When death knocks…

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Mexico. Alejandro dies. Within a short time, the Arangos, the Porfelios, the Contreras, the Poncios have heard. They are taken aback, moan, and attend a wick. They are dressed in black. The next day, requiem mass is celebrated. Then he is buried in the cemetery and Paloma cries, throws white roses and says, “I will miss you my love”.

Back home. Soja dies after series of pneumonia attacks. The news is received with piercing screams and howls that send the whole neighborhood into panic. People rush to see the tragedy that has befallen Soja’s household. The observers join in the moans as they inquire what was wrong. Amidst the cries, someone briefs them that Soja has died of “Lumonya”. There, the sympathizer shakes his head in shock and bewilderment. They are quick to wonder why he was bewitched yet he was a kind man. They go on to whisper that indeed jealousy is a killer.

I knew it! I knew people would not be happy that he was promoted to be the head master.”

 Didn’t you see how people were unhappy when he was promoted?”

“The members of staff hated him”

The people with these allegations are careful not to mention names, lest they follow suit the fallen Soja. The mourners hold an impromptu prayer service and a self-proclaimed pastor encourages the bereaved. “We are sorry about the loss and we want to say that we are here for you.”(Direct translation from Swahili) This is the moment the speaker wants to gain fame for having been the first to reach the ground when alarm was sounded.

Death here is feared like a plague. The corpse is equally feared and revered like it possesses so much power that they can take someone’s soul. The person who never wore a suit will sleep with the angels in a dark suit, a nice tie and in shoes. The poor man is sent off in riches. The coffin is almost beautiful.
Burial day comes. Soja’s wife is wailing uncontrollably, lying on the coffin, asking the late head master where he has gone. “Soja, yani umeniwacha? Nipeleke wapi watoto wetu?”(Translated: Soja, you mean you have left me? Where do you want me to take our children?)

The moment for lowering the casket comes and people are yelling, collapsing and doing all manners to show how deeply affected they are by the loss. The wife, especially, is chanting all sorrowful words, lyrics, dirges. Then the family is given some soil to throw in the grave, a sign of send-off. The widow yells and wants to jump in the gaping hole, but is held back as people watch with mixed nervous feelings. After burial, the most awaited moment comes; food.

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