Bangba Moke Aseka, or John as he was commonly known to friends and family, unexpectedly passed away Sunday, November 25, 2018 as a result of a cardiac arrest. Our beloved son, brother, husband, and uncle was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo on August 25, 1974 to Francisca Mbikabele Thelin and Aseka Tshaku.
John grew up with a very large extended family in rural northeastern DRC. He had a wonderful childhood, delighting in stalking birds with a hand-made slingshot, looking for the best and sweetest mangos, playing with other kids, fitting in chores and farming activities as needed, and listening to stories his grandfather and uncles would tell at night by the fire.
In 2002 he moved to Kampala, Uganda to wait in the proverbial line to immigrate to the US. Little did he know that “the line” was seven years long. During that time, he made countless new friends, helped many Congolese as they were travelling through the city, and generally made himself indispensable to many, many people as they tried to navigate that city. It was in January 2009 that he met the love of his life, Njiba Anne Tshibola (Annabelle), just two months before making it to the front of “the line” to join his mother Francisca, father Kevin and four siblings in Portland.
Being in a new city again, he set about making a large and diverse network of friends, including many Africans from across that continent. He loved gardening and made himself invaluable to his parents by helping to maintain their backyard and garden. He was an extremely hands-on person who knew how to dispatch chickens and goats. He shared this combination of friends, food and a welcoming backyard to make all who came know that they were luckier and richer for being part of his circle of friendship.
John and Annabelle maintained their romance over the course of the nine years John lived in Portland via phone and occasional visits from John to her in Uganda. Finally, in August 2018, Annabelle and her son Godwin arrived in Portland as a result of John’s ceaseless efforts to secure visas for them. In September 2018, they were married and began their life together as husband and wife. Their time as a family was short but very sweet.
John is survived by his parents, sisters Lomingo Andrews and Patience Hitshaku, brothers Isaac and Solomon Thelin and countless uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews, other family members and friends without number both here in the US, Uganda and DRC. He will be terribly missed and continuously loved. Rest in peace, John.