Personal Tributes
to Pascoal

Family Trees

About the Author



According to his boys, Pascoal repeatedly declared, even in the presence of friends, that the only legacy he would bequeath to his sons was a good education. And to that purpose he focused his attention. His motto was: "Always aim for the moon".

He was fully supported in this campaign by Esmeralda who shared his ideals and made her children's education a priority. They both were firmly united in their disciplinary approach to the children; and no one was more aware of this than the children themselves who respected them for this attitude, specially later in life.

Right from primary school, both parents took keen interest in the children's schooling and never ceased searching for special aptitudes and talents which they displayed. The boys were encouraged to develop a fine handwriting from an early age. When Joe showed some ability, his father got him to practise cursive writing with a nibbed pen dipped in ink. The lad secured several prizes for Handwriting and Spelling in the primary grades. Sacrificing her leisure time, Esmeralda spent endless hours taking up her boys' daily lessons to ensure that they would rank high in class and thus be motivated to progress. When they did well they were always praised for their efforts, and felt rewarded seeing the pleasure and pride light up the faces of their parents.

Before long Pascoal had read the signs of the times. He had come to realise there would be no future for the new generation of Goans in the Kenya Government Service which would eventually be taken over by indigenous Africans. He therefore advised his friends, specially young people, that university education was essential to ensure brighter prospects, and even counselled them to explore opportunities overseas.

Pascoal always stressed on his sons the value of punctuality and dependability, virtues he had imbibed from his Jesuit mentors. He emphasised the need to acquire a solid command of written and spoken English, and to expand their vision. With this aim, occasionally when there was a good movie in town, the boys accompanied their parents.

From very early he tried to instill into the boys the habit of reading widely as a gainful recreation. Once, in response to a newspaper advertisement, Pascoal took his eldest son to an old English lady's apartment in a fashionable sector of Nairobi. She was disposing off her personal collection of classic literature. Whatever the boy selected his father readily purchased.

"Time is money", he exhorted if they tended to be idle. Though thrifty by upbringing, both Pascoal and Esmeralda did not hesitate to spend money when occasion demanded. Sometimes balancing the budget for four growing sons on a fixed income was like tight rope dancing; but Esmeralda was up to it. She did not stint on the quality of food and prepared simple but wholesome meals for her family. At the first term examinations at school in Mombasa Sanoo pleasantly surprised both his teacher and his parents by coming second in rank. He continued to keep his place among the first three right up to the Senior Cambridge. In fact, he obtained credits in all seven subjects, including Latin. He proceeded to the Duke of Gloucester School for the Cambridge Higher School certificate which he completed.

He was ever grateful to his father who had insisted that he take up Latin as his second language. For it was the choice of Latin that tilted the balance in his favour when he sought, and eventually gained admission to the prestigious King's College Hospital Medical School in London. Sanoo had just completed his preliminary studies required for admission into King's College. It was a proud moment for him, and no less for Pascoal and Esmeralda. To crown it all, Sanoo was awarded a Kenya Government Bursary to cover his expenses in the United Kingdom. He was just nineteen at the time!

Pascoal saw Joe through his final years at King's College. Joe (as Sanoo was now known) was provided with a car so that he could access the various libraries when he needed to. To help tide him over this period Esmeralda, who had always kept the home fires burning, boldly stepped out, learned typing and obtained employment as a Copy Typist in the Ministry of Education. Joe's graduation ceremony was held at the Albert Hall in London. He was presented with his degree by the Queen Mother who was Chancellor of London University.

Another ceremony was yet to come immediately after Joe returned home to Nairobi as a full-fledged doctor. Let me quote: "Dad's first act on the evening of my arrival was to summon his elder sister, Maria Severina, "to take out Disht"/ Evil Eye from me. This ceremony involved red chillies and salt which were gently passed over my body to the accompaniment of prayers and lasted about ten minutes. Finally, the chillies and salt were thrown into a fire and if explosive sounds ensued, the evil spirits were driven away. Mum and Dad seem to believe in this firmly and Dad's sister was always the one chosen to execute the act."

Was this vestige of pre-conversion Hindu rites mingled with Christian prayer a symbol of that self-same "Goan factor" at work ?

All four sons of Pascoal successfully completed the basic 'O' and 'A' level examinations. After getting his Advanced Level Certificate at the Duke of Gloucester school in Nairobi, Tim, the younger son, was eligible to enter university to pursue a degree in Engineering. In July 1962 he entered the Royal College, Nairobi. It had a Charter from the University of London to confer London University degrees. He remembers with gratitude his father's purchase of a Vespa motor scooter specially for him to commute to and from college.

In 1963, after Uhuru/ Kenya's independence from the British, Royal College was named University College. Tim's class of Mechanical Engineering comprised of 12 students: 10 Indians, 2 Africans. The lecturers and professors, all expatriates, came from the U.K. When Tim graduated in 1965 his parents witnessed the ceremony and saw the Chancellor of the University, President Jomo Kenyatta, present him with his degree.

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