Coronavirus in Kenya: ‘I buried my cousin on Facebook Live’

Coronavirus in Kenya: 'I buried


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The seats were put at any rate 1m (3ft) separated – family sat on one side, church authorities on the other. Everybody wore a cover.

Everybody knew about the severe guidelines that the Kenyan government had set down for burial services during the coronavirus pandemic.

Just 15 individuals could accumulate for the entombment of my cousin, Chris, and everything must be finished by 09:00 neighborhood time.

By 07:00 all of us had assembled, before our telephones and PCs, viewing the entombment unfurl as a companion live-spilled it on Facebook.

There were many us to offer our final feelings of appreciation to Chris. He was an extrovert’s – the life and soul of family parties.

His profound snicker contacted you even before he set foot in the house – indeed, you could hear it 200m away at the door.

What’s more, Chris used to appear for individuals, be it at memorial services or weddings. He was an incredible mobiliser, energizing individuals for all events.

Along these lines, on this day, we appeared for him as well. However, not being there implied it was not the equivalent.

‘We were unable to play his main tunes’

Chris was my quick cousin, however we were brought up in a similar house and he was in excess of a sibling to me.

He kicked the bucket in Kisumu in western Kenya on Easter Sunday, subsequent to being unwell for half a month with liver cirrhosis.

The administration gave us the rules for his entombment. He must be covered inside three days.

In any case, with huge numbers of his loved ones under lockdown in the capital, Nairobi, not every person could go to the entombment.

The lesson was short. The talks were limited. Also, there was next to no singing.

Chris adored music – he played the drum unit in the Salvation Army church band. So unfortunately no one could be there to play his main tunes.

I looked as live remarks from his companions and partners rolled in on Facebook.

In advanced comfort, individuals left messages of sympathy and discussed how incredible a man Chris was.

What’s more, I thought, possibly I should take screen captures and print this out in light of the fact that this was basically our sympathies book.

Everything felt so extraordinary. We were unable to embrace, contact or see each other’s tears. We were unable to toss fistfuls of earth on the final resting place as it was brought down into the grave.

At the point when a friend or family member passes on we try to lament, we search for solace and conclusion. Yet, how would you that when you are restricted?


I was vexed. I never envisioned I would need to cover a friend or family member through web-based social networking. I never figured I would pine for human contact that much. It resembled a film, then again, actually I was a piece of the cast.

Also, tragically, the Facebook Live fizzled, because of a poor system association. So I was unable to try and watch Chris’ last excursion as far as possible. I didn’t see his casket being secured.

In numerous African social orders passing and life are unpredictably tied. Numerous customs consider demise to be a soul changing experience – a progress to another structure.

Henceforth the significance of precursors – they are the individuals who have passed on however proceed to “live” in the network.

This, thus, implies when individuals kick the bucket they should get an ideal internment – complete with ceremonies that have been watched for ages.

For the networks in western Kenya where I originate from, similar to the Luo and Luhya, an individual’s demise and their entombment are unimaginably significant occasions.

Expound memorial service with 10 distinct ceremonies

A dead individual is treated with most extreme regard and there are demise and internment ceremonies to be followed, to guarantee a perfect send-off.

As a matter of first importance entombments are not rushed, particularly for the older. An individual’s passing is a call for festivity, even in the midst of the grieving and lamenting.

Mercy Juma
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  • Spreadswhen a tainted individual hacks beads into the air
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It takes in any event seven days for a grown-up to be covered. There is uproarious grieving and sobbing, for a considerable length of time. Individuals cluster together and help the deprived to grieve.

Blazes are lit in the estate and individuals assemble around them, grasping, crying, remembering the life of the left.

There is the ceremonial butcher of creatures, and the readiness and serving of food and beverages to reassure grievers. It is a demonstration of solidarity among neighbors and family.

The dead are brought home a day or two preceding the internment. They lie in the compound, to show that they are acknowledged and cherished, even in death.

The Luo, a Nilotic people from western Kenya, have among the most intricate internment customs in Kenya.

There are at any rate 10 rituals required from the declaration of death, to the evacuation of the shadow or soul of the dead from the property, to the shaving of relatives’ hair, lastly the recognition functions for the dead.

Every one of these events expect individuals to gather and interface in immense numbers.


Be that as it may, during this pandemic, a large portion of these ceremonies are essentially untouchable, regardless of whether an individual passed on of Covid-19 or not.

‘I have just mostly lamented’

During the two days between Chris’ demise and his entombment, individuals at home were taboo from singing boisterously around evening time, in case they draw in the neighbors who might need to come and lament with the family.

Coffin being lowered into the ground

There were no blazes to lounge around. Also, during the entombment, even at the grave site, there was no embracing, or contacting, no handshakes or kisses.

Government delegates were there to guarantee all standards of social separating were followed.

Forty days after one is covered, a commemoration administration should be held – the last festival of their life. We, once more, won’t have the option to do this for Chris.

I have this inclination that I have just incompletely lamented for Chris. This isn’t the way he has the right to be grieved.

Perhaps when this is finished – when we can embrace once more, and cry in one another’s arms – we will grieve him like we should.