Caroline Karanja, her mother Ann Wangui Karanja, and children Ryan Njoroge, Kellie Pauls, and Rubi Pauls
Courtesy Karanja family
Caroline Karanja, her mother Ann Wangui Karanja, and children Ryan Njoroge, Kellie Pauls, and Rubi Pauls
Now playing
02:53
Family loses five members in Ethiopian Airlines crash
screengrab japan fukushima daiichi
IAEA
screengrab japan fukushima daiichi
Now playing
02:31
Japan plans to release treated Fukushima water into sea
SUEZ, EGYPT - MARCH 29: The container ship 'Ever Given' is refloated, unblocking the Suez Canal on March 29, 2021 in Suez, Egypt. This morning the container ship came partly unstuck from the shoreline, where it ran aground in the canal last Tuesday, and later resumed its course shortly after 3pm local time. The Suez Canal is one of the world's busiest shipping lanes and the blockage had created a backlog of vessels at either end, raising concerns over the impact on global shipping and supply chains. (Photo by Mahmoud Khaled/Getty Images)
Mahmoud Khaled/Getty Images
SUEZ, EGYPT - MARCH 29: The container ship 'Ever Given' is refloated, unblocking the Suez Canal on March 29, 2021 in Suez, Egypt. This morning the container ship came partly unstuck from the shoreline, where it ran aground in the canal last Tuesday, and later resumed its course shortly after 3pm local time. The Suez Canal is one of the world's busiest shipping lanes and the blockage had created a backlog of vessels at either end, raising concerns over the impact on global shipping and supply chains. (Photo by Mahmoud Khaled/Getty Images)
Now playing
00:57
Egypt seizes Ever Given ship, asks for $900M in compensation
Taiwan has been the chief source of tension between Washington and Beijing for decades and is widely seen as the most likely trigger for a potentially catastrophic US-China war. The worry about Taiwan comes as China wields new strength from years of military buildup. CNN's David Culver reports.
PLA Air Force/Weibo
Taiwan has been the chief source of tension between Washington and Beijing for decades and is widely seen as the most likely trigger for a potentially catastrophic US-China war. The worry about Taiwan comes as China wields new strength from years of military buildup. CNN's David Culver reports.
Now playing
04:04
Dramatic videos show Chinese naval exercises amid rising tensions over Taiwan
CNN
Now playing
05:40
Unprecedented footage shows front line of Ukrainian conflict with Russia
5995404 02.09.2019 Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attends a news conference following his meeting with his Russian counterpart Minister Sergei Lavrov, in Moscow, Russia. Iliya Pitalev / Sputnik  via AP
Iliya Pitalev/SPTNK/Sputnik via AP
5995404 02.09.2019 Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attends a news conference following his meeting with his Russian counterpart Minister Sergei Lavrov, in Moscow, Russia. Iliya Pitalev / Sputnik via AP
Now playing
04:09
Iran accuses Israel of sabotaging nuclear site, vows revenge
Ash rises into the air as La Soufriere volcano erupts on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent, seen from Chateaubelair, Friday, April 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Orvil Samuel)
Orvil Samuel/AP
Ash rises into the air as La Soufriere volcano erupts on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent, seen from Chateaubelair, Friday, April 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Orvil Samuel)
Now playing
01:08
See the looming clouds of ash over La Soufrière volcano
screengrab Vanuatu villagers mourn philip
Reuters
screengrab Vanuatu villagers mourn philip
Now playing
02:03
Remote tribe worships Prince Philip as god, mourns his death
ITN
Now playing
01:15
Prince Charles speaks following Prince Philip's death
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 10: The Honourable Artillery Company fire a gun salute at The Tower of London on April 10, 2021 in London, United Kingdom.  The Death Gun Salute will be fired at 1200 marking the death of His Royal Highness, The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Across the country and the globe saluting batteries will fire 41 rounds, 1 round at the start of each minute, for 40 minutes. Gun salutes are customarily fired, both on land and at sea, as a sign of respect or welcome. The Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nicholas Carter, said "His Royal Highness has been a great friend, inspiration and role model for the Armed Forces and he will be sorely missed." (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Chris Jackson/Getty Images
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 10: The Honourable Artillery Company fire a gun salute at The Tower of London on April 10, 2021 in London, United Kingdom. The Death Gun Salute will be fired at 1200 marking the death of His Royal Highness, The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Across the country and the globe saluting batteries will fire 41 rounds, 1 round at the start of each minute, for 40 minutes. Gun salutes are customarily fired, both on land and at sea, as a sign of respect or welcome. The Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nicholas Carter, said "His Royal Highness has been a great friend, inspiration and role model for the Armed Forces and he will be sorely missed." (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:03
Prince Philip tributes pour in from around the world
CNN Weather
Now playing
01:35
Powerful Tropical Cyclone Seroja takes aim at Western Australia
People view flowers left in front of the gate at Buckingham Palace in London, after the announcement of the death of Britain's Prince Philip, Friday, April 9, 2021. Buckingham Palace officials say Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, has died. He was 99. Philip spent a month in hospital earlier this year before being released on March 16 to return to Windsor Castle.
Matt Dunham/AP
People view flowers left in front of the gate at Buckingham Palace in London, after the announcement of the death of Britain's Prince Philip, Friday, April 9, 2021. Buckingham Palace officials say Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, has died. He was 99. Philip spent a month in hospital earlier this year before being released on March 16 to return to Windsor Castle.
Now playing
01:54
Tributes to Prince Philip pour in from around the world
Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in his role as Captain General, Royal Marines, attends a Parade to mark the finale of the 1664 Global Challenge on the Buckingham Palace Forecourt in central London on August 2, 2017.  
After a lifetime of public service by the side of his wife Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip finally retires on August 2, 2017,at the age of 96. The Duke of Edinburgh attended a parade of Royal Marines at Buckingham Palace, the last of 22,219 solo public engagements since she ascended to the throne in 1952.
 / AFP PHOTO / POOL / HANNAH MCKAY        (Photo credit should read HANNAH MCKAY/AFP/Getty Images)
HANNAH MCKAY/AFP/Getty Images
Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in his role as Captain General, Royal Marines, attends a Parade to mark the finale of the 1664 Global Challenge on the Buckingham Palace Forecourt in central London on August 2, 2017. After a lifetime of public service by the side of his wife Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip finally retires on August 2, 2017,at the age of 96. The Duke of Edinburgh attended a parade of Royal Marines at Buckingham Palace, the last of 22,219 solo public engagements since she ascended to the throne in 1952. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / HANNAH MCKAY (Photo credit should read HANNAH MCKAY/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:39
The life of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
screengrab myanmar ambassador to UK
CNN
screengrab myanmar ambassador to UK
Now playing
01:02
Video shows Myanmar's ambassador 'locked out' of embassy
King Abdullah II of Jordan and his half brother, former crown prince Hamzah bin Al Hussein
AFP/Getty Images
King Abdullah II of Jordan and his half brother, former crown prince Hamzah bin Al Hussein
Now playing
02:39
Jordan's King breaks silence about family fallout
CNN
Now playing
06:13
Inside Iraq's crippling crystal meth crisis
(CNN) —  

“As long as we see him, that is the only way that we can move on. But without returning his body, we will forget that he’s dead. We will keep thinking that there is a day that he will come back.”

“My heart isn’t really excited. I feel like there’s something bad ahead, but I don’t know what,” the WhatsApp message read.

Karanja was traveling from Canada to Kenya with her three children and her mother. She was so worried about the trip, she sent a similar message expressing her fear of the impending journey to her father before she boarded the flight.

Thousands of miles away in Kenya, worried about her older sister’s premonition, Kelly Karanja asked her the exact day she’d arrive and told her to pray about it.

“10th. Will let you know the time,” Carol Karanja messaged.

Carol Karanja never made it to their Kenyan homeland. She was among the 157 people killed when the plane crashed just minutes after takeoff from Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa.  Also killed was her mother, Ann Wangui Karanja, and her three children: Ryan Njoroge, 7, Kellie Pauls, 4, and 9-month-old daughter, Rubi Pauls.

Rubi was born in Ontario, where the family lived. She was going home for the first time to meet her Kenyan family.

Carol Karanja, her mother Ann Wangui Karanja, and her three children died in the plane crash.
Courtesy Karanja family
Carol Karanja, her mother Ann Wangui Karanja, and her three children died in the plane crash.

Her son had a gift for his grandfather

Kelly Karanja said her sister was deeply spiritual.

“She was always the telepathic one,” she said. “She was also jovial, funny, selfless, the one who brought the family together. We are not able to put into words the kind of woman she was. She was just awesome.”

Before her flight, Carol Karanja texted her father, John Quindos Karanja, and expressed her fear for the impending journey.

“The day before the flight my daughter sent me a message – and she told me, ’ I’m not excited. I don’t know what is happening dad. I am fearing and I don’t know what it is in me,’ She had fears,” her father said. “So I thought that was normal. We never interacted again.”

Ryan, her eldest son, was close with his grandfather, and they would speak every day via video call, John Quindos Karanja said.

A few days before they flew out, Ryan told his grandfather he planned to borrow some money from his dad and buy him a present, Kelly Karanja said.

The day after they got the news, the grandfather turned to family members and said: “I wonder what Ryan was bringing for me?”

John Quindos Karanja lost his wife, his daugher and his three grandchilren in the plane crash.
John Quindos Karanja lost his wife, his daugher and his three grandchilren in the plane crash.

She was a mother, a wife and an accountant

Before relocating to Hamilton, Ontario, in May 2017, Carol Karanja split her time between Boston and Kenya. She also previously lived in Bermuda, where her husband, Paul Njoroge, works and did not accompany the family on the trip.

Carol Karanja’s friends painted a picture of a doting mom who juggled a hectic work schedule as an accountant at an energy firm in Canada.

“She enjoyed cooking for them, breakfast, lunch, dinner. She was a true homemaker,” said Florence Brown, her friend of six years who lives in Bermuda. “It took a while for me to convince her that it was OK to give her kids some KFC, some TV dinners, especially when she was overwhelmed and busy.”

One of the last messages Carol Karanja posted on Facebook asked for tips on what to feed Rubi during the flight.

“She is so fussy when hungry and nursing her isn’t enough ‘cos she is a big girl now. She eats more than my four-year-old; what can I carry for her?” she asked her friends.

Rubi Pauls, 9 months, was killed in the crash. She was with her mother, siblings and grandmother.
courtesy, family
Rubi Pauls, 9 months, was killed in the crash. She was with her mother, siblings and grandmother.

A devastated community mourns

Back home in Kenya, a devastated family is trying to come to terms with the loss of three generations.

A constant stream of visitors come to the family compound outside the town of Nakuru since news of the crash broke. More than 100 people have poured in each day since Sunday.

Inside the home hidden behind a bright blue gate, a group of women make huge pots of tea for the visitors as they sit and share memories. They are part of a local group mentored by Ann, the matriarch of the family and a former primary school teacher.

“We’ll never get another person like her – she’s left a gap that no one can fill. She was so generous to us. We have to be generous to honor her,” said Monica Magiri, a neighbor.

The discussion turns to questions about the safety of the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft after airlines around the world grounded the aircraft. But Carol Karanja’s brother says he has no interest in pointing fingers after his family’s tragedy.

“If you look at having to point blame on others, I think it will make the healing process a bit more hard for us,” Quindos Mwangi Karanja said.

“I might not know exactly whether to blame the plane but let the experts finish their investigations. And then they are able to tell us the way forward.”

The family has started a GoFundMe fundraiser to help with funeral expenses.

CNN’s Farai Sevenzo and Briana Duggan reported from Kenya, and Faith Karimi reported and wrote from Atlanta. Stephanie Busari contributed to this report.