Share a special moment from El's life.

Time moves on..

Shared by Moses Msuya on January 8, 2018

Time moves on but we are always still thinking about you Dad.  I keep respecting you and appreciating you more everyday.

Love you,


Always remembered...

Shared by velda vuo on January 9, 2014

It's already 2 years since you've left us!   We often talk about you and remembered the good times we've shared for so many years. The kids birthdays when we would visit Walkerton and slaughter the mbozi (goat) in preparation for the birthday party, our annual visits to the campsite where we would camp out and share OUR many stories etc. etc..So many memories you've left can we ever forget you?  Your fond and lasting memories will always be remembered by my family.
We will continue to talk fondly about you and reflect on those everlasting memories you've left with us.

Velda and family  . 

Ice Creature

Shared by Charles Morrison on February 26, 2012

This is a story my dad told me.

Martha and El visited Fred and Mary on Lake of the Woods in winter. El was taken out onto the lake for winter First Nations's hunting and trapping. As they came to the beaver or muskrat(?) hole in the ice, and a wet icy furry creature was lifted dripping from the hole, El was purported to have exclaimed,

"What's a monkey doing under the ice!?!"

It was one of my favourite stories as a youngster, but knowing El's sense of humour as an adult, it took on new meaning.

I hope you rest in peace

Shared by Justine Msuya on February 22, 2012

grandpa i never knew this day would come but it did.i know you died but we both have tons of memories!i can't tell you all of them but i can tell you my favourite one, it is when you always call me princess because it makes me feel special and you are too. well i hope i'll get a chance to tell you more of our memories.i miss you grandpa. bye!!!

Shared by Evelyn Stark on January 19, 2012

may the thousands of memories of your dear husband El live on and support and carry you today and Always


Prayers are with you and your family 


sincerely Evelyn Stark 

Shared by Chantelle Vuo on January 15, 2012

I woke up this morning and as I have been doing every day this week, brought up this website ... almost expecting that the name I was typing in would not come up. It is like a game that I have been playing with my subconscious.  Not really coming to terms with the fact that Uncle El is really gone.  It has taken me a week (actually a week to the day that I received the news) to summon up the strength, the words to contribute to this website.

There are so many memories, so many flashbacks of events in my life that my Uncle El has been a part of ... and will always be a part of.  I have known him all of my life and his presence and spirit are woven into my life.

I will remember the weekends in Walkerton, outside with Becka riding a mini ATV, listening to Aunt Martha playing the piano and singing, sitting by camp fires or barbeques eating "mishkaki".  On one trip up to Walkerton to celebrate my younger sister's first birthday, all the kids became quite attached to a little goat that was at the farm, I think we even named it.  Only to find out at dinner that night the true fate of our new-found friend !!  Uncle El with a little smirk on his face, re-assured us and tried to console us !  It wasn't done in a mean way but he was obviously amused at our reactions.

Fast forward several years later ... I was planning my wedding in the summer of 1998 and I knew I wanted to incorporate elements of my African culture into my ceremony.  I also knew that Uncle El and Uncle Omari  would be just the people to deliver the Swahili prayers and songs.  I can still see Uncle El, looking so handsome in his white tuxedo jacket ...

My memories of Uncle El his demeanor, his spirit, his laughter; how he used to say "Oh Mum ! " to Aunt Martha; his smile and that ever-present twinkle in his eyes will remain with me forever.

Many people have said so many wonderful things about him but what strikes me most is how many people he "touched".  That is the permanent mark that he has left in everyone's heart.  That is what will make us smile when we remember him and that warm feeling comes across us ... that is Uncle El !

He was a wonderful father, husband, brother, friend and uncle !  I feel blessed that he was and is such a large part of my life.

Miss you forever Uncle El !!  xo  xo  xo

Brother-in-law El Msuya

Shared by Mary Irwin on January 12, 2012

  October 1966.  Winnipeg, Manitoba.  My sister Martha still wears the Mennonite covering & cape dress.  She's a nurse's aide in the Grace Hospital.  She meets El through the introduction by another nurse from Tanzania or the Caribbean Islands.  Then- she phoned me all excited, "Mary- I met the most wonderful man yesterday."  So- they came out to Portage la Prairie in Martha's car, the next weekend.  We introduced him to the Hutterite culture and to New Rosedale Hutterite Colony and to Uncle Sylvester Baer.  He enjoyed the new culture and compared it to his culture.  He played the guitar and Martha or I would play the accordian and sing all 3 of us together.  We'd actually entertain the little Hutterite Baers many evenings.  Martha was not afraid to embrace the Tanzanian culture.  Fast-forward another 7 months.  The wedding day - April 1967.  I was Martha's bridesmaid and Pelango was the best man.  Taking place in the Court House in Winnipeg by a JP.  Cousins Paul & Wilf Baer and I were the ones from the Baer family.  After the ceremony we went to a home of a friend of El's.  Food & talking.  I threw confetti around the living-room at them.  The hostess went privately to El, ":Why is your sister-in-law MESSING UP MY HOUSE?"  He explained that that was this Canadian culture.  Boy- was I embarrassed and quit that immediately.  Nearly 45 years together- Martha and El.  Sister- my deepest sympathies to you & Becka Seb & Moses & families. 

Shared by Alicia Baer on January 11, 2012

I only met El 2 or 3 times in the years that I have been a member of the Baer family, but the first time will always stick with me. I was a very new member of the family and it was our BIG Baer family reunion on the farm. El came over to me and asked me who I was married too. I told him Jona, and then El said, "he is a very lucky man, in my country you would be worth many goats". I laughed and El spent the next 10 or 15 minutes explaining his country's traditions to me. I don't think I was worth "many" goats, but El made me feel like it that day. He was a very kind man.

Shared by kasey kosikar on January 10, 2012


Grandpa’s death brings me both to a loss of words and to so many words I don’t know where to begin. If I could describe Grandpa in two words it would be – intelligent and stubborn.

Grandpa was an amazing man with incredible stories and a vibrant history. He left his home in Africa at the age of 28 to come to Canada.  Though Swahili was his main language, he had an English vocabulary like no other and I always liked calling him the “human dictionary”. Whenever Grandma and I needed to settle a debate over a scrabble word we would always turn to Grandpa. Although it was rare to see grandpa play scrabble, he could always make words out of any array of impossible letters. Trouble was, more time would be spent with my head in the dictionary trying to prove that his ‘words’ and ‘definitions’ did not exist. An impossible conquest, I was never able to achieve.

His knack for the English language was so good he was exempt from having to take any English course in his schoolings in Canada. After failing an exam that he had no doubt aced he brought it to the attention of the professor.  The professor’s argument was degrading and to paraphrase he said that “a black boy could not have gotten a better mark then the white boys in their own language”. When the issue was brought up to the Dean of the school, he looked over the exam and said Grandpa knew English too well to waste time studying it and Grandpa was given the credit without having to take the course. Grandpa credits that achievement to being taught in school under the British regime in Tanzania.

I feel so fortunate to have lived with Grandpa and Grandma for three months in Moshi, Africa in 2011.  During that time I got to know my grandparents very well and experience their life that I had always heard about and seen in pictures.  We became great friends and I am honoured to have gotten the chance to know my grandparents so well.

While in Moshi, you could always find grandpa in one of three places -

1) On the porch - with his head in a book or solving a crossword. One of his favourite authors was John Grisham. If you left a book laying around long enough, Grandpa probably read it by the time you found it again. He even read the Bible a couple of times! Needless to say, a religious debate with Grandpa was always very interesting and never ending!

2) On the computer – playing Solitaire, Free Cell or Mahjong Titans while singing Toby Keith “As good as I once was” or “Get drunk and be Somebody”. Grandpa didn’t just listen to a song once, when he listened to a song it would be the same song for a week, on endless replay and his voice would carry to all corners of the house. Surprisingly he wasn’t half bad!

3) Mamma Georges Corner enjoying a nice beer!


Grandpa and I spent many hours on the porch deep in conversation. I learned so many things about his past and what he wanted for his future. He told me the first time he had ever seen snow he was in class in Winnipeg, at first he didn’t know what it was. So he asked the student next to him why cotton was falling from the roof, of course this student laughed and said “you mean the snow?” The teacher asked the boys what the disturbance was about and the student promptly announced “this guy has never seen snow before!” The teacher then put the class on pause so Grandpa could go outside and see the snow firsthand. Grandpa told me many stories of his past, he was a man with a great story to be heard.  It devastates me knowing that many more stories are laid to rest with him forever. He told me that if he could travel anywhere in the world it would be to Australia.

My childhood is full of memories from good ol’Blue Water Lakes Campground. It was always the highlight of my summer when I could spend the week with my grandparents.  Grandma would go to work and leave me and Grandpa often accompanied by my cousins Charlotte and Jacob. Every morning Grandpa would faithfully walk to the stop sign and sometimes we would tag along - if he had been trying to get peace and quiet he sure wasn’t going to get any with us!! haha.

As long as I can remember Grandpa and I have had the same breakfast routine. Grandma makes the porridge; I like a normal person add brown sugar, while Grandpa would add cheese, hot pepper, hot sauce, leftovers! Who couldn’t stare? His food was pure fire!  It would take Grandpa so long to get his porridge ready and I always teased him and gawked at what he added. To which every time he replied “if you don’t like it, don’t look at it”…so naturally – I took a picture.

I am also proud to say that I also have the only picture of Grandpa swimming in Blue Water Lakes, something no one could believe actually happened.

How Grandpa and Grandma ended up together is a funny storey in itself. Grandpa - so grounded, well-read, always thinking things through logically - met and married spontaneous spunky grandma who is filled with ideas, ready to conquer the world and full of adventure. They truly complimented each-other.

Grandpa died where his heart belonged, in Africa with Grandma by his side. It was too soon for all of us but now he's with God and all of his questions and debates are answered. 

I wish I could have been there for one last goodbye, what I’d give to hear you call me princess one more time…You’ll be missed more then you know. A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when the-forget-me-nots have withered. They say to carve your name on hearts, not on marble – and that’s exactly what you did.


Nakupenda milele

Like Grandpa always said to me in Moshi – “Baadaye”  xo

Shared by Rehema Vuo on January 9, 2012

I have fond memories of my Uncle El. My childhood memories are filled with moments with him and Auntie Martha at the house in Walkerton and on the campsite. Uncle El was like a father figure to me and his gentle and kind spirit were always comforting to be around. He watched me grow up from an inquisitive energetic little girl to a woman.

A few years back we shared a special moment together. Uncle El asked me an important question about forgiveness and family. We were able to talk about something so important and I think that day he saw that I was no longer that little girl but a grown woman. That day he spoke to me like a father would to a daughter and reminded me in the most sincere and genuine way to always remember to forgive, especially to forgive family. Uncle El, that was a lesson I will always hold close to my heart. Thank you for that moment.

Uncle El, thank you for being a part of my life. You will be missed and never forgotten. See you soon one day.  xo

Shared by Maria Morrison on January 8, 2012
Uncle El has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. One of my first memories I have of him was when I was about 6 years old. He made a fish stew for us and I wondered outloud what some of the ingredients were, as kids do. What's this? What's that floating? He responded that those were fish eyes!! To this day, I don't know if he was telling the truth or not. But ever after that, I always liked to watch him cook!! He was like a father to me during my late teens. He scolded me, reprimanded me and timed my showers. I learned alot about growing up from him. My kids called him grandpa because he's been an infuence in their lives since the day they were born. Some of my fondest memories were hanging out at the campsite, which is only 1 km away from where I live right now. I'll really miss seeing him taking his morning strolls as I head to work.

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