Kenya’s end-of-the-year luncheon on 7 December, hosted by Global Maize Program director Marianne Bänziger. Long-standing service awards were presented to Alpha Diallo, who retires from CIMMYT in January 2009, to Stephen Mugo, and to Isaac Mutabai. All shared the award and recognition with their spouses. “We couldn’t have done it without the love and support of our better halves,” they agreed.

Thanks and admiration for Diallo’s time and contributions were expressed in a commemorative plaque that commended “…the very high regard in which he is held as a wise voice, mentor, and friend; for his pragmatic approach to prioritizing and getting a job done…” Colleagues Wilfred Mwangi, Dan Makumbi, and Joseph Kasango recalled their experiences working with him. Diallo’s wife Mrs. Fatoumata Diallo presented CIMMYT with a beautiful, intricately woven, handmade wall hanging on behalf of the family. “This is to express our thanks to all at CIMMYT for their love, support, and friendship throughout all the years that we have known them,” she said.

The function also served as a good-bye for Jedidah Danson, who leaves CIMMYT to teach at Kwa Zulu University in South Africa, and Murenga Mwimali, a maize breeder from the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute who finished his four-month Visiting Scientist assignment. “It has been a rewarding and exciting experience,” Mwimali said. “I have learnt a lot from the CIMMYT scientists, especially Stephen Mugo, and the technicians about practical aspects of designing and managing trials, seed production, and national variety release procedures for insect resistant and stress tolerant maize.”

Bänziger also took the opportunity to thank staff for efforts in 2008 and to recognize and remember the invaluable contribution of the late Mrs. Ebby Irungu, who kept the office running smoothly with effortless efficiency, friendliness, and firmness. Those at CIMMYT-Kenya send wishes to all their colleagues for a joyous festive season and a prosperous New Year 2009!