THE news was sketchy when it came through late on Saturday night: At least six people killed when masked gunmen stormed a mall in Nairobi shooting people and throwing grenades.
It was one of those breaking news stories - like the terrorist attacks in Mumbai or the Boston Marathon bombing - that you knew was going to escalate dramatically.
I thought to myself, "God, that doesn't sound good" and, as the the story unfolded, it got worse and worse: almost 70 dead and dozens missing in a terrorist attack led by Somali extremists.
Then came the horrible news that an expat Tasmanian had been killed in the massacre along with his heavily pregnant wife.
Architect Ross Langdon was in East Africa working on an HIV-AIDS clinic in Uganda while his partner Elif Yavuz was a specialist in malaria and worked with the Clinton Foundation in Tanzania.
The couple had returned to Nairobi to prepare for the birth of their first child.
That anyone should be killed by such a senseless attack is tragic. But for two young people doing such good and altruistic work - which was having such a positive impact on the world - to be taken from their friends and family is unthinkably dispiriting.
Family and friends made lovely tributes to them as individuals and partners.
Like the recent random shooting death of baseball player Chris Lane in the US or the 2002 Bali bombings, it reinforces that bad things can happen to good people and Australians abroad can be caught up in terrorist attacks.
Kenya has a sentimental spot in my heart. It was the destination of my first overseas trip where, as part of a volunteer group, we ran medical clinics, small building projects and (importantly) played lots of soccer with the local kids.
The Kenyans I met were generous to a fault and willing to go out of their way to welcome us into their homes.
Lost one night on the side of a busy road, a matatu (a small van that's part taxi, part bus) branded with the Real Madrid FC logo stopped and gave us a ride home, taking us right to the front door.
Sure Nairobi, often referred to as Nairobbery, can be dangerous, but so can most big cities and safety comes down to commonsense.
In the slums of Kibera on the first anniversary of September 11, a Rastafarian looking bloke yelled out he was from al-Qaeda and would blow us up. It seemed more jest than threat and other locals shouted him down.
The Westgate shopping centre shooting will undoubtedly put people off travelling in East Africa. That's understandable. But it shouldn't be used to unfairly inflate the misconception that the area is any more lawless or dangerous a place than other locations on the planet.
And what it hopefully doesn't do is put young people off dedicating their time to help those less fortunate.
People like Ross Langdon and Elif Yavuz made the world a better place and the world is diminished by their loss.