Remembering Evelyn

Evelyn Molony, Ssese Islands, Uganda

Fifteen years ago on this day, we lost a good friend.

In 1994, while traveling across Africa, we met Evelyn Molony in Khartoum, Sudan. Having just returned from a month-long journey to the remote Jebel Marra region of Darfur, she was clearly an adventurer in the truest sense of the word. Joining forces with her and her traveling companions Chris and Kathy, we made our way through Eastern Sudan and crossed what was then a wilderness border into Eritrea.

Traveling across such a remote, politically tense region was full of challenges. Evelyn, who had studied Arabic at Leeds University in the U.K., became our de facto guide and led us through a series of comical adventures that we treasure to this day. Evelyn was hilarious yet subtle, incredibly capable yet impressively modest. Best of all, she could be a goof-ball.

Tony, Evelyn, Thomas and Chris on Ssese Islands

Our adventures with her continued months later, when we met once again in Kampala, Uganda. We traveled to the border of Zaire to visit the mountain gorillas and then on to the Ssesse Islands in Lake Victoria where we camped, explored the jungles, and kicked back on the isolated stretches of white sand. We still laugh about Evelyn running around shooing away a herd of massively horned Ankole-Watusi cattle that invaded our pristine beach. We celebrated the moonlit nights with fish fries and stories. For us, these were fantastic times, yet just across the border in Rwanda, genocide was coming to an end and the full extent of the atrocities was coming to light.

Evelyn and Chris, moved by the suffering of the Rwandan people, decided to travel to Rwanda and volunteer at an orphanage there. During her stay at the orphanage, Evelyn must have contracted cerebral malaria. Shortly thereafter in Nkata Bay, Malawi, Evelyn passed away due to complications related to the disease.

Chris and Evelyn

Our enduring image of Evelyn is of her with Chris laughing and goofing around with huge pieces of orange stuffed into their mouths. Those were really good times.

6 responses to “Remembering Evelyn”

  1. avatar Claire says:

    Rest in Peace Evelyn my dear friend from uni. Miss you.

    • avatar Thomas says:

      Hi Claire,

      We think of Evelyn so often. She was an important part of our lives, and she will always be remembered.

  2. avatar Claire says:

    It was good to come across your tribute as the last time I saw Evelyn was before she left on her travels. We shared a flat whilst at Leeds both in our first year and my final year. Evelyn had another year of studies after I left. I was so stunned when I heard from her parents she had died and still have their letter. I think of her often especially now my niece is at Leeds University and all the memories come flooding back. Such a kind and easygoing person but also with the love of adventure. A good friend. Your tribute has filled in the missing bit for me of what Evelyn had been doing when she died. I had known it was in Malawi but not that Evelyn had gone to help in an orphanage. The photos are the Evelyn I remember.

  3. avatar Jason says:

    Hi Guys, I can’t tell you how happy (and sad) this has made me. My name is Jason and I’m one of Evelyn’s cousins. As a family we spent all of our holidays together as kids and were all very close (still are), Evelyn’s death was obviously a profound event for my entire family but has positively influenced us all ever since (classic old fashioned stiff upper lip turned emotionally engaged and openly loving relations, certainly my generation and even to some extent the seniors too).
    I was doing a presentation at work and wanted to include Evelyn as a role model and person who changed my life forever and for better, it was all a bit last minute and I didn’t have a picture so thought I would google her just in case. I found this and was blown away…. such insightful words and a wonderfully astute observation of the Evelyn I knew. Just wanted to thank you and encourage you to continue. This is the most valuable example of how the internet can connect people in the most positive way. Brilliant work, authentic words, inspiring content. Thanks. J

  4. avatar Weldon Molony says:

    Dear Tony & Thomas
    I’m Evelyn’s brother. My cousin Jason found your article and let myself and her mum know. It was a wonderful surprise. We all miss her heaps and it’s a wonderful feeling when we hear things said about her, proving how much of an impact she made on family and friends. We are still in close contact with Christine and will forward this to her, which i’m Sure will make her smile and cry as it has us. A wonderful article and great to see that you are both still travelling and letting the rest of us know about some wonderful places and adventures. If you are ever back in southern England, and you have the time we would love the opportunity to catch up with you. Safe travels. Weldon & Barbara Molony. 😀

  5. avatar Marion Lang says:

    How very touching and delightful to hear of the lasting impression and sense of fun wrapped up in our Cousin Evelyn with the people she met and touched. The year before she was in africa Evelyn and I went to rhe Hymalaya for a wonderful trip…and it was just a priveledge to travel with her…i was a travel novice ..and she made it all easy and fun…always in my thoughts …such a significantly lovely person so greatly missed.xx

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